The mission statement that runs in all of our books says, “At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life.” Our content team is passionately committed to creating books that are inclusive for children of all races, genders, abilities and backgrounds. So when we saw a call for papers about diversity, inclusion and equality in children’s literature, we were all over it!

Editor-in-chief Tessa Strickland and I are delighted to have been included in a special edition of Write4Children: The International Journal for the Practice and Theories of Writing for Children and Children’s Literature, which is published out of the University of Winchester in the UK. The journal is now available online, so you can check it out here!

Tessa’s article is called “Same, Same but Different: Publishing culturally diverse children’s stories in a changing world.” In it, Tessa reflects on her 20 years of experience with publishing children’s stories from all over the world, and  describes how several of our books came to life, including We All Went on Safari, Little Leap Forward and The Girl with a Brave Heart. It is a fascinating read!

My article, called “Negotiating Little Red Riding Hood: Creating a modern edition of a classic fairy tale,” traces the creation of our 2012 edition of Little Red Riding Hood. In it, I discuss the choices we made to downplay the male-female relationship between the wolf and Little Red and instead refocus the story as a meditation on the dangers of the natural world for all children, regardless of their gender or sexual identity. The article includes never-before-published rough illustrations from the creation of the book to show how we crafted the book for a modern audience. If you have ever wondered what on earth a children’s book editor does, this article gives a lot of insight into our process.

We are very pleased to have been included in this special edition of Write4Children. We hope you’ll take the time to check out our articles, along with the other fascinating pieces in the journal, which were contributed by authors, teachers, academics, booksellers and other contributors from all over the world. We are so proud to be part of this vitally important discussion about what we can all do to create a more diverse and inclusive world for children from all walks of life. Happy reading!

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