“I don’t want to read about Black people suffering. I want everyone to read about, hear and see full, rich exciting lives.” Sharna Jackson accomplished her mission as guest editor of the Black History Month special of Scoop.
If you’ve not come across it before, Scoop is a magazine for children aged 7-13, that tackles a particular theme every issue. It is created with the help of a guest editor and a young junior editor. In October, in recognition of Black History Month, the magazine focused on Black Britain and a celebration of the individuals and organisations who deserve recognition for their contributions to science, art, culture and politics.
In my role as editor of a publication aimed at Black people, I find myself saying rather a lot “I wish this had existed when I was a child”, and in flicking through the pages of Scoop’s Black Britain special, this wish came back to me.
Guest edited by Waterstones Children’s Book prize-winning author, Sharna Jackson, the Black History Month issue was curated to help children understand and contextualise discussions around race and racism in positive, inspiring and creative ways.
But it’s not all heavy content. The showcasing of some of Black Britain’s contemporary pioneers and icons will further the realisation that representation and seeing Black excellence is vital for young minds.
“Black Lives Matter – not just in Black History Month, but all year round, and every day. Now, more than ever, it’s important to highlight the achievements and experiences of Black British talent.”
The issue includes exclusive interviews with global bestselling writer Malorie Blackman, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and children’s author Atinuke. Great British Bake-Off finalist and food writer Ruby Tandoh shared her Peanut Soup recipe while Cassa Pancho, the founder of Ballet Black – a ballet company that’s bringing diversity into classical ballet in Britain dropped in for a chat. There’s even features on Notting Hill Carnival and the Black Curriculum, the organisation fighting to address the lack of Black history taught in the UK school curriculum.
All of this in addition to the usual original fiction and poetry, fascinating articles, fun puzzles and activities, bespoke comics and more.
Everything about this issue was uplifting, even the cover was based on an image of little-known John Blanke, a Black musician in the court of Henry VIII, which was painted by Musa Omusi, a talented illustrator from Nairobi.
Guest editor Sharna Jackson, author of the award-winning High-Rise Mystery children’s book series, said:
“Black Lives Matter – not just in Black History Month, but all year round, and every day. Now, more than ever, it’s important to highlight the achievements and experiences of Black British talent. Variety in representation is essential to the social development of all children, so I’m proud to be editing Scoop in October 2020, with contributions from Malorie Blackman, Benjamin Zephaniah and Ken Wilson-Max amongst others who have created incredible work for our readers.”
Editor-in-Chief Clementine Macmillan-Scott says:
“In commissioning Black authors and illustrators to create this issue we aim to celebrate Black history and experience from as many angles as we can pack into sixty-four pages. It has always been and will continue to be an extremely important theme for Scoop every year and we hope you all love it as much as we do.”
To purchase a print or digital subscription to Scoop, head to scoopthemag.co.uk/subscribe.