Dame Jacqueline Wilson, the bestselling children’s novelist, has pledged to include more “lovely dads” in her books, to combat an abundance of inadequate fathers in literature.
Dame Jacqueline, author of more than 100 novels which have sold 35 million copies in total, said she was on a mission to reinstate families in all their forms to children’s books.
Speaking at Hay Festival, sponsored by the Telegraph, she said she had noticed a lack of realistic adult role models in classic stories by Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, resolving to redress the balance in her own books.
Dame Jacqueline, former children’s laureate, said her latest book, Rent A Bridesmaid, featured a positive male role model, after parents complained about the lack of good fathers in print.
Speaking to an audience in Hay-on-Wye, she said: “Occasionally in the past, whenever I did events like this, a dad would say slightly ruefully: you have an awful lot of irritable dads or mean dads or whatever.
“So I’ve tried very very hard to have some special dads. This dad does his best, and he really cares about his little girl. I give him a break too.”
When asked about her approach to parents, she added: “Families interest me. I do remember when I was small there were a lot of books, particularly Enid Blyton, where parents were benign beings who generally didn’t have much to do with the children. “They never had any kind of feeling that the parents might be a bit unfair, or a bit cross or tense.
“It didn’t seem to be anything that showed you could still be a happy family even if everything went wrong.
“I do remember thinking I would like to read a book where the family dynamics didn’t always work, but somehow you could sort things out.”
Dame Jacqueline, famous for herTracy Beaker and Hetty Feather series, added: “I know sometimes it’s a bit unsettling for parents who are reading aloud when a mum or a dad might not be brilliant.
“But some mums and dads aren’t. And I think if you come from a loving family, you can read this and think oh aren’t I lucky.
“If you happen to come from a family that doesn’t quite work out, or a family that’s now disappeared, you can still feel that you can still have fun, find a lovely adult, and at the very least when you grow up you can be the sort of parent you always longed for.”