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Our earliest perceptions of the world and its cultures are shaped by the books we read and it is essential that children see a true reflection of our society in the literature recommended and available to them. An absence of an inclusive range of role models or characters in our books risks deterring children from minority backgrounds from the joy and enrichment that a love of reading can bring. At LoveReading4Schools we have always championed diversity and celebrated books where all children can find themselves reflected. Here is a selection of books we've loved over the years, consolidated into one easy to browse location
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Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021 | Shortlisted for the Iris Award | Longlisted for the YA Jhalak Prize | Longlisted for the YA Diverse Book Award | Shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal 2022 | Written with luminous, crackling style, Cane Warriors is an unforgettable account of Jamaican and British history that must be known, with an unforgettable narrator at its heart. In the words of fourteen-year-old Moa, “the hope of our dreamland churned in my belly,” a powerful statement that pulses through this extraordinary story of Tacky’s War. Based on a revolutionary real-life 1760 Jamaican slave rebellion, a visceral sense of the atrocities Moa and his fellow field slaves are subjected to is evoked from the start. Their bodies are lashed and “roasted by a brutal sun”, Moa hasn’t seen his house-slave mama for three years, his papa lost an arm in mill machinery, and his friend Hamaya fears the day predatory white men will “come for me.” Spurred by the death of Miss Pam who “drop inna da field and lose her life”, and led by Miss Pam’s brother Tacky, who “trod like a king” and whose brain “work quick like Anancy”, the uprising hinges on the freedom fighters killing the plantation master. While Moa is glad to be given a pivotal role in the rebellion, he fears that success and escape will mean he’ll never see his parents or Hamaya again - his conflict is palpable, but he’s set on being a cane warrior. Outside the plantation, Moa’s world is immediately transformed, with his life as a freedom fighter evoked in fine detail (I loved the depiction of him tasting creamy, fleshy sweetsop for the first time). There are bloody battles ahead, executed in the presence of Akan gods, and driven by brotherhood and hope for that dreamland. Lucidly lyrical and raw, I cannot praise Cane Warriors enough.
The authors of this excellent book have been friends since school and the book grew out of their own experiences of life as teenagers, the things they wish they’d known or been told. They write as if they are addressing younger sisters, recognising the extra challenges their readers will face growing up as Black girls, and that makes this an extraordinarily direct, authentic and empowering guide. There are chapters on subjects such as identity, friendship and understanding your body, as well as on hair, make-up and feeling your best, plus an excellent section on managing your finances. Quotes, anecdotes and advice from other influential Black women is included too, making the book even more effective and inspiring, and establishing a wider sense of community. “My wish is that this book can be the safe space you turn to when you need inspiration or comfort” says Natalie A. Carter in her introduction and the book is all that, and more.
September 2021 Debut of the Month | Alston is a debut author who looked in vain for a hero or heroine who looked like him in fantasy novels – and this delivers and so much more too. Amari is a child who attends a posh school on a scholarship – but really finds it hard to fit in and avoid the bullies. Her mother is a hard-working health worker, and her brother Quinton is missing – his disappearance seems be the root of Amari’s difficulties. As the holidays approach Amari receives an invitation via a mysterious messenger to be considered for something (at this stage unexplained) – by attending an interview. From here on the story becomes a hugely imaginative, funny and compelling adventure. Magic and mystery flow thick and fast from this point on – as Amari takes her chances to prove herself and to start finding out what happened to her brother. The story takes you through the development of some close and lasting friendships, against some awful magical bullies and monsters, to an exciting and nail-biting adventurous conclusion, though it leaves a possible opening for more books about Amari in future. A wonderful fun adventure addition to every child's bookshelf and any school library looking for more representation across all it’s genres.
Longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2022 | August 2021 Debut of the Month | Two friends, one of Indian descent and one of African descent, have weddings to celebrate in their families. As the families gather for the occasion Amrita is exposed to old fashioned attitudes of colourism from older relatives. The idea that eating or drinking certain foods may make your skin darker is treated with a sure touch by Gangrota – but the strong message that people should celebrate their own skin colour and be happy with who they are comes across loud and clear. This is explored by the way Amrita wants to dress in a bright sunflower yellow dress (a colour thought to emphasize darkness of skin) but Mum is there to support Amrita in her choices and feel safe within herself. The title derives from both girls dressing brightly and beautifully for their family weddings. They then go on to promise each other they will live as ‘Sunflower Sisters’ always – with the joyful outcome that they open a shop selling colourful clothes for everyone. The deftness of touch in this story means no-one is belittled for their ideas, though the message comes through very clearly that colourism is not acceptable. Dias-Hayes background in fashion and textile design shines through the wonderful illustrations of clothes. Beautifully executed with a very sunny palette of colours this book is beautiful to look at, as well as powerful to read. Author, Monika Singh Gangotra shares the inspiration behind her debut picture book.
This book is outstanding in its gathering of talent to provide the illustrations to Adeola’s messages. It is a powerful, personal response to the murder of George Floyd and the awakening around the world to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is an honest and very personal letter to Adeola’s younger self, messages he wishes he had seen and heard at a young age, created now for the children of the future. The messages apply to any child – and the illustrations show a diverse range of children and adults; the writing is simple, straightforward and obviously deeply felt, urging children to be themselves, be curious and love the skin you are in. Each double page spread, and the end papers, are all created by one of the eighteen talented black illustrators assembled from all over the world or this book. It is a joy to see so many different yet complementary styles of illustration creating the whole. A book for every classroom and nursery in the country!
This short (44 pages) graphic novel on the life and impact of Rosa Parks – the woman known as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA - packs in a huge amount of information simply and clearly. The author commented she decided that It’s Her Story: Rosa Parks would celebrate a lifetime of activism versus a single moment. And that she would depict late nights, setbacks, and moments of doubt so that children … learn that while change is possible, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put in the work. This book does just that – it shows with commendable brevity the many sides of the struggles that Rosa and the movement in the USA faced. The story develops as a young girl is taken to see an exhibition by her grandmother – who tells her granddaughter the story of Rosa’s life. The novel is a model of brevity but which packs in the information we all need to know and remember about Rosa and her struggles. Illustrator Shane Clester has produced Graphic novels for Marvel and Nick Jnr, as well as publishing his own picture books. A book that needs to be on book shelves – not only in Black History Month.
This book has won several awards in the US, for tackling a difficult and contentious topic. Though to some extent I feel the book rather misses its mark – although the format and the pictures are aimed at toddlers, this is very much a book for carers, teachers and youth leaders to use to open discussions about race. The book simply gives 9 steps to becoming antiracist, all illustrated with big bold, colourful pictures, but in language that is most definitely going to need a mediator for a small child to understand. I was disappointed by the lack of empathy exhibited, with no vocalising of love and respect for everyone, regardless of race. The prompts at the end of the book for discussion and further exploration are very useful and could be the basis of many critical discussions in schools and other appropriate places. The author does acknowledge a great deal of the language used is difficult and provides a good glossary of the main terms used – always a benefit when dealing with terms that could be misinterpreted.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | This novel, by Birmingham born poet Zephaniah, is the fifth book in the Scholastic Voices series – highlighting the situation and stories behind the myriad of people who have arrived from all over the world to the UK. Leonard’s father is one of the many Jamaican born men who came to Britain at the request of the UK government to help rebuild the country after the second World War. So, when Leonard and his mother arrive in Southampton the 10-year-old had to get to know a father he barely remembers and learn to live in a climate, both physical and social, that was alien to him. This is a carefully written account which does not shirk from exploring the society and the racism that Leonard encounters in his school and in being a part of 50’s and 60’s society in Manchester – where Leonard’s father was a bus driver. It’s aimed at KS2 children and the language, plus seeing everything through Leonard’s often confused eyes makes it a valuable lesson for children to read. The book takes Leonard’s story to the present day where he is one of the Windrush generation who now struggle to prove his right to be in the UK – making this a strong story on which to base vital lessons on the morality of government policies. Highly recommended.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | Winner of the Little Rebels Award 2021 | November 2020 Debut of the Month | Sami is a very ordinary 13-year-old boy, attending school, playing football, PlayStation and has his own iPad – the only thing different about Sami is that he lives in Damascus. As the war in Syria creeps closer, until a bombing of a local mall affects his family, everything has been good. Now Sami and his family have to leave their home, their friends and their beloved Jadda (grandmother) – not just to move to another town but to start a long and perilous journey to the safety of the other side of the world – to England. The journey, and therefore the story, are not for the fainthearted – Dassau tells the story of the journey, the fear and the privations authentically and we vividly share Sami’s upset, anger and fear throughout every page. The portrait drawn of the family in such a stressed and frightening situation has the reader on the edge of their seat and pulling at our hearts all the way through. Written with a deep understanding and meticulous research into similar journeys this is a book that will not leave you for a very long time. The switches from adversity to hope to despair in Sami keep your heart in your mouth and is so realistic I was raging at the government for its inhuman treatment of desperate refugees. Read this book – it’s needs to be in classrooms and on bookshelves everywhere – it will change you and stay with you.
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2021 | June 2020 Debut of the Month | This book takes a poetic look at what it means to be alive. Nuto is a debut author – a teacher in Tasmania, who asks some of the big questions about who we all are, about friendship and our place in the universe. It’s the sort of book that will be a bouncing off point for lots of discussions – but is presented in an accessible and colourful format. Charlotte Ager’s naïve style of illustration means it will appeal across the very young and the not so young. The bold illustrations offer colour and shade in big pictures. Starting with the big questions – that we are made of the stuff of stars, and that we are tiny in comparison to the universe, it goes on to show we have the means to explore, to be both positive and negative. It shows that though we are a small short-lived speck we have the ability to change the world for the better. There are some glorious illustrations – full of colour, detail and action, as well as others that are more contemplative. A good book to have in your classroom!
Exploring the all-consuming throes of love, malicious secondary school social politics, sexual abuse, and how difficult coming out can be, William Hussey’s Hideous Beauty is a top-notch YA thriller with hard-hitting emotional resonance. Forced by social media exposure to come out earlier than planned, Dylan and his gregarious boyfriend Ellis reveal their relationship to the world in spectacular style at a school dance: “Okay, Dylan, this is it. No going back. The closet door is firmly barred behind you, chained and bolted. No re-entry, no refunds. It’s gay all the way from here on out.” Riding high after an unexpectedly jubilant response to their revelation, tragedy strikes when they leave the party - Ellis becomes angry and their car plunges into a lake. While Dylan is rescued, Ellis drowns, leaving Dylan wracked with grief and guilt: “I deserve the pain. I deserve the crazy. I deserve a messed-up hand. No one’s taking these things away from me.” Set on trying to “find out who pulled me out of that car and why they left Ellis to drown”, it’s not long before Dylan stomps into a viper’s nest, uncovering jaw-dropping truths that set him - and readers – reeling. With his family less than supportive, at least best friend Mike remains at Dylan’s side, even though he’s undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia. Gripping, moving and unflinchingly honest, this is a fiercely affecting novel, told through the cleverly interwoven collision of two timelines.
Shortlisted for CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021 - Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | From the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X and With the Fire on High comes Elizabeth Acevedo’s exceptional dual-voiced novel about loss, love and sisterhood across the sea, a story partly sparked by the fatal crash of a flight from NYC to Santo Domingo in 2001. Camino Rios has always lived in the Dominican Republic with her aunt Tia, “a woman who speaks to the dead, who negotiates with spirits”, a woman who’s like a mother to her: “Even when Mama was alive, Tia was the other mother of my heart.” Life’s not easy for them on the island, but they have it better than their neighbours as a result of Camino’s beloved Papi working in the US for most of year. To Camino, Papi is a “A king who built an empire so I’d have a throne to inherit”, and she lives for the summer months when he comes home to them. But all life is thrown into terrible disarray when she goes to meet Papi at the airport and learns that his plane has fallen from the sky, and then: “I am swallowed by this shark-toothed truth.” This story is blessed with such divinely piercing language throughout. At the same time, across the Atlantic, Yahaira Rios learns that her hero Papi has died in a plane crash. She already knew he had a wife on the island (but not of his secret daughter), and has always longed to reconcile her Dominican heritage with her American life: “Can you be from a place you have never been? You can find the island stamped all over me, but what would the island find if I was there? Can you claim a home that does not know you, much less claim you as its own?” When it emerges that Papi wishes to be buried back in DR, Yahaira’s Mami insists that she will never let her “touch foot on the sands of that tierra.” But Yahaira has other plans, not least when she’s contacted by a girl named Camino Rios who bears an undeniable resemblance to Papi, and to her too. As well as being exceptionally affecting on grief, forgiveness and family secrets, Clap When You Land is also devastatingly sharp on the exploitative tendencies of tourism. In Camino’s words: “I am from a playground place…Our land, lush and green, is bought and sold to foreign powers so they can build luxury hotels...Even the women, girls like me, our mothers and tias, our bodies are branded jungle gyms…Who reaps? Who eats? Not us. Not me.” Overflowing with truths of the heart, and truths about inequalities that need to be broken, while also addressing the complexities of what it means to be of a place, I can’t praise this highly enough.
Shortlisted for the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) | 2021 Shortlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award | Shortlisted for CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021 | Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | March 2020 Debut of the Month | This debut novel was inspired by the author’s work creating Run the World, an organisation that empowers women and girls from marginalised backgrounds through sport and storytelling and the authenticity of this, at times harrowing story, is palpably evident. As is the skill of the accomplished writing which makes great use of typography and layout to really make every word count. This speeds the reader through the narrative, but it also cuts deep to reveal the emotions experienced by our narrator. Amber Rai is only ‘truly alive’ when running and shows great potential. But her alcoholic, abusive, misogynistic father refuses to allow her on the track. She has seen her older sister Ruby denied university and married off against her will and her downtrodden, abused mother is literally powerless to help, trapped as much by illiteracy and lack of English as the violence of her equally illiterate, unemployed husband. Amber has friends and teachers who believe in her, but she cannot explain what really goes on at home. She is a complex and believable character with very real flaws that she painfully recognises: ‘inflicting pain on others/halves your own hurt’. But the story is cleverly structured on The Anatomy of a Revolution and inspired by her reading about revolutions for history, Amber, Ruby and her mother gradually empower each other to take small steps to freedom. This is an important, rewarding, highly empathetic read which, despite the dark subject matter, offers hope but no simplistic solutions.
March 2020 Book of the Month | The novel of The Crossover is a Newberry Medal Winner, and a Coretta Scott King Award Winner in the US and was Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in the UK. This graphic novel version is the whole story complete with large and small two-coloured illustrations gracing every page. This is a deceptively simple read – a novel in verse about siblings getting through middle school, their lives, their crushes, their family interactions, and basketball. The boys are twins Josh and Jordan Bell, sons of a famous basketball player, and aiming to make a mark in the world of basketball. There are rivalries between the boys, they revel in their differences, but family holds them together whatever the world throws at them. The words and pictures work so well together, you will be on the edge of your seat, rooting for the team as they play and crying with the twins when thigs go awry. To tell such a complex story with so few words, with such emotional depth – Alexander is a master of devastating and uplifting storytelling. Anyabwile’s illustrations enhance a superb story – adding expressions and movement to an already great novel.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This Middle Grade debut from award-winning YA author Nic Stone (I adored her Dear Martin novel) features one-of-kind characters and true-to-life struggles underpinned by a special relationship between a boy and his grandma, and the segregation history of the American South. It’s also powerful on themes of racism, making amends, and complex family dynamics. In big trouble at school and fearing his dad has lost faith in him, eleven-year-old Scoob has had a rough time of it of late, so the prospect of going on a road-trip with his gloriously willful grandma seems pretty good. Travelling with the Green Book guide that lists ‘safe’ places for African Americans to travel, G’ma takes them to places she and her deceased husband visited on a trip decades ago, though they didn’t make it the whole way. Among these sites are the bombed church where civil rights activists used to gather, including Dr Martin Luther King, and the former home of Medgar Wiley Evers, a black soldier who fought in WWII and came home to fight for civil rights. As their journey progresses, Scoob is increasingly freaked out by G’ma’s actions and state of mind. “Looks like we’re both trying to make a run for it,” she remarks, leading Scoop to anxiously wonder what she’s running from, and what she’s trying to make amends for. During their moving page-turner of a trip, the story reveals how unjust life was for African Americans during segregation, and how hard it was for Scoob’s African American G-pop and white G’ma to be a young married couple. Gripping, moving and informative, this is a wonderfully warm read, and Scoob’s perspective is spot-on for the age-group.
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021 | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | March 2020 Debut of the Month | The author has revealed just how much of this searing novel is based upon her own experiences at school which lends credibility and authenticity to the situations described, but she has also created utterly believable and relatable characters with truly authentic teen voices and dialogue. Within a few pages we are thrust into the raw pain of grief and utter disbelief in the aftermath of a teen suicide. The narration alternates between 15-year-old Nathan, the younger brother who discovered Al’s body and Megan the school friend who shared Al’s passion for art, but each chapter is cleverly introduced by the voice of Al himself. Both Nathan and Megan are wracked with guilt, blaming themselves for letting Al down. Nathan, by not picking up the call from Al on that fateful afternoon and Megan by sticking with the ‘cool’ kids and not acknowledging Al as a friend. Nathan wants to understand why Al was driven to suicide and Megan wants to prove to the world how special he was. Gradually we develop a deep and nuanced understanding of their growing relationship and of all the characters involved: be they friends, family or even ‘villains’. There are no cardboard cyphers here. The thought provoking, intelligent writing also reveals the overwhelming influence of social media on the lives of young people. Megan can use Instagram and Facebook to positively celebrate Al’s artwork, but together they discover the extremes of cyberbullying he had been exposed to and which ultimately pushed Al over the edge, helped by the casual spite which colours so much daily interaction on social media. This devastating, truthful and important novel is an essential school purchase, and will no doubt provoke valuable discussion both in classrooms and between peers. Find out more about the YA Book Prize including all the shortlisted titles.
Shortlisted for the Books for Younger Readers category, Children's Book Awards 2022 | Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Awards 2021, Best Story | “Numbers are great, they make sense - unlike people. You’d think this if you lived with my family.” So Anisha sets the scene for the madcap mystery that unfolds in the chaotic run-up to her Aunty Bindi’s epic wedding. Anisha loves her “sparkly” Aunty Bindi, but it’s not easy being bridesmaid to such a flamboyant figure, especially when she’s on the verge of having a “mega meltdown”! Matters take a scarier turn when Anisha finds a ransom note announcing that Tony, Bindi’s fiancé, has been kidnapped and the wedding must be called off if they want to see him again. “Why did I have to be the one who found the note?” she laments. “I DON’T LIKE DRAMA!” But, in order to prevent her already frazzled family from spiraling into further chaos, Anisha decides to find Tony herself, with the help of her best friend Milo. A hilarious race against time ensues, with clues to pursue, undercover surveillance to be done and the involvement of some decidedly curious characters (among them a weeing lobster), and the menace of Anisha’s “evil” cousins-to-be. The story shimmers with the vibrant exuberance of an Indian wedding, the special warmth of family and friends, and action-packed amusement. Special mention must go to the informative (and funny) footnotes that explain Indian food, customs and language referred to in the story, and to Emma McCann’s energetic illustrations. April 2020 Debut of the Month Books in the Anisha, Accidental Detective Series: 1. Anisha, Accidental Detective 2. School's Cancelled 3. Granny Trouble
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2020 | May 2020 Debut of the Month | Winner of the Stonewall Book Award | Shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020 | Uplifting and dazzlingly unique, this coming-of-age treasure explores identity and sexuality with an emboldening message to remember that “you have the right to be you”. As a young Barbie-loving boy, mixed race Michael wonders if he’s “only half” of everything, to which his mother poignantly replies: “Don’t let anyone tell you/that you are half-black/and half-white. Half-Cypriot/ and half-Jamaican./ You are a full human being.” But he doesn’t feel like a whole human being. Dubbed a “queerdo and weirdo” by bullies and subjected to “batty bwoy” taunts through his teenage years, he leaves London for Brighton University with hope in his heart. But even here Michael feels “like Goldilocks; trying to find a group of people/the perfect fit for me”. He doesn’t feel black enough for the Caribbean Society, or Greek enough for Hellenic Society, or queer enough for the LBGT Society. Then Michael finally finds a fit at Drag Society where he becomes The Black Flamingo, “someone fabulous, wild and strong. With or without a costume on.” Michael’s journey is complex, moving and told with a raw vitality that makes the soul soar and the heart sing, with Anshika Khullar’s magnificent illustrations and the smart design adding further depth, prompting the reader to pause for thought as his story requires.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | Written for and about “the swift and sweet ones/who hurdled history and opened a world of possible”, for those who “survived America by any means necessary. And the ones who didn’t,” this is an inspiring ode to the author’s forebears and to the world-changing feats of unforgettable Black American figures. Author Kwame Alexander’s initial inspiration for this book came in the year his second daughter was born, the same year Barack Obama became the first African American president of the USA. As a result, Alexander wanted his daughters “to know how we got to this historic moment”, which is exactly what this stirring book does. The chained slaves who kept faith, the elite Olympians, the innovative musicians, the seminal scientists, the courageous activists - people from all walks of life are celebrated in Alexander’s poetically poised words, and gloriously illustrated by Kadir Nelson, with much for young children to ponder and ask questions about. As well as being a wonderful way for parents to explore Black American history with their little ones on a one-to-one basis, this will also work well with older children in a classroom context. Indeed, this is one of those rare and wonderful picture books that defies age boundaries - a radiant, resonant unforgettable tour de force, as befits its theme.
Boundlessly energetic Layla is over the moon when she’s offered a scholarship to a fancy school, but this exciting new chapter of her life gets off to the worst possible start when she stands up to a bully, who happens to be the son of a Very Important Person. Since Layla’s wise parents “had taught her to yell in the face of injustice,” she won’t remain silent when subjected to racism and islamophobia (“Get your towelhead face out of our school. In fact, get out of our COUNTRY. You’re not welcome here”), but it’s Layla who ends up being suspended. Never one to quit, cut loose or bow out, Layla bounces back by throwing herself into a high profile inter-school robotics invention competition, with many hilarious and moving true-to-life moments along the way. Throughout I adored Layla’s openness, her aptitude for shrugging off set-backs, taking suggestions on board and embracing change. As the You Must Be Layla title suggests, she’s a one-of-a-kind heroine, and this funny, thought-provoking novel - the first children’s book from inspirational Sudanese-born broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied - is a one-of-a-kind bundle of comedy and compassion.
Renée Watson’s remarkable What Momma Left Me is a wise and nourishing story rooted in themes of resilience, healing and love. With high school on the horizon, African American Serenity is struggling to piece her life back together following the brutal death of her beloved momma and the loss of her dad. Amidst this sensitively evoked maelstrom, Serenity finds hope in the form of her wholesome grandparents, church (where Grandpa is a pastor), brother Danny and new friend and confidante Maria, a bright beam of light who harbours her own bleak secrets. Serenity handles her grief, set-backs and challenging dilemmas with dignity, her grandparents a constant, calming presence as they impart wisdom, such as this nod to Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ poem: “That’s why we say ‘we rise’, children. There have been lots of things that have tried to keep us down. But we’ve got resilience running through these veins.”Empathetically charting Serenity’s grief, first romance and growing up (what Serenity does to save Maria from an unsafe situation shows strength and wisdom way beyond her years), this huge-hearted novel comes highly recommended for its honesty, depth and engaging readability, along with Watson’s Piecing Me Together and Watch Us Rise (the latter co-authored with Ellen Hagan).
This collaboration, between the first American Olympic medallist to compete wearing a hijab and an award-winning Muslim YA author, is a beautiful story of sisterly love as well as a thoughtful depiction of the significance of wearing the hijab. Expressed in terms of family pride and self determination rather than in terms of faith, makes the message particularly accessible to all young readers regardless of their background. Faizah is excited for her first day of school, with her light up shoes and new backpack, but even more excited for her older sister, Asiya with her brand-new blue hijab. As Faizah walks to the school she admires her sister who looks like ‘a princess’ in her blue head scarf. Their mother has prepared the girls with wise words, which they remember as they encounter different reactions, and these are shown on dreamy spreads of Faiza’s thoughts and their mother’s words. When the kids in the school bully Asiya, she remembers her mother’s advice to not carry hurtful words as “they are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them” The bullies are cleverly depicted as faceless, raceless, anonymous shadows thus avoiding apportioning blame to any one sector. The vivid colour and expressive illustration are just as powerful as words in conveying the passionate message of how to be proud of one’s culture, individuality, and religion and how to stay strong protected by the armour of family love. This is an excellent book about identity and self-confidence for young readers who can see themselves in Asiya or know someone like her and essential for Empathy collections.
Winner of CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021 | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Smart, incisive, brimming with the breath of human experience and written with engaging age-appropriate verve, this clever concept (“a tale told in ten blocks”) is perfectly executed. For the chorus of kids whose lives play out on these impeccably-written pages, the walk home from school represents a rare time of freedom; a period of limbo between being under the watchful eyes of teachers and parents. Unsupervised, the kids reveal their true selves, most of them dealing with hidden heartache and anxieties alongside goofing around, self-reflecting and navigating their way through Middle School. As always with Jason Reynolds, the characterisation is ingeniously vivid, with deep insights expressed through, for example, the different ways kids open their lockers. Many of the stories are intensely poignant, such as that of the Low Cuts crew whose bad behaviour is fuelled by a desperate love for their sick parents. The moment it turns out that Bit the hustler is a “son who was scared. A son who loved his mum” is shatteringly powerful. There’s much humour too, such as the laugh-out-loud scene in which smelly Gregory is slathered in VaporRub by friends seeking to beautify him before he visits a girl he’s keen on. Bittersweet, hard-hitting and powerfully perceptive, these pitch-perfect reader-centric stories shine a light on oft-overlooked lives and ring with empathy and authenticity.
From the one-of-a-kind author of The Poet X comes a one-of-a-kind novel suffused in YA’s finest features - friendship, shifting family relationships, fighting to find your voice, romantic passion – and more besides, thanks to the exuberant drive of its teen mom protagonist. Emoni has an extraordinary gift for creative cooking and a complicated home life. Her mom, whose family is “straight-from-the-Carolinas Black” died in childbirth, which caused her grief-stricken Puerto Rican dad to head home to his island. As a result Emoni was raised by his mother, the fabulous ‘Buela. Emoni is used to hearing other people’s problems with her dual heritage (“it’s like I’m some long-division problem folks keep wanting to parcel into pieces, and they don’t hear me when I say: I don’t reduce, homies. The whole of me is Black. The whole of me is whole”), but since falling pregnant in her freshman year she has a new set of struggles to contend with. It’s not easy being a teenage mom while also studying, working and dealing with Babygirl’s judgmental paternal grandmother, but somehow Emoni keeps it all going, finding soulful solace in the kitchen: “I’m happier in the kitchen than anywhere else in the world…my food doesn’t just taste good, it is good – straight up bottled goodness that warms you and makes you feel better about your life”. Enrolling on a culinary arts class makes Emoni even more determined to accomplish her gastronomic career goals, and also brings her heatedly close to new boy Malachi. But with multiple obstacles at every turn, when life reaches boiling point her best friend and family step-up as supporting sous chefs. Spiced with inspirational wisdom (“Taking risks and making choices in spite of fear – it’s what makes our life story compelling” says one of Emoni’s teachers; “The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely chose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance,” says Emoni), this luminous novel challenges multiple stereotypes and dances to its own love-infused, inspirational beat.
September 2019 Book of the Month | Amara knows exactly what she wants for her 12th birthday: to visit her father’s family in New York. She understands it will be very different to Beavertown, Oregon, the small town she’s grown up in, but can’t wait to explore the big city and get to know her family properly. The trip is eye-opening in lots of ways as she learns more about her father and his childhood, about her family, and even her own history. Renée Watson shows us that families are complicated, that it’s never too late to change or make amends, and that we can all carry on learning even as we grow up. Quiet, though full of drama, and skilfully told, this is a touching and thought-provoking story with well-drawn, engaging characters; a book that will make a real impact on its reader.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the Children's Book Award 2020 | Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2020 | This assured and beautifully written debut perfectly captures that awkward phase of growing up when you feel left behind and uncertain who you are. Safiya is obsessed with gaming and Studio Ghibli, feels guilty for choosing to live with her father after her parent’s amicable divorce and feels her ambitious high achieving mother would prefer the more sophisticated and worldly girls at her school. Their relationship is very strained, both are such strong and complex characters, and a particularly bad argument sadly precedes her mother’s hospitalisation. Understandably guilt and anxiety fill her waking moments, and, in her dreams, she finds herself witnessing the turbulent relationship between her mother and grandmother in Kuwait and begins to understand the influences on her mother’s character. The line between these game-like dreams, that are so well evoked, and her daily reality is skilfully blended as Safiya tries to find out more and believes she can find the key to saving her mother. As their back story is gradually revealed, Safiya comes to terms with who she is and can finally understand and accept the truth of her mother’s love. A deeply moving and satisfying coming of age novel that is highly recommended. The Branford Boase judges said : ‘I love the voice, and the story brought me to tears’; ‘Safiya is a very well rounded, developed character’; ‘a really clever idea, and the story is so well told’; ‘she makes the magic credible’; ‘I was so impressed by the way the friendships developed’.
In 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to a lifetime in jail. His crime? Attempting to overthrow a government that openly discriminated against its Black citizens. After spending 27 years behind bars, Mandela was released, allowing him to continue his struggle for equality in South Africa-and to become the country's first black president.
Illuminating, compassionate and beautifully written, this remarkable fact-based debut tells the story of eleven-year-old Ella, who lives in small town South Carolina with her cousin Henry and orphan Myrna, all three of them cared for by Granny and Poppy while Ella’s jazz singing mama works in Boston. In South Carolina, “bad things can happen to colored folks”, as Myrna describes it, including lynching, and Ella sees Boston as something of a promised land, a place where “coloured folks could go anywhere they wanted”, where “fancy was just life” and people “were sophisticated". When a telegram arrives inviting her to stay with Mama, Ella is over the moon but, while non-segregation is an eye-opening wonder, Boston life isn’t everything she’d hoped for. With Mama either working at a ship-fitters, working singing in a club, or tired from working, she’s lonely, and also unhappy about having to share her Mama with roommate Helen, with whom Mama shares a bed, and she’s also frustrated by her mother’s evasion of questions about her daddy. Throughout, the novel is subtly brilliant at capturing children’s uncomfortable glimpses into unfathomable aspects of adulthood. Then, when Mama gets a singing opportunity, Ella returns to the family who’ve been missing her like mad and the shocking news that her classmate has been arrested for murdering two white girls. This authentically-voiced, unforgettable tale of identity, injustice, friendship and resilience is as harrowing on the horrifying realities of racism and segregation as it is suffused in love and hope, with Ella, Henry and Myrna’s alternating narratives providing powerfully captivating insights into how it might have felt to be a black child growing up in the segregation-era Southern States.
In this biography, discover the inspiring story of Katherine Johnson, famed NASA mathematician and one of the subjects of the award-winning 2016 film Hidden Figures. It was an incredible accomplishment when the United States first put a person on the Moon - but without the incredible behind-the-scenes work of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, such a feat could not have been possible. Follow her remarkable journey from growing up in West Virginia, to becoming a teacher, to breaking barriers at NASA and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. This new biography series from DK goes beyond the basic facts to tell the true life stories of history's most interesting people. Full-color photographs and hand-drawn illustrations complement thoughtfully written, age-appropriate text to create an engaging book children will enjoy reading. Definition boxes, information sidebars, maps, inspiring quotes, and other nonfiction text features add depth, and a handy reference section at the back makes this the one biography series every teacher and librarian will want to collect. Each book also includes an author's introduction letter, a glossary, and an index.
It's 2002, a year after 9/11, and Shirin has just started at yet another new high school. It's an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who's tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She's tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments - even the physical violence she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. Shirin drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother. But then she meets Ocean James. He's the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know her. It terrifies her -they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds - and Shirin has had her guard up against the world for so long that she's not sure she'll ever be able to let it down. Perfect for fans of the Shatter Me series as well as Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Nicola Yoon's The Sun is Also A Star.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a gripping adventure story of a school trip that goes horribly wrong. Sam longs to go on the school trip to the Highlands but he is sure his parents will say no as he has a long term sickness - sickle cell disease – which means he needs to be looked after carefully. When they surprisingly say yes, Sam is thrilled. But his delight soon turn to fear as he realises that the class bullies are planning something that is designed to humiliate him but which will end up putting them all at risk. How Sam deals with the bullies, including showing incredible courage in rescuing one from real danger, and how he deals with his own illness with another kind of bravery is all brilliantly captured in Malorie Blackman’s vivid drama.
October 2018 Debut of the Month | Awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour commendation from the Carnegie shortlist 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | In a Nutshell: Fighting for Justice | Black Lives Matter | | Stunning, vital wake-up call of a novel about racism, social inequality and not giving up told through the eyes of an incredible, unforgettable sixteen-year-old. Starr straddles two very different worlds. She has one foot in Garden Heights, a rough neighbourhood ruled by gangs, guns and dealers, and the other in an exclusive school with an overwhelmingly wealthy white student population. One night she’s at a party when gunshots are fired and Khalil, her friend since childhood, takes her to his car for safety. Khalil is unarmed and poses no threat, but he’s shot dead by an officer right in front of her. It will take a lot of courage to speak to the police, and to face the media who choose to highlight that Khalil was a “suspected drug dealer”, while omitting to mention that he was unarmed. But, with their neighbourhood under curfew and a tank on the streets, Starr risks going public. Danger escalates as the hearing approaches (and beyond), but Starr isn’t about to give up fighting for Khalil, and for what’s right. Alongside the intense struggles and conflicts faced by Starr’s family and community, there are some truly heart-melting moments between Starr and her white boyfriend Chris (their shared love of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is super cute), and also between Starr and her parents. Complex, gripping, stirring and so, so important – I can’t recommend this remarkable debut enough.
Winner of UKLA Shortlist Book Awards 2019 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019 | Will is only fifteen but he’s experienced more violence and loss than most people might in an entire lifetime. His big brother Shawn was recently shot dead, right in front of him, but as “everybody knows”, “gunshots make everybody/deaf and blind especially/when they make somebody/dead”. While his mom mourns, “sobbing into her palms”, Will knows what he has to do. He must follow the three rules: No crying. No snitching. Revenge. Armed with Shawn’s gun, Will heads down six floors in an elevator on his revenge mission, thinking he knows exactly who he’s going after. When the “spooky ass” elevator stops at each floor and ghosts from the past step into the “vertical coffin”, doubts set in as Will is presented with more facts and finally comes face to face with some big choices (do some rules need to be broken? Does he want out of the cycle?), and more besides. The writing is crisp, clever and dazzlingly compact, with a whole family history and personally-charged societal issues conveyed with powerful precision. The line and page breaks are perfectly constructed, words and phrases frequently have multiple meanings, and Chris Priestley’s raw and resonant illustrations are hauntingly powerful.
May 2018 Debut of the Month | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Picture this. You’re an honors student with a top university in your sights. You work hard, and you follow your mother’s advice to always put your best foot forward. So how come, when you help a friend in need, you’re man-handled by the police and arrested? How come the cops tell you that they “know your kind...Just couldn’t resist the pretty white girl who’s locked her keys in her car, could ya?” As Yale-bound African American Justyce knows only too well, “things aren’t as equal as folks say they are”. At every turn he’s caught between worlds: a white classmate attributes his success to positive discrimination, while he’s accused of being a race traitor by some of his black peers. He airs this elemental conundrum with SJ, his debate partner: “white people hold most positions of authority in this country. How do I deal with the fact that I DO need them to get ahead without feeling like I’m turning my back on my own people?” And what’s he supposed to do when he falls for SJ and his mama’s dead against him dating a white girl? As the compelling, gut-wrenching story unfolds, Justyce writes a journal to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. to work through his thoughts, vent his frustrations and to ask what Dr King would do in his situation. Then a tragedy strikes that threatens to disarm Justyce’s pledge to do as Martin would do. Important, timely and unforgettable, this powerful exposé of racism, injustice and the injuriousness of profiling articulates the persistent everyday battles faced by thousands of kids in Justyce’s shoes with scorching lucidity. Quite simply, everyone must read this poignant punch-packer of a debut.
Winner for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019 | Highly Commended in the UKLA Book Awards 2019 | Winner of the 2018 National Book Award | Xiomara Batista is a Harlem teenager whose parents moved to the US from the Dominican Republic. She has plenty of thoughts, plenty to say, but she’s been rendered voiceless by her domineering mother, by religion, and by the boys and men who objectify her body. She gets “all this attention from guys/but it’s like a sancocho of emotions… partly flattered they think I’m attractive, partly scared they’re only interested in my ass and boobs”. Such is the experience of many young women, but for Xiomara this is exacerbated by racism and her judgmental religious community, and powerfully expressed in her inimitable narrative voice. Talking of which, through the sexual insults, and despite her mother’s meting of cruel punishments, Xiomara does find her voice. She keeps a secret notebook of poems, and dreams of joining a slam poetry club. And she finds love too, with Trinidad-born Aman, a compassionate young man with family heartache of his own. Xiomara’s descriptions of their burgeoning relationship are stunning, evoking first love and passion in all its visceral beauty. Somehow, Xiomara pulls herself free from a mire of obstacles. She stands tall, she burns bright - a wondrously authentic character who finds her own faith through writing poetry. Highly recommended for fans of Nicola Yoon, Angie Thomas and Sarah Crossan, this is a dazzlingly affecting feat.
This inspiring, illuminating, stylishly accessible anthology invites young readers to discover and celebrate phenomenal forebears and contemporary catalysts, while encouraging them to blaze their own inimitable trails. Taking its name from a Nina Simone song, and written as “a love letter to our ancestors, and to the next generation of black changemakers,” this exuberantly illustrated book presents a plethora of outstanding individuals who’ve realised amazing achievements in their respective fields. Among the fifty-two figures we meet are household names from contemporary culture (Michelle and Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé, for example), and hugely important historical heroes and heroines. While some will be familiar – Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks, for example – lesser-known pioneers are also presented, among them Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space. In their introduction, the author and illustrator issue an emboldening statement about the importance of representation – “all children deserve to see themselves represented positively in stories”. And, with such a dazzling diversity of talents portrayed here (from writers, musicians, dancers and visual artists, to sports people, scientists and politicians), this book has much to inspire a real range of young readers.
February 2018 Book of the Month | The story of a young man and the special relationship he forms with the lollipop man who once saved his life, Zebra Crossing Soul Song is an original and touching coming of age story, full of insight and set to a playlist of songs that will have all readers swaying in time to its music. Lenny is eighteen and resitting his psychology A level; revising episodic memory sets him thinking about his friend Otis, and how their conversations over the years at Otis’s zebra crossing have left ideas and music imprinted on his mind, more indelibly even than those black and white marks on the road. It’s a relationship strong enough to endure through the different pressures on both of them. Scattered with song lyrics, and seeded with truths, this memorable and absorbing story moved me to tears. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | A story of a daring escape made by two slaves, a young woman and her husband, provides the inspiration for Tanya Landman’s story. Rosa and Benjamin meet, fall in love and marry but because they are slaves, their lives are not their own. When Rosa discovers she is pregnant – and confesses to her husband that the child might be her master’s – they decide to run. Rosa is so fair skinned that even Benjamin mistook her for a white at first, so they decide to disguise themselves as a white master and his ‘boy’. Their escape is full of drama and tension, but what will shock young readers is the casual brutality and hateful self-justification of the white slave owners Rosa encounters. It’s a story that makes you doubt humanity, while also celebrating individual courage and resilience. For more books on this theme head over to our sister site, LoveReading4Schools topic list - The Slave Trade
This charming little book opens with a scene any young dancer dreams of: a girl peeking through the curtains before flying onto the stage, a ballerina. The journey taken by that young ballerina to make that entrance is particularly inspiring however: she is Michaela DePrince, and the book describes simply and without embellishment how she came from an orphanage in Sierra Leone to become one of the world’s best dancers. It’s a story of hope, courage, love and persistence, filled with enough dance detail to satisfy tutu-wearing youngsters while gently reminding them anyone’s dreams can come true with hard work and practice. Ella Okstad’s illustrations of Michaela and her fellow little dancers are absolutely gorgeous.
Siobhan Dowd’s short story first appeared in an anthology published in 2004. It has lost none of its power to move and the sheer depth and emotion packed into this spare narrative is still breath-taking. The book tells the story of Jim, a young Traveller boy, his experiences at the Buffer school (Buffer is what Travellers call non-Travellers) and his developing friendship with a girl called Kit. The story, told through Jim’s eyes, is vivid, affecting and, though it has more than its share of sadness, ultimately uplifting. Emma Shoard’s equally sensitive and powerful ink and wash illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the text and this is a book to treasure. ~ Andrea Reece Siobhan Dowd was a passionate defender of human rights and was particularly interested in Traveller communities and the experiences of Traveller young people. She said of her writing: “The protagonists in my stories aren’t human rights heroes in the conventional sense. They are ordinary people living in England and Ireland who find extraordinary ways to overcome the difficulties in their lives and for me that’s the essence of any good story: it’s where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.” Emma Shoard says, “It’s been wonderful to find out about the lives of Irish Travellers through Siobhan’s story and her characters. I’ve loved bringing them to life through my illustrations and hope that readers will fall for Jim and Kit the way I have.”
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | ‘The Crossover’ is original and absolutely stunning, both visually and emotionally, it’s also an award winner, and deserves to be. First published in the United States in 2014 and described perfectly as a novel-in-verse, this is a story about basketball playing twins, Josh and Jordan. I initially wondered, as I looked at the visual impact of the first page, how easy it would be to read, as the words themselves slant and grow and fill the page with attitude. The answer is that this is a remarkably beautiful and accessible read, at times I even read out loud, the sounds resonating and rolling from the page. This style really encourages feeling and understanding to grow, and before I knew it I was fully immersed in the story and letting the words ebb and flow through my mind. Fresh, funny and heart achingly sad, ‘The Crossover’ is a dynamic, vital and gripping story, that I highly and truly recommend.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 Baljit – Jit to his school friends – helps out in his father’s chippy but dreams of playing football in the Premier League. When he’s given a chance to take part in open trials for under-16s in front of scouts for the big teams, he knows he has to be there, even though it will mean lying to his mum and dad. This feel-good story successfully mixes drama, comedy and even a bit of romance (Jit ends up with the girl of his dreams as well as invites to attend second trials at Arsenal and Liverpool), while the descriptions of Jit’s home life, and relationships with his friends, are particularly warm and satisfying. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range. ................................. Read a special Q&A with Bali Rai on his book, Game On.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. | Fascinating, commanding and stimulating; this work of fiction is steeped in the history of the American school integration struggle in the late 1950’s. The author has clearly done her research and written a provocative and yet somehow irresistibly beautiful novel. Talley picks you up and hurls you down in the middle of the brutal pack mentality, she spins you around, then gently slips hope and love inbetween the clamour and hatred. Sarah and Linda feel substantial and real; their dreams and fears, writhe and pulse from the pages. This is so thought-provoking it almost hurts to read it, yet every word is needed, is necessary and consequently this is a novel that lingers long after you've finished it.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.A fine collection of poems and rhymes from all over the world, collected together by Elizabeth Hammill, renowned for her support and expertise in the world of children's literature. A host of fantastic illustrators including Axel Scheffler, Robert Ingpen and Shirley Hughes have donated their work to support Seven Stories, a national archive of British authors and illustrators.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the classic story of a girl growing up in the deep South. _____________ Puffin Fact! After graduating from the University of Toledo, Mildred D. Taylor spent two years in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps, which she described as ‘the happiest years’ in her adult life. Download more Puffin Facts here! _____________ Dear readers, dreamers and adventurers, Ever wanted a friend who could take you to magical realms, talk to animals or help you survive a shipwreck? Well, you'll find them all in the PUFFIN BOOK collection. A PUFFIN BOOK will stay with you forever. Maybe you'll read it again and again, or perhaps years from now you'll suddenly remember the moment it made you laugh or cry or simply see things differently. Adventurers big and small, rebels out to change their world, even a mouse with a dream and a spider who can spell - these are the characters who make stories that last a lifetime. Whether you love animal tales, war stories or want to know what it was like growing up in a different time and place, the A PUFFIN BOOK collection has a story for you - you just need to decide where you want to go next... We want to know which is your favourite. Tell us or tweet a photo of your old beloved copy - and we might just send you a new A PUFFIN BOOK so you can pass the story on. Love - PUFFIN @puffinbooks #shareapuffinbook
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Join Betsey on four short, sun-filled adventures as she learns you don't have to be big to make a big difference.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A compelling and engrossing story about a girl living in war-torn Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Parvana must disguise herself as a boy to save her mother and sisters from starvation. Every day, it is a fight for survival.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2013 - Best Book with Facts | In personal jottings, photos and pictures, this scrapbook brings alive a pioneering black footballer and British officer in the First World War who lived outside the limitations of his age - from Walter's childhood in an orphanage through his footballing years at Spurs and Northampton to the Western Front, highlighting the Christmas Day Truce of 1914, Walter's officer training - pipe, moustache and all! - ending with his death on the Somme, his memorials and his legacy.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. October 2013 Debut of the Month Features an edgy, funny, scary mash-up of urban horror and social realism: for fans of The Misfits and Attack the Block!,with hints of Ian Banks' coming-of-age classic The Wasp Factory. Narrated entirely in Marshall's street voice and set in a multicultural community on a mission to crush the stereotype; a pacy, pulsing read to make you squirm and scratch, with Mega-bugs as a subtext for the social parasites of poverty and crime; and Pitter-pat. Pitter-pat. Pitter-pat. Itchy yet? In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Blood Donors a small number of readers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'an exciting, fright-filled, adrenaline-filled book. With funny, convincing characters and a terrifying plot, Blood Donors is the perfect book for horror lovers.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. An ideal first picture book by an award-winning author/illustrator in which Lenny and his dad have a game of hide and seek in the house, enjoying fun and games together.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.Joyful and dotty, how Old Al Haji Amadu tries to get rid of his five naughty goggle-eyed goats - and fails - is the ultimate triumph of pester power. Al Haji's three wives object violently to the five goggle-eyed goats who chew up everything they can get their teeth into, so, ignoring protests from his children, Ali Haji takes them off to market... But Al Haji hasn't bargained with just how much his children want the goats to stay... Strikingly bold and vibrant illustrations bring the market place in Timbuktu vividly to life.
A very big welcome to this beautiful new edition of an award-winning title which tells exactly what very special ingredient is needed to make Hue Boy grow. Smaller than all his friends, Hue Boy just doesn’t seem to grow despite everything that his mother does to help him. She feeds him well, encourages him to exercise, and even takes him to both the doctor and the Wise Man of the village to see if either can be of help. But then Hue’s dad comes home. Is that what is needed to make Hue grow?
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.Winner of the inaugural Little Rebels Children's Book Award 2013 A haunting story of a family's flight from danger to a new life in a new country. Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, renowned author and illustrator Sarah Garland tells, with tenderness and humour, an exciting adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Full of life and potential, Stephen Lawrence was a boy with huge hopes for the future. Murdered in 1993, the book looks at prejudice, injustice and a family's fight to uncover the truth.
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2013 | One of Julia Eccleshare’s Stand-out Children’s Book of the Year 2012 | Winner of the 2010 Islamic Foundation International Writing Competition, (8-11 category) | Winner of The John C Laurence Award (for writing that improves relations between the races) | Shortlisted for the Muslim Writer’s Award 2011. | Witty and warm-hearted, this is a delightful family story spiced with adventure. Everything is distinctly not normal in Ramzi’s house. While mum’s away studying Domes of the East for her architecture course, dad starts waking in the night to do unusual things such as chasing a hen in Ramzi’s wardrobe and trying to catch frogs in the pantry. The truth is, dad’s homesick for his village in Algeria. Soon Ramzi is off on a great trip but will he be able to find the help he needs to get dad back to normal?
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A fascinating snapshot of how totally life changed in Beijing for a little boy, Little Leap Forward, his family and his friends when Chairman Mao came to power. The son of a musician, Little Leap Forward’s life revolves around his love of music, especially the old Chinese music his father used to love. But when the Red Guards spread throughout Beijing, enjoying the old pleasures becomes dangerous. Beautifully illustrated and produced in an attractive hardback.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A lyrical and lively collection of poetry that captures the sights, sounds, tastes and tales of the Caribbean and its people.
Winner of the 2010 Frances Lincoln / Seven Stories Diverse Voices Children's Book Award. Click here to read author and teacher Tom Avery's Q&A with one of the judges, Geraldine Brennan. This prize-winning story will grab readers’ attention from the opening moments and hold them spell-bound from then on. When Emmanuel and Prince are sent to England to live with their uncle, Emmanuel is put in charge. But, when you are only 12 it’s hard to do everything for yourself and your younger brother. Especially, it’s hard not attract any attention. When things go wrong and the boys go on the run, they find themselves in real danger as part of a thieving gang. Debut novelist Tom Avery shines real insight on how different some children’s lives are in this gripping and deeply moving story. Click here to see the previous winner of the Diverse Voices award, Takeshita Demons.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Shortlisted for the 2012 Carnegie Medal. The Judges said: A vivid and emotionally powerful story told through some great switches of authentic narrative voice, giving the perfect marriage of character and plot as the three children tell their stories. Though there are scenes that are visceral and shocking, humour is always present too, along with a strong sense of community and the sustaining nature of friendship. Shortlisted for the prestigious Sheffield Children's Book Award 2011. Headlong and heart-stopping, this is an adventure you just can’t put down. From the squalor of a rubbish dump to the grandeur of some of the finest houses in the city, this is a thrilling adventure. Three boys who live on a dump and spend their lives sorting rubbish find something so precious, so valuable and so wanted by someone else that their whole lives are turned upside down. How can they keep their find – and themselves safe? From the pathos of deprivation to the hope of a miracle this is a story full of emotion as well as vivid drama.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. | A joyful evoction of the great Muslim festival of Ramadan and Id for children. Written and illustrated by Muslims, this is a book for all children who celebrate Ramadan and those in the wider communities who want to understand why this is such a special experience for Muslims.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2011. Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2011: Favourite Story. This is a debut novel packed with warmth, humour and quirkiness that will have you in fits of laughter one minute and in tears the next as the author explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures. Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs. Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. But he's not just tall ...he's a GIANT. Titles shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2011: I am the Blade Out of Shadows Tall Story The Crowfield Curse Unhooking the Moon When I was Joe
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A two-in-one picture book that comprises two stories designed to be read simultaneously - one from the left, the other from the right. It lets you experience the lives of two little boys - one from an urban family in Sydney, Australia, the other from Morocco. A powerful book, Mirror illustrates how our lives reflect each other and that we are all, even in some small way, connected.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Oluwalase Babatunde Benson is Number 1. He's the Number 1 car spotter in his village. The Number 1 car spotter in the world. The start of an exciting new series about the irresistible Number 1, whose hobby is car spotting but who is good at solving all sorts of problems for his village.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. This is a heartwarming story about a feisty young Polish girl determined to be unhappy in her new life in England - but who finds herself settling in despite herself.
Moonfleece is an intense and thrilling exploration of memory and identity, and is the most directly political play to date by leading playwright Philip Ridley. Set in an abandoned council flat, Moonfleece centres on a young, right-wing activist forced to reassess his personal and political beliefs.
This is a bestselling picture book - brought to life with an animated DVD!A Handa puts seven delicious fruits in a basket for her friend Akeyo. Which fruit will Akeyo like best, she wonders. After a long walk to the next village, the answer turns out to be a big surprise! Walker Books have collaborated with King Rollo Films to create this gently animated DVD packaged together with the classic picture book. Read by Adjoa Andoh ( Casualty and Doctor Who ), with specially composed music, this is an innovative combination that will delight and entertain young viewers again and again. Fun and engaging, this innovative set will help develop reading skills and is ideal for sharing at home or in the classroom.
An urban tale about a boy and his imaginary friend. Bob is Leon's best friend. He shares Leon's room. Everywhere Leon goes, Bob goes too. Then one day a boy moves in next door. But when Leon goes to ask his new neighbour to go to the park with him, he discovers Bob has gone.
When Keith gets a new foster brother, he's not too happy about it. But when this boy won't talk to him, Keith realizes that things are going to be much harder than he originally thought. And it's not just Keith who Donovan won't speak to - he won't speak to anybody at all. The other kids at school take Donovan's silence to be a sign of a bad attitude and start to bully him. Keith knows he has to stick up for him, but that means the bullies are just going to pick on him too ...
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. The youngest member of a collective of pick pockets and con-artists in 18 Century London, Cato Hopkins appears at risk of paying penance with his life...
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. | March 2012 Guest Editor Sally Nicholls says: "I am a big fan of books which write about dark subjects with lightness and humour. Marjane Satrapi's story of growing up in Iran after the Iranian Revolution is funny, wise, and very real. The child Marjane is an admirable character, and the humour in her story makes the events surrounding it all the more horrifying."
When it was originally published in 1985 Beverley Naidoo’s classic was a contemporary story; now it’s a piece of history but no less powerful or important. It’s the story of two black children who set off from their remote village to search for their mother and bring her home after their baby sister falls desperately ill. Setting off on foot on the long hot road to Jo’burg, Naledi and Tiro have no idea what’s in store for them as they cross the dangerous landscape of Apartheid. Written simply, to be accessible to those as young as 8, this universal story of children whose spirit won’t let injustice crush them continues to move all who read it. ~ Andrea Reece
Grace loves to act out stories. Sometimes she plays the leading part, sometimes she is 'a cast of thousands.' When her school decides to perform Peter Pan , Grace is longing to play Peter, but her classmates say that Peter was a boy, and besides, he wasn't black...But Grace's Ma and Nana tell her she can be anything she wants if she puts her mind to it...
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A gripping story of a ten-year-old girl who risks death to make a life-saving dash through war-torn Beirut. It’s a quite remarkable tale of courage and hope in a country that has seen more than its fair share of bloodshed.
The Island is an astonishing and powerful picture book about refugees, xenophobia, multiculturalism, social politics and human rights. It tackles big themes in subtle ways with a fable-like text and stunning artwork that will provoke discussion for upper primary and secondary school levels about issues that remain so much a part of our national discourse.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Shortlisted for the prestigious 2008 Carnegie. An inspiring story of survival against a background of bloodshed. The fourteen year old Apache girl who narrates the story tells of her fight for her land, her tribe - and her life! The ways of the Apache are vividly brought to life. Shortlisted for two prestigious awards, the Carnegie Medal and the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008. The winner of the latter will be announced on 18th November. Be sure to check out Tanya Landman's second novel Two Words.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. One of the the UK's top performance poets explores issues of race and identity in this classic collection.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A cheeky, cheese-filled tale about super bad thief Bandalulu who has stolen all the cheese from Mouseland.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Jamal and sister Bibi want to lead Australia to victory in the World Cup, but that entails a journey from their homeland, Afghanistan where their family has upset the authorities, and a lengthy voyage overseas.
A new poetry collection from renowned performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah, celebrating the diversity of British society. A unique portrait of British children, Benjamin has written 12 poems, each one about a child in his or her home environment. The children are from a range of backgrounds and cultures and the book challenges traditional perceptions of the way children live. It shows that despite their differences, children have many similar preoccupations whatever their cultural background. We Are Britain springs from the rich interaction between many peoples which characterises modern Britain. Illustrated with Prodeepta Das' vibrant photographs, this is a fascinating and fun collection which children will love.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. An extraordinary piece of current affairs reportage told in graphic novel form and recounting the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza strip.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A story of fulfilment and freedom shown through the parable of the baby eagle who is reared with chickens.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. When Songololo's grandmother, Gogo, plans a shopping trip to the big city, he has to help her cope with all the hustle and bustle. It's all worthwhile, because at the end of the day there is a wonderful surprise in store for him.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. This highly personal story was partly influenced by Bali Rai's own experiences, it looks at the impact cultural traditions can have on young people growing up in modern times and the book will resonate with all who have experienced the pressure of expectation at the hands of their family.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A rhythmic counting poem that describes all manner of delicious Caribbean fruits as a little girl tries to eat as many of these as she can in a single day.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. This special book has a fairy tale like charm as a King takes on the search for a wife. Mufaro has two daughters, one rude and mean and the other generous and thoughtful. Which will win the hand of the King?
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A thought provoking and wide reaching collection of poetry for children that explodes from the page begging to be read aloud.
Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it's not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie's health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jide, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past and has grown hardened layers - like those of an artichoke - around his heart. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her. An incredibly insightful, honest novel exploring the delicate balance, and often injustice, of life and death - but at its heart is a celebration of friendship, culture - and life. Winner of the 2011 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize.
Alem is on holiday with his father for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited. They have a great few days togther until one morning when Alem wakes up in the bed and breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him. It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation. Alem's father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem's mother felt Alem would be safer in London - even though it is breaking their hearts to do this. Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing...A powerful, gripping new novel from the popular Benjamin Zephaniah
The dramatic first volume in the Surya Trilogy by Whitbread award-winning author of Coram Boy, Jamila Gavin. India, August 1947: Fleeing from their burnt-out village as civil war rages in the Punjab, Marvinder and Jaspal are separated from their mother, Jhoti. Marvinder has already saved her brother's life once, but now they both face a daily fight for survival. Together they escape across India and nearly halfway around the world to England, to find a father they hardly know in a new, hostile culture... A story touching on culture, class, faith and family set against the backdrop of Indian independence and the Partition of India and Pakistan. No children's books about India conveys these issues and themes with the effortless ease of Jamila Gavin. Her diverse voice is the perfect introduction to this period of history, for fans of The Bone Sparrow, Morris Gleitzman's Once, and Katherine Rundell's The Wolf Wilder.
What drives so many to leave everything behind and journey alone to a mysterious country, a place without family or friends, where everything is nameless and the future is unknown. This silent graphic novel is the story of every migrant, every refugee, every displaced person, and a tribute to all those who have made the journey. THE ARRIVAL has become one of the most critically acclaimed books of recent years, a wordless masterpiece that describes a world beyond any familiar time or place. Sited as No 35 in The Times 100 Best Books of all time. An imaginative triumph. Every home should have one. - The Times It will fascinate and occupy adults and children alike. - The Observer Read more about The Arrival at www.thearrival.com.au Find out more about Shaun Tan at http://www.shauntan.net