Every primary school in England is set to receive a free copy of HAPPY HERE, a beautifully illustrated anthology for all middle grade readers.
Aimed at children aged 7+, HAPPY HERE will feature an introduction from bestselling author Sharna Jackson and include stories and poems exploring themes of joy, home and family through a wide range of genres and styles.
Working in partnership to bring young readers this inspirational collection of stories and poems, is Inclusive publisher Knights Of who are partnering with children’s reading charity BookTrust and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).
In addition to being a must-read for every primary school pupil, the book also celebrates the abundant talent within the Black British publishing and artistic spaces, where each author has been paired with a different illustrator.
Wumi ‘Wumzum’ Olaosebikan
“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 for our team.”
2020 saw the publication of BookTrust Represents Interim Research and CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature, which highlighted the under-representation of children’s authors and illustrators of colour, and of minority ethnic characters within children’s books. Working with Knights Of, they aim to help directly redress this imbalance to ensure that children across the UK can see themselves reflected in the books and authors they read.
Taking steps toward this aim, BookTrust is giving a free copy of the anthology to every primary school in England and, in partnership with CLPE, will create and distribute free curriculum resources. They will also sponsor author events for schools to support the book, along with a programme of ongoing professional development for teachers to broaden the scope of literature taught in schools.
Jill Coleman, Director of Children’s Books at BookTrust says: “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. 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.”
Aimée Felone, co-founder, Knights Of says: “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 for our team. Each and every author and illustrator has focused not on the trauma or hardship of their existence, which is too often highlighted in children’s fiction, but the experience and possibility of happiness for their characters.”
HAPPY HERE will publish on 5 August 2021 (Knights Of, £6.99 paperback original).