Finding my Family | Guest blog by Aliza Nathoo

Updated: Oct 26

Finding my Family is a guest blog series exploring how families are represented in children's books, whether that's due to set-up, ethnicity, neurodivergence, disability, LGBTQIA*, socio-economic status or any other facet of diversity.



After a decade of working within the fashion industry, Aliza is currently in the midst of a career change to pivot into a more people-focussed role. She has her own accessories brand named 6.26.4, is an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion advocate, and also happens to be an Asian, physically disabled female.


Find Aliza on LinkedIn.


Who makes up your family?

I have my awe-inspiring brother & sisters. I have my loving dad, mum and bonus mum. I have my miraculous godchildren. I have my dreamy friends and wonderful relatives.

Why is inclusion in children’s books important to you on a personal level?

I don't remember seeing myself in books when I was younger and often wondered why. Children are visual & books should represent the whole world we live in. They should be all-encompassing, so children understand that there are more similarities than differences - so they can see themselves in the world they live in.

Can you recall any occasions when you’ve found representations of yourself/your family in children’s books?

Growing up, in regards to disability – never. As for my race, I used to love Disney's Pocahontas book because she was the first illustrated character I saw who had a similar skin-tone & hair colour as me – I could see me! Not actually a children's book per se, however, my dad read us '1001 Arabian Nights' repeatedly throughout our childhood. We aren't Middle Eastern, but I definitely noticed similarities in the people & food references.


How did it feel to find these representations, not find any representation or to find inauthentic or negative representation?

I did wonder why there were so few books representing us, but this just went hand-in-hand with an acceptance of it. The majority of characters were white and non-disabled – that just became the 'norm' to me and everyone else was different, including me. I was raised in London and my primary school class was very diverse, so that definitely trumped books as an education in terms of representation.


How could someone authentically represent you/your family in a children’s book? What nuance would make it authentic?

Having a character who is disabled, but not making the storyline about their disability – having them explore and just do things the other non-disabled characters do. Showing similarities and not focussing on differences. To have minority groups mostly represented as the BFF or a neighbour or in a cameo role – it starts to mould how a child sees themselves and equally importantly, other people in the world. Everyone is the main character in their own life, so seeing that represented visually in a book is validating.

If you or your family could be in any children’s book (as yourselves) what book would it be?

Probably Winnie the Pooh; we'd all just hang out, eat and go on adventures – the dream! We used to have a toilet room called 'Pooh Corner', it was orange and decorated with bees – Winnie the Pooh brings back a lot of fond childhood memories.


What is your favourite children’s book? Why?

Oh, The Place's You'll Go by Dr Seuss – it's a story describing the journey that is life in the most beautiful way.


If you want to take part in this blog series, fill out this form to submit your responses.


92 views0 comments