From Aug. 5, primary schools across England will be given access to a free anthology of books by Black British authors. Organised by reading charity BookTrust, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), the series will feature pair authors and illustrators to bring stories of joy, home, and family to life through narratives and poetry.
Titled Happy Here, the book features the likes of Patrice Lawrence, Joseph Coelho, Yomi Sode, Onyinye Iwu, and Selom Sunu. “Happy Here is going to thrill and inspire children in families and schools across the country and we want to make sure it is read by thousands of children,” BookTrust’s Director of Children’s Books Jill Coleman said in a press release. “We are proud to be working with Knights Of and CLPE as part of our effort to drive a long term, sustainable increase in the diversity of voices published in children’s literature.”
The book will be sent to every primary school in England, and BookTrust will also support author visits and “a programme of ongoing professional development for teachers.” This comes after research published by the charity found a severe lack of representation for minority ethnic characters in children’s books. According to the research, only 7% of children’s books published between 2017 and 2019 featured characters of colour.
“Being able to commission work that has no motive other than to amplify, uplift and celebrate what it means to exist in the UK today as Black British is liberating our team,” Knights Of co-founder Aimee Felone said. “As partners on Happy Here, it is encouraging to know that these stories and resources will reach children everywhere.”
Happy Here is available to pre-order from Waterstones for £6.99.