No imagination without representation

Tuesday 29th November

A panel discussion on the importance of seeing Black characters in children’s books


Join Marcus Ryder, Laura Henry-Allain and Dapo Adeola to discuss the importance of seeing Black characters in children’s books and the impact of their absence.

What does authentic representation look like? How do we empower children to embrace their identities and communities? How do we give them a better understanding of the world while enabling them to dream of worlds and possibilities that do not even exist yet?

Marcus Ryder MBE is the author, with Lenny Henry of Black British Lives Matter (Faber & Faber 2021), and he is on the board of the children’s independent media company Bright Little Labs. He has over twenty-five years’ experience working in television and journalism and is a leader on the issue of diversity in the media. He is also the Chair of RADA – the UK’s leading drama school.

Laura Henry-Allain MBE is an award-winning international producer, storyteller, educationalist and consultant. She is the creator of the well-loved JoJo and Gran Gran series, developed and produced by CBeebies and is the series’ associate producer. She is also executive producer on a few shows that are currently in development, including Daddio & Co. Her bestselling children’s book, My Skin, Your Skin, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu, explores race and racism, and empowers children to be the best versions of themselves.

Dapo Adeola is an illustrator, author and character designer who was awarded Illustrator of the Year at The British Book Awards in 2022. Dapo rocketed into the picture book world with his greatly acclaimed illustrator debut, Look Up!, written by Nathan Bryon (Puffin 2019), which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Dapo illustrated My Dad is a Grizzly Bear and My Mum Is a Lioness written by award-winning author Swapna Haddow (both published by Macmillan Children’s Books), and collaborated with Malorie Blackman on their picture book We’re Going to Find the Monster! Dapo went on to win Illustrated book of the year at The British Book Awards in 2022. Born in Britain and of Nigerian heritage, Dapo’s work tends to revolve around creating characters and imagery that challenge gender norms and equality politics in a fun and upbeat manner. An avid believer in the importance of equal representation in the creative arts, he currently lives in London.