Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Welcome to the home of Little Scholars Playground! We’re a children’s book publisher and early years hub. We create diverse children’s books and learning resources.
It started in 2020 lockdown
Our founders were having a casual conversation about how difficult it is to find wide-ranging books for young children with main character representation of black people specifically. As people of action, the founders quickly determined that between them, they possessed the skillset to begin to chip-away at this problem.
Fast-forward and Little Scholars Playground was born. With a single mission to create engaging, diverse children’s literature, tackling this imbalance one-book-at-a-time
Why we’re calling for greater diversity in children’s books
We feel that it is very important for children to read books with main characters that look like themselves. It’s not only good for a child’s confidence and self-worth. But we also feel this will help develop their love for reading. As well as helping to instil strong aspirations and helping to encourage a child to reach their full potential.
A third of children in English schools are from an ethnic minorities group^, however in the UK only 5% of children’s books feature a main character from a non-white background*. Also, children are 8.2% more likely to see an animal main character in children’s books than a non-white character*.
There are more books with black characters, so improvement has been made. However we found most of the books to be focused on hair or history, which is definitely needed but can at times feel heavy for young children. We want to create fun, positive, iconic characters that are loved by all. We want black children to dress up for World Book Day and not be asked who they’re dressed up as.
STEM and black children
Between us we have 20 years’ experience of working in the STEM industry, so we’re also passionate about encouraging young black children to embrace STEM.
Meet the people behind Little Scholars playground
Natalie is a tremendously talented illustrator with a particular passion for making sure all children have representation in literature. She’s a product designer by profession, with a career spanning across digital design, coding and marketing. As a mother to a daughter, Natalie is conscious of the lack of black women in the STEM industry and works to encourage black women and girls to develop a passion for STEM.
Denhue is the father of a toddler daughter who began his writing career experimenting with breaking down big ideas for a young audience. By profession, Denhue is an aeronautical engineer and has a degree in Aerospace Technology with Management. This has plenty to do with his natural interest in STEM related topics.
*Stat according to the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)
^Stat according to the Department of Education
Little Scholars Playground
About the Author
Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.