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Putting disabled children in the picture: Promoting inclusive children’s books and media

  • Nicole MatthewEmail author
  • Susan Clow
Articles

Summary

Where are all the disabled people in children’s picture books? This article will introduce an innovative three-year project, based in the United Kingdom, which asks this question of the book world. In The Picture, managed by disability charity Scope, aims to point out the invisibility of disabled people in children’s media to publishers, writers and illustrators. The project seeks to ensure that disabled children can find themselves represented in books and other children’s media. We will map out here the rationale for the project and what it has set out to do. Drawing on an initial evaluation of the project’s impact, which has involved interviews and focus group discussions with parents, librarians, teachers and children, we will go on to suggest what this kind of project can teach those of us working in early years settings about supporting inclusion and equality through children’s literature and media.

We conclude, that there simply arent’ enough good, inclusive picture books in print. Everyone working in the early years sector can play a role in fostering a market for such books by alerting publishers and booksellers of the need for more of them, as well as actively seeking out those books that are in print for inclusion in their own libraries and nursery collections. We argue that rather than being offered information about “special” people in a separate library of non-fiction books, all children benefit from the casual inclusion of disabled characters as part of their everyday ‘diet’ of fiction. Finally, we suggest that the way in which books that represent disability are made available to children in early years settings requires some thinking, but need not generate such nervousness that it prevents action.

Keywords

books disability disabled people representation libraries 

Résumé

Cet article présentera un projet innovateur de 3 ans, basé au Royaume Uni, qui pose cette question au monde littéraire. “In the Picture” (Voir le tableau), projet dirigé par l’organisation charitable Scope, a pour but d’attirer l’attention des éditeurs, des auteurs et des illustrateurs sur l’invisibilité des personnes en situation de handicap dans les médias pour enfants. Le projet cherche à garantir aux enfants handicapés qu’ils puissent se trouver représentés dans les livres, ainsi que dans tous les médias pour enfants. Nous élaberons ici le raisonnement et les objectifs du projet. En considérant les résultats d’une première exercice évaluative qui a engagé des parents, des bibliothécaires, des instituteurs et des enfants en entretiens et en groupes pour discuter l’impact du projet, nous continuerons à suggérer ce qu’on peut apprendre d’un tel projet, tous entre nous qui travaillons dans l’éducation des jeunes enfants, pour soutenir l’intégration et l’égalité par les moyens de la littérature et les médias pour enfants.

En conclusion, nous constatons que, tout simplement, les bons livres illustrés non exclusifs ne sont pas suffisamment disponibles en librairie. Tous ceux qui travaillent dans l’éducation des jeunes enfants peuvent jouer un rôle à stimuler ce marché, en éveillant les éditeurs et les libraires à l’insuffisance de ces livres. En plus, ils doivent chercher activement les livres qui existent déjà en librairie pour fournir leurs propres bibliothèques et collections de maternelle. Nous soutenons que tous les enfants profitent de voir habituellement des caractères handicapés dans les livres d’histoires qu’ils lisent au quotidien, plutôt que dans une collection séparée, cherchant à donner des informations sur les personnes “spéciales.” Finalement,nous suggérons qu’on doit bien considérer la façon dont les livres qui montrent l’invalidité sont offerts aux enfants à la maternelle, et que cette considération ne doit pas générer autant de nervosité que l’action collective soit empêchée.

Resumen

Dónde está la gente minusválida en los libros de dibujos para niños? Este articulo presenta un trabajo innovativo de tres años, localizado en el Reino Unido, que investiga este cuestión. Dirigido por Scope, una sociedad benéfica de minusvalidos, ‘In the Picture’ intenta indicar a los editoriales, autores e ilustradores lo invisible que son las personas con discapacidades en los medias de comunicación. El objetivo del proyecto es que los niños con discapacidades se encuentren ellos mismos en libros y otros medios infantiles.

Aqui se describe la razón fundamental del proyecto y lo que se ha propuesto hacer. Después de una evaluación del impacto del proyecto, que consiste en entrevistas y foros consultativos entre niños, padres, bibliotecarios y profesores, seguimos a proponer una serie de recomendaciones a los que trabajan en contextos de menor edad para avanzar la igualdad e inclusión en los medios comunicativos de niños.

Se concluye que no se publican suficientes libros de dibujos que contienen imágenes de los minusválidos. Todos los que trabajan en el sector de menores de edad podemos colaborar en desarrollar un mercado para aquellos libros, tanto con la denuncia de la falta de libros en las editoriales y librerias, come en buscar los ya publicados para aumentar sus propias colecciones. Se mantiene que, en lugar de presentar información sobre gente minusválida en secciones o bibliotecas apartadas, se debe incluir personajes con discapacidades en el curso cotidiano de las lecturas; ello puede beneficiar a la totalidad de los niños. Por ultimo, se sugiere que hace falta pensar en la manera de disponer de los libros que representan la incapacidad a los niños menores de edad, pero claramente no deberian producir inquietud, con imágenes poco gratas, que produzcan mas bien una inhibición de la acción.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Media/Critical and Cultural Studies SCMPMacquarie UniversityAustralia

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