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Schoolboy calls for more disabled characters in children’s books

Frankie, 14, asks Bloomsbury head why book villains ‘are usually deformed’, and says ‘society would get better’ if disabled characters were naturally included
Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Always the villain … Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Photograph: Warner Bros/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

A 14-year-old boy has called on the UK’s publishers to include more disabled characters in children’s books, and asked why the villains of children’s stories are so often “deformed”.

In a report for BBC Newsround, schoolboy Frankie, who was born with a disability, addressed JK Rowling’s publisher, Bloomsbury, about the issue. “I think if we involve disabled people in books, we can raise awareness and it will become the norm to people. They won’t stare, they won’t make comments, and life would get better, society would get better,” he said.

He met Bloomsbury’s head of children’s and educational publishing, Emma Hopkin, asking her why “in most books villains are usually deformed”.

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