“In a multicultural, diverse society there are countless ways in which people negotiate the everyday lived experience and reality of diversity.”
– Randa Abdel-Fattah
Why is there still a lack of diversity in children’s books?
Late in 2019, Better Reading was awarded a grant from the Copyright Agency to produce a six-part series, A Conversation on Diversity in Children’s Writing. At the time we could not have predicted what 2020 would bring. We now understand more than ever how little we know, and how important these conversations are. It’s a time for us to ask questions, and listen to the answers provided by people who are more knowledgeable than us on this subject. In this episode, that person is Randa Abdel-Fattah.
Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University, a prominent Australian Palestinian advocate, and a multi award-winning author of 11 books for children and young adults. Her books deal with intercultural relations, migration, race/religious issues in Australia, identity, belonging and political consciousness among young Australians, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Her bestselling debut novel, Does My Head Look Big in This? has sold more than 100,000 copies in Australia, is published around the world and had been adapted into a play. Her novel, Where The Streets Had A Name won Australia’s Golden Inky Award in 2009, an international award for teenage literature.
Randa regularly speaks at schools around the world, promoting awareness around diversity and social justice.
In this episode, Dr Abdel-Fattah and Cheryl discuss a post 9/11 Australia, her experiences as a Muslim Australian, the desperate need for diversity in the school curriculum, and how Australia can move into a more inclusive future.