Many of us are having to reassess areas of our lives and question how we can better be anti-racist from now on.
One of the things many parents have spoken about is a desire to educate not only themselves, but their children better and how to have necessary conversations with them at an earlier stage. There are a whole host of petitions to diversify the UK teaching syllabus, to include history about racism past and present and for more Black authors to be put on reading lists.
But at home too, parents are looking at their children’s bookshelves and realising they need to do more to make the images and stories they see growing up are diverse.
Layla Hudson, is a bookseller at Round Table Books – an inclusion-led bookshop in Brixton from Knights Of, a children’s books publisher dedicated to making books for every kid. She collated this gallery of book recommendations for us and says: ‘It is incredibly important for children - and adults - to have a diverse bookshelf. Education is key, and children must be able to learn about people who are different from them to broaden their world view.
‘It is never too early to teach your child to be anti-racist, so every parent should strive to fill their children's bookshelves with as many diverse books as possible. It's also vital for children to be able to see themselves represented in books, and to see themselves on the covers of books.’
You can purchase all these books through Hive: ‘When people shop on this website, they can choose an independent bookshop to send a percentage of the money made from the sale directly to the shop,’ she adds. ‘It's a good way of supporting independent bookshops, especially if they are closed due to COVID-19.’
You can also support the Inclusive Indies campaign here - a Crowdfunding initiative to save independent publishers who publish diverse books, and have taken a big hit from lost sales due to Covid-19.
You can read (and purchase) Layla's recommendations below.
10 Books For Different Ages If You're Trying To Make Sure Your Child's Bookshelf Is Diverse
Dream Big, Little Leader by Vashti Harrison (2+, non-fiction)
A lovely little board book to inspire even the youngest reader, as well as teaching them about some inspirational Black women in history. It's never too early to start educating children.
So Much by Trish Cooke (2+, fiction)
A classic - and one I remember my dad reading to me often! This book is a joy, and features all of the wonderful family members in baby's life that love him 'so much', and the ways that they show that love.
Look Up! by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola (3+, fiction)
A truly beautiful book - and beloved at Round Table Books! This wonderfully illustrated picture book is all about Rocket, a young girl obsessed with the stars, and her determination to get her community - and also her brother - to look up and experience the joys of the stars with her!
Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds by Annabelle Sami (7+, fiction)
This fun and inspiring mystery novel is great for young readers, and has a brilliant friendship at its core.
Young, Gifted and Black by Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins (8+, non-fiction)
A celebration of the achievements of 52 inspirational Black people, past and present, from homeland abroad. This is an excellent educational tool, as well as something to cherish for life.
Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison (8+, non fiction)
Another must have for every child. This book will inspire young readers, while also learning about many Black men in history that have changed the world with their actions, as well as some present day heroes.
High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson (9+, fiction)
A British murder mystery with two young detectives, Nik and Norva, who are determined to solve the case. A brilliant book from a masterful author - as you read you can feel the heat of the sweltering summer!
This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand (10+, non-fiction)
An excellent start for educating children on what racism is and how to go about becoming anti-racist. It's a brilliant resource with very powerful illustrations throughout.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone (14+, fiction)
A captivating novel. Justyce is top of his class, dreams set on going to an Ivy League college, but the police don't care about any of that when they put him in cuffs - they just see the colour of his skin. Told with letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as Justyce tries to gather his thoughts, this is one book every teenager should read. The sequel, Dear Justyce, is out later this year.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (14+, fiction)
This incredibly raw debut novel excellently captures internal struggles of growing up and learning to find your voice. Written in verse, this is one that is sure to make you shed a tear.