06 February 2017

Last week as part of National Storytelling Week,  disability charity Scope invited five storytellers, who are disabled supporters and carers, to write about how they feel about disability in literature. Five verydifferent writers had one key underlying message: there isn’t enough representation of disability in literature and if there is a nod to it, disability tends to be mis-represented.

There are 12.9 million disabled people in the UK and 7% of children are disabled.   According to Scope's recent Twitter poll, 77% of people (3 in every 4) want to see more representation of disability in literature.  Quentin himself has helped with Scope's 'In the Picture' awareness-raising campaign (2008), and, when his book The Five of Us was published in 2014, said: 'We need more children with disabilities in picture books'. 

Click to see a video of Quentin talking to BBC Ouch disability about the book: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29988940

From the evening of 7 February, London Underground passengers might be lucky enough to find the beautiful illustrated children’s book The Five of Us  (generously donated by Tate Publishing) to read on their journey home and share with their children too.  Scope has teamed up with literary charity Books on the Underground to hide 30 copies at stations with disabled access across the LU network.

Whilst The Five of Us is a book all children should read, you definitely don’t need to be a child to be enchanted by it. It focuses on the characters' amazing abilities, rather than their limitations, and of course, has Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations.  You can read it from cover-to-cover in the time it takes to travel from King's Cross to Clapham Common.

Lucky enough to find one of the copies left by the Book Fairies? Share a photo on Twitter with @BooksUndergrnd.