As part of our If I were in charge of the world series, we’ve asked clever bookish people what they’d do if they were suddenly put in charge of absolutely everything. Suggested laws so far have been free books on birthdays, the return of Jackanory and stories as currency.
For our latest installment we spoke to Alexandra Strick from Inclusive Minds and asked what 10 laws she would introduce. Inclusive Minds works with writers, publishers, illustrators, librarians and teachers to help produce inclusive, diverse and accessible books.
Alexandra Strick’s 10 Laws:
1. Children’s books would have to be accessible to children. So they would all need to take into account at least basic accessibility principles ”“ like a decent sized print and good contrast between background and text. Isn’t that just common sense, really?
2. Every child would have access to a wonderfully well-resourced local library ”“ and be taken on weekly (if not daily) visits to it.
3. Everyone would have to buy at least a book a month from Letterbox Library, thus ensuring children have the very best inclusive books whilst supporting a highly knowledgeable and independent bookseller (instead of just lining the pockets of the tax-dodging multinationals ”“ am I allowed to say that?)
4. Small, independent publishers with great ethics and great lists would get the respect (and business) they deserve.
5. Every child would be able to see themselves, their lives, their families and friends reflected in books. Or at least some books.
6. Children would be actively involved and consulted in children’s book production. Because they are indeed children’s books.
7. Father Christmas would be contractually obliged to give every child at least one book in their stocking or pillowcase.
8. It would be illegal not to make every children’s book available in at least one other format ”“ be it audio, large print, braille, British Sign Language, etc.
9. A wealth of inclusive books, dyslexia-friendly books, hi-lo books and age-appropriate sensory/tactile books would be readily available in every school library, library and bookshop. Oh, and be displayed in the windows, too.
10. And of course, signing up to the Everybody In inclusion and diversity charter would be compulsory for any publisher or bookseller!