28th May '17
This would be so good to use in the classroom!
I love the Albie books by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves! In fact my whole family loves the series – for differing reasons. My daughter loves the concept, the adventure, the pace and the fun. My wife loves the story lines and text that give her so much to work with when reading aloud (she is very good at voices!) I love them because they are hugely popular award winning books that appeal to children – not ‘just boys’ or ‘just girls’ but children– and because they are gently infiltrating mass market publishing with inclusion.
It’s a tough thing to do, but Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves have worked their magic and thought about inclusion when creating these books. That is huge! Being aware of the importance of including diverse characters that reflect society is further than many authors and illustrators ever go. The fact that they have thought about it, discussed and planned and worked with their publishers and achieved some diversity of character, is much to be proud of.
How to Catch a Dragon, my favourite book from the series (so far!) has a female troll – much rarer than you’d think – a lovely range of race and a celebration of libraries! “Nobody could EVER be bored in a library”. Brilliant!
Books are so important in helping children to understand the world they live in. In order to do that, books need to be truly representative of our diverse society. Every child should be able to see themselves in their books, whatever their gender, heritage and race, culture, disability, or sexual orientation. For that to happen mainstream books need to represent every child.
The result of a truly inclusive society is that you don’t notice differences. Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves have achieved this in these books. These are not ‘token diversity characters’. Share these books with a classroom of children and they won’t notice that there’s a female troll or that there are different skin colours on show. They will be too involved in the story and the excitement of the illustrations. But those characters are there and they will be seen without being noticed. And that is a wonderful thing.