It is no accident that when we wrote about The Benefits Of Crediting Illustrators we put diversity at the top of the list. If, for example, an award winning Black illustrator isn’t mentioned when a national TV program is discussing one of his books then this is the opposite of inclusivity. It actually prevents some brilliant things from happening by
- building a yet another barrier that makes it harder for that illustrator’s career to thrive
- excluding the audience from finding other work that that illustrator has created, which is especially important if it is an already under-represented audience
- hiding a role model from children who need to see their culture represented in all industries
- undervaluing the visual arts as part of the economy
Dapo and his co-author Nathan Bryon won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and Overall Prize last year with their picture book, Look Up, but Dapo’s struggled with erasure when the book’s publicised – not by Nathan (who’s very supportive) but by the BBC and other media.
Dapo has written an open letter to the BBC, which has had more than 800 signatures in support from illustrators, writers and people in the book industry – you can read it here.