It's the little things...
It's often little things that can make a huge difference.
I want to share some tips for small changes that can be made in books that will have a big (albeit largely unconscious) impact.
1) Use 'children' instead of 'girls and boys' doing this includes all children and doesn't reinforce a gender binary.
2) Use 'parents' rather than 'mum and dad'. By doing this you automatically include more types of families, and don't reinforce having two heterosexual parents as 'the norm'.
3) Avoid casual use of mental health language. 'Wild' can be used instead of 'mad', 'ridiculous' instead of 'crazy'. Go 'wild' with a thesaurus!
4) Avoid other ablest language, for example 'lame' to describe something bad.
5) Use gender neutral terms where possible - 'firefighter', 'police officer' etc. 'Police man' is still regularly used as a default. Include characters who challenge gender stereotypes in various roles.
Inclusion in books isn't just about including a diverse range of characters. Of course, doing this authentically is important, but the less obvious things can be addressed across all books and therefore impact unconscious beliefs.