We all know how vital it is for children to recognise themselves in fiction to help further stimulate a love of reading and writing.
This fantastic list has been put together for us by Lorraine Mighty, who works as International Foundation Pathways Programme Manager for the University of Birmingham, and volunteers on the university’s Race Equality Network. As the mother of two mixed race children, she is keen to ensure her sons see a range of cultural heritages (including their own) in the books they read.
Floella Benjamin and Margaret Chamberlain£7.99 £7.43
This story highlights the differences between cultures in a mixed-race family, and explains that whilst at times there may be misunderstandings, everyone is coming from the same loving place.
Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman£6.99 £6.50
This book provides such a wide visual representation of people, families and languages. On every reading of this book, someone else catches our eye in the illustrations, and I’m set the challenge of how many languages I can say ‘Welcome’ in!
Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali, et al.£7.99 £7.43
This story of sibling support and religious identity reminds us of the importance of celebrating one’s own cultural heritage.
Lupita Nyong'o and Vashti Harrison£12.99 £12.08
Colourism is explored in this book which aims to instil confidence in all children who may receive messages that they do not conform to ‘conventional beauty’.
Floella Benjamin and Diane Ewen£12.99 £12.08
Floella Benjamin has adapted her autobiography for a younger audience, and it’s a beautiful read. This story has a special place in our heart as it is similar to my mother’s route to the UK.
Sarah Garland£7.99 £7.43
Set in a war-torn country, this graphic novel of a displaced young person’s experience in rebuilding their life in a new country captured my eldest’s imagination from the first reading.
Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo£6.99 £6.50
This affirming poem with beautiful illustrations is a reminder that our differences are to be celebrated and valued.
Atinuke and Mouni Feddag£14.99 £13.94
Another favourite, this book is packed with fascinating (and beautifully illustrated) facts about all of the countries which make up the continent of Africa. We (or perhaps specifically I!) are particularly enjoying being transported to these different locations throughout lockdown.
My eldest is amazed that all of the stories in this book are written by children aged between 8-12 years old. Focused on children’s rights and UN Sustainable Development Goals, these stories take you around the world in 152 pages!
Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons£6.99 £6.50
A heartwarming and beautifully written story about less traditional families which deals particularly well with adoption.
David Barrow£6.99 £6.50
My youngest absolutely loves this book about a child who plays hide and seek with an elephant! Fabulous illustrations and guaranteed giggles on every read.
MICHELLE ROBINSON and Rosalind Beardshaw£6.99 £6.50
Within the first few reads, my youngest started singing along to this story. It has great rhythm and rhyme which means you can’t help but join in!
Julia Donaldson and Joel Stewart£7.99 £7.43
Standing up for what you believe in and staying true to yourself is central to this lyrical and visually stunning story of Shen and her magic paintbrush.