We first asked children and young people about their experiences of diversity in the books they read in 2020. We revisited these questions, adding a new question about writing, in our Annual Literacy Survey in 2022. This report is based on responses from 48,672 children aged 8 to 18.
- 2 in 5 (38.9%) of children and young people say they find it difficult to find books with characters or people like them, increasing to 1 in 2 (53.1%) children aged 8 to 11.
- While just over 1 in 3 (34.9%) children and young people from White backgrounds say they struggle to see themselves in what they read, this increases to nearly 1 in 2 (45.2%) children and young people from Black ethnic backgrounds.
- More than 2 in 5 (42.5%) of those receiving free school meals (FSMs) report finding it difficult to see themselves in books compared with just over 1 in 3 (35.2%) of their peers who do not receive FSMs
- 2 in 5 (38.9%) children and young people agreed with the statement, “Reading about characters that are like me makes me feel more confident about myself”.
- More children and young people who struggle to see themselves in books said they write about characters or people like themselves compared with those who do not find it difficult (35.0% vs. 23.4%). More also write about characters or people with similar experiences to them (37.8% vs. 24.7%).
- In addition, more children and young people who find it difficult to find books with characters or people like them said they choose to write about characters or people like themselves (35.0% vs. 23.4% of those who don’t find it difficult).