Vic bookshop owner says kids books have too many rainbows


Robinsons Bookshop owner Susanne Horman
Images: Facebook

The owner of a Victorian bookstore chain has apologised after she called for more childrens books with “just white kids on the cover” and less “wheelchair, rainbow or Indigenous” representation.

Susanne Horman has owned the Robinsons Bookshop chain since 2007. There are a number of the indie bookstores across Melbourne.

At the weekend, a series of Susanne’s posts from her personal Twitter X account, written last month, circulated online.

In the posts, she called for Australian publishing to put out more “white family stories” with “white kids” on the covers, and less “wheelchair, rainbow or Indigenous” representation.

“What’s missing from our bookshelves in store?” Susanne Horman wrote in a now-deleted post, accompanied by the hashtag #weneedbetterstories.

“Positive male lead characters of any age, any traditional nuclear white family stories, kids picture books with just white kids on the cover, and no wheelchair, rainbow or indigenous art, non indig [sic] aus history.”

In another post, she also vowed not to stock “diverse” books that are “against white Australians” and “cause harm and make Australians hate each other”.

“Books we don’t need: hate against white Australians, socialist agenda, equity over equality, diversity and inclusion (READ AS anti-white exclusion), left-wing govt propaganda. Basically the woke agenda that divides people. Not stocking any of these in 2024.”

‘So wildly out of pocket’

At the weekend, an Instagram account coffeebooksandmagic shared the now-deleted social media posts, with hundreds of commenters calling them out.

The account owner clarified she’s “not one for willy nilly ‘cancelling’ but the comments … are so wildly out of pocket that I have no problem suggesting a widespread boycott would be appropriate”.

“[Susanne Horman] has not only said she wants more white people on covers and in books, but goes further to say that she won’t be stocking anything that … well, what, exactly? Isn’t about white people?” she wrote.

“And then somehow manages to claim that she’s fighting division.

“This kind of mentality has no place in the modern landscape and I truly hope it will eventually die out with the generation that’s as archaic as her website.”

Ouch.

Robinsons Bookshop apologises for comments

Speaking to The Age, Susanne Horman issued an apology to Robinsons Bookshop staff and “anyone who was offended by the comments”. She claimed they had been “taken out of context”.

In a Facebook statement, Robinsons Bookshop also apologised and said the posts “misrepresented the views” of the company.

“We clearly state, so there is no misunderstanding, that we fully support and encourage stories from diverse voices [and] minorities,” the post read.

“We are most definitely stocking these important topics and the authors that write them.

“As a business, we will continue advocating for positive hope-filled stories that bring out the best in all our community and make all people feel supported and fulfilled.

“We ask everyone to treat all of our staff with kindness and respect.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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