Annie Kubler: The Importance of Inclusivity in Picture Books
Annie Kubler, illustrator and Art Director at children’s publisher Child’s Play explains why it’s important for every child to be able to see themselves in picture books
I’m Annie Kubler, I’m an illustrator and Art Director for Child’s Play publishing house based in Swindon. Child’s Play started in the early 70’s, founded by a man called Michael Twinn who had a very special vision to put the child at the centre of his programme and to have every child in mind.
It’s very important for children to be able to identify with characters and experiences in children’s books and there are so many instances where some children can’t find themselves at all. The world of publishing is getting a bit better but there is still a lot of work to do. This ‘finding themselves’ in picture books enables them to believe that they can achieve all the things that they see in children’s books and change the world.
As an illustrator and an Art Director, every time I take on a project I think very carefully about how inclusive we can make that project. We consider gender roles, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, age representation, socio-economic backgrounds, family settings and so on.
Off to the Park! is the first tactile book published by Child’s Play. The wonderful thing about Off to the Park! is that since it has been published, we’ve realised that it has been enjoyed not only by children who are blind or partially sighted, but also children who are on the autistic spectrum, children for whom English is an additional language, children with delayed motor skill and children across the board who love it of all ages.
We’re really proud today that the way that Child’s Play started right at the beginning with the brilliant vision that Michael Twinn had to put the child at the centre of the publishing programme is still continuing today with our goal to be as inclusive as possible and diverse and socially aware.