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Books With Minority Ethnic Characters

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Children’s Books with Minority Ethnic Characters
A recent study by CLPE has shown that just 9% of children’s books published last year featured a main character from a minority ethnic background. Although the number is increasing over time, there still exists a major under-representation, considering that 33.9% of children of primary school age in England are from a minority ethnic background. To help schools and families balance the representation in their book collections and to accurately reflect the diverse experiences of all pupils, we’ve put together a list of recommended children’s books featuring Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and characters.

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Books with BAME characters for ages 3-7 (EYFS & KS1)

Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali
 & Hatem Aly

This is an absolutely beautiful book – one that is positive and empowering. In the author-illustrator team’s previous book The Proudest Blue, we saw the beautiful bond between sisters Faizah and Asiya and heard the supportive and uplifting words of their mother. In The Kindest Red we see this again throughout the story as we ponder the question posed by Faizah’s teacher, ‘What kind of world would you like to live in?’ A beautiful world? A strong world? A kind world?

Faizah and her friends spend the day showing acts of kindness and seeing them spread until the whole class is beaming. However, it’s school photo day and when it comes to her turn to step up with Asiya, she needs a small act of kindness herself which her friends gladly give. The central theme of ‘passing things on,’ between family members, and to friends and strangers, is beautifully woven through the story, along with the idea of sharing kindness with others. The author’s note beautifully links the theme to her faith too, causing the reader to think about the impact of our actions and behaviour on others around us.

Ken Wilson-Max

Inspired by his father’s passion for trees, Ken Wilson-Max’s picturebook is a delightful introduction to conservation and care for the natural environment.

Eve is lively and thoughtful, living at the edge of a big, old forest. She loves everything about it, the trees most of all, especially the Baobab, the African “tree of life”. On her birthday, Eve and her parents visit Grandma, deep in the forest, where she gets a magical surprise. Unwrapping the bark from around a parcel that Grandma has carried to a special place, she finds a Baobab seedling to plant and take care of. Following family tradition, it will grow next to the trees that her father, grandma and great-grandma nurtured, connecting her forever with the forest she loves.

The bold, rich colours used to illustrate the book joyfully conjure the heat, the vibrant flowers and the many shades of green to be found in the forest.

This is perfect to share with Early Years and Key Stage 1 classes to help young children understand that everyone can play their part in preserving the natural world. Facts about trees are included are at the end, providing a good starting point for finding out more.

Rashmi Sirdeshpande
 & Diane Ewen
What would happen if you showed a T-Rex a book? Well, she wouldn't know what to do with it . . . would she?A madcap, super silly adventure story rooted in the transformative power of books, created by incredible new picture-book duo Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Diane Ewen.
Hannah Lee
 & Allen Fatimaharan
Here is a story that everyone should know. It's the tale of a princess named Shiloh. She lived in a kingdom, not far from yours, in a grand house with a swimming pool and fourteen floors.I know that sounds too big but here's the thing: her mother and father were the Queen and King.Being a princess is a tough job for someone so small. It's even harder when you have a problem you can't solve at all. You see, every princess in the kingdom could sing. Yet Shiloh's voice could do no such thing...Shiloh might not be able to sing like her sisters, but she has other talents, and sometimes it's about embracing your differences and celebrating them!
Oti Mabuse
 & Samara Hardy
Dance yourself happy with the second, samba spectacular picture book by dancing superstar, Oti Mabuse. It's time for Oti's dance class! Join Oti and her class for their first dance show, and learn "The Lion Samba" in ten easy steps.The children are excited to return to dance class with Mrs Oti and waste no time preparing for their animal-themed dance show. Mrs Oti teaches them all about animal movements and how they can be used in their dance. From stomping like an elephant, stretching up high like a giraffe or even shaking your mane like a lion, there's so much fun to be had. But when disaster strikes on the day of the show, it seems like all of their hard work has been for nothing. Luckily for the children, Mrs Oti is on hand, and soon they realize that a little bit of courage can go a long way.Written by Strictly Come Dancing superstar, Oti Mabuse, this heartwarming picture book will dance into the hands of families who have loved watching Oti on-screen.

Thrity Umrigar
 & Nidhi Chanani
A beautiful celebration of Diwali for young children.Binny is excited to talk to her class about her favourite holiday. But she struggles to find the words.Taking a deep breath, she tells them about the fireworks, the delicious pedras and jalebis, and the clay lamps called diyas ... there are so many wonders to see!Her favourite holiday is the Hindu festival of lights called Diwali, and now that they know all about it, all her friends love it too!This brilliant picture book is a wonderful introduction to Diwali for little ones, wrapped within a story of sharing and acceptanceWith beautiful illustrations by Nidhi Chanani that bring the story of Diwali alive!Includes a spread on the story of Diwali and how it is celebrated
Nathan Bryon
 & Dapo Adeola
Join Rocket as she sets sail on a brand new mission - to save a Caribbean beach from plastic pollution! When Rocket goes on holiday to visit her grandparents, she's shocked by the pollution that's spoiling their island home and putting the local sea life at risk. Can she think of a way to save the day and bring the community together?
Anna McQuinn
 & Rosalind Beardshaw
Lulu is going to pre-school for the first time. She has visited school before with Mummy, but this time she will go on her own. She's excited, but a bit nervous. She gets dressed, packs her bag and makes sure she has her cat Dinah with her. When Lulu gets to school, she quickly settles and makes a friend with Mummy watching close by. When Mummy leaves, Lulu is nervous. Will she find the courage to head off to play again? And how will she feel when Mummy returns to pick her up?
Malorie Blackman
 & Dapo Adeola
A rip-roaring picture book adventure from superstar pairing Malorie Blackman and Dapo Adeola.Over the shimmering ocean, up the huge, high mountain, through the deep, dark forest . . . WE'RE GOING TO FIND THE MONSTER!Join two intrepid adventurers as their imaginations transform their house into a wild wonderland - and their big brother becomes a mighty monster. A joy to read-aloud with its cumulative refrain, and full of funny, relatable characters, this is a contemporary celebration of creativity, fantasy and family.Written by bestselling author of Noughts & Crosses , Malorie Blackman, this story was originally published as Marty Monster . This new version has been stunningly brought to life by the award-winning illustrator of Look Up! , Dapo Adeola.
Kat Zhang
 & Charlene Chua
Amy Wu does her best to make her new classmate feel welcome in this warmhearted and playfully illustrated follow-up picture book to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao and Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon .Amy's class has a new student from China! Amy tries hard to make Lin feel included, but she can't draw him out of his shell. Then she sees Lin chattering happily in Chinese with his family. The gears in her head start to turn, and a plan blossoms. Step one: invite Lin to her dumpling party...With a little help from her grandma and a shiny new banner, can Amy give Lin the warmest welcome?

Samuel Narh
 & Jo Loring-Fisher
As the seasons turn, Maisie rides her bull in and out of Dada's tall tales. Her Mama wears linen and plays the viola. Her Dada wears kente cloth and plays the marimba.They come from different places, but they hug her in the same way. And most of all, they love her just the same. A joyful celebration of a mixed-race family and the love that binds us all together.
Joseph Coelho
 & Allison Colpoys
A moving, lyrical picture book about a young girl's love for her granddad and how she copes when he's gone, written by poet and playwright Joseph Coelho. This beautifully illustrated, powerful and ultimately uplifting text is the ideal way to introduce children to the concept of death and dying, particularly children who have lost a grandparent. With Allison Colpoys ' gorgeous artwork spilling from each page, accompany a girl and her grandad over spring, summer and autumn. See how he teaches her to imagine, to create, and to enjoy the small things in life, and how, when winter comes, he lives on in her heart. The perfect way into talking about a difficult subject with children, showing that sadness is as necessary to happiness as winter is to spring. If All the World Were... is a soothing, reassuring approach to loss and how to live without someone you loved, and a beautiful story, beautifully told.
Gaia Cornwall
Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He's finished his swimming lessons and passed his swimming test, and he's a great jumper, so he's not scared at all. "Looks easy," says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board... In a sweet tale of overcoming your fears, debut author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall captures a moment at the swimming pool between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can't help but root for.
Nadia Shireen

We love opening Nadia Shireen’s picturebooks, as the illustrations and warm humour never fail to bring a smile to our faces. This adventure features Shireen’s popular character Billy and her trusty feline friend, Fatcat. The pair uncover a mysterious message in a bottle at sea and attempt to outwit a pesky pirate crew. Billy and Fatcat are no strangers to danger and as always they put to action their quick thinking and bravery to wiggle out of even the most perilous situation – whether it’s toffee-eating sharks, tricksy mermaids or pongy pirates.

There’ so much to love about these stories – pirates, adventure, bravery and plenty of giggles. The story balances action and suspense with humour and the characters are richly drawn. The book works as a standalone as well as part of the wider series, which we also recommend. This is a great ‘read it again’ choice for storytime with Year 2.

Michaela Dias-Hayes
The first in a two-book series that champions and empowers children of colour in beautifully simplistic ways. This book teached children how to mix colours, and how all three primary colours, mixed together, make beautiful brown.

Books with BAME characters for ages 7-9 (Lower KS2)

Gabrielle Shewhorak,Satish Shewhorak
Chapter book
I’m Rani Ramgoolam – roving reporter. And I think I’ve found the perfect story for the junior journalism competition run by the local paper. An eccentric millionaire has created a treasure hunt with a reward for the first person who figures out the clues.Luckily, my mischievous Nani is visiting from Mauritius. She’s promised to help me work out what a priceless painting, a minotaur and a glass eye have in common.“Murder, murder! Call the cops!” Oh, and that’s Cookie, my parrot. I’m not sure he’ll be much use.But the race is on and I’ll need all the help I can get. Especially when some people are resorting to sneaky tricks to get their hands on the prize…
Chitra Soundar
 & Amberin Huq
Sindhu and Jeet are the best detectives in town: they solve all their cases with a dollop of observation, a dash of imagination and a whole load of legwork. And when they travel from India to England for a holiday, the detective work doesn't stop! This page-turning story is accompanied by black-and-white illustrations by Amberin Huq.The Bloomsbury Readers series is packed with book-banded stories to get children reading independently in Key Stage 2 by award-winning authors like double Carnegie Medal winner Geraldine McCaughrean and Waterstones Prize winner Patrice Lawrence. With black-and-white illustrations and online guided reading notes written by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), this series is ideal for home and school. For more information visit
Onjali Q. Rauf
 & Pippa Curnick
Chapter book
Told with heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.He's nine years old (just like me), but he's very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn't like sweets - not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn't very strange at all. He's a refugee who's run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.That's where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we've come up with a plan. . .
Simon Philip
 & Sheena Dempsey
Chapter book
Originally published as Wizard Vs Lizard , get ready for a laugh-out-loud magical adventure from award-winni ng author Simon Philip and Sheena Dempsey, illustrator of the much-loved Dave Pigeon series! Fred may look ordinary, but sometimes people who look ordinary turn out to be not very ordinary at all ... because it just so happens that Fred is a Wizard! Sounds pretty great, right? Except that Fred is absolutely, completely, mind-boggingly TERRIBLE at magic. At school, he's stuck in a class of wizards half his age, feeling like a twit among tots. At home, he's endlessly teased by his siblings and always a disappointment to his parents. All Fred wants is to become a better wizard.... So when he hears about a competition to meet Merlin (yes, THE Merlin!) Fred knows it's his one chance to prove to his family that he's not the worst wizard in town. The catch? To win the competition he has to capture the tail of a terrifying, fire-breathing lizard...
Pooja Puri
 & Allen Fatimaharan
Chapter book
This brilliantly illustrated, laugh-out-loud, wacky adventure through time by Pooja Puri is the perfect blend of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Jurassic Park. Before you start reading, there are a few things you should know: 1. I, Esha Verma, am a genius inventor extraordinaire. 2. There is nothing I cannot invent. This includes words. 3. I did not mean to send my sister back to the Age of the Dinosaurs. That was HER OWN FAULT (Mum and Dad, if you're reading this, please take note). Esha Verma, her snotty apprentice Broccoli and his cunning pet tortoise have a dream. They are going to win the legendary Brain Trophy - the ultimate inventing prize. This year's entry: A TIME MACHINE. But the day before the competition, Esha's IGNORAMUS big sister hijacks the time machine and is lost in the Cretaceous age. With help from a new recruit for The Office of Time, Esha and Broccoli will have to face hungry dinosaurs, mysterious black holes and malfunctioning inventions to get them back in time.

Serena Patel
 & Emma McCann
Chapter book
2021 Teachers' Favourite: Upper KS2 Best Children's Favourite Our comments: "A love of science lies at the heart of this series and readers enjoy the authentic exploration of Anisha's Indian heritage, particularly around food and fashion. The illustrations reflect the story's humour and provide a high level of accessibility. Anisha is a superb STEM-loving role model who values truth, family and friendships, and readers across KS2 are quickly charmed by her detective adventures."
Chitra Soundar
 & Jen Khatun
Chapter book
Being a big sister to a new baby brings big responsibilities. Sona Sharma's house is full of people who joke often and argue sometimes. Relatives come unannounced, the phone rings frequently and friends drop in all the time. Then one day Amma tells Sona she is going to have a baby. Is that good? Sona isn't sure - she has always enjoyed being an only child - and straight away she has a word with her best friend, Elephant. When Sona learns that there will be a baby naming ceremony, she is determined to find the perfect name for her new brother or sister. Because although she realizes that her life is about to change, and while she's having some difficulty in coming to terms with having to share everything with the new baby - including Amma and Appa, her grandparents and her home - Sona Sharma wants to be the very best big sister she can be.
Sophie Deen
 & Anjan Sarkar
Chapter book

Agent Asha is a clever and engaging story that weaves computing knowledge – such as how the internet works and if/then logic – into the story. Asha is from an Indian family in Brent and her family are delighted when she visits the library – supposedly to study. Little do they know that she is actually getting involved in a secret spy mission! She triumphs in this secret mission with wit, intelligence and a little dash of disobedience.

Katie & Kevin Tsang
 & Amy Nguyen

The story of gadget-loving Suzie Wen, who finds herself on a laugh-out-loud adventure exploring space and who is ultimately tasked with saving the universe.

Full of illustrations and reader-friendly, short chapters, this book would be a great addition to a lower key stage 2 classroom as part of a class library. Easy to read and set in space, it is bound to be a popular book with children.

It is lovely to see the representation of a friendship that is not formed quickly or easily, with the characters overcoming jealousy and insecurity to work together. It provides great opportunities for discussion around this topic and the challenges friendships can pose or face.

It is also great to see the inclusion of scientific enquiry approaches – something that isn’t found very often in books for this age level. The book could support discussions in the classroom about fair testing and how to complete a scientific enquiry.

Malorie Blackman
Chapter book
Poor Fangs, the tarantula, is terribly lonely and bored with her life in the pet-shop. So when Nathan takes her home, she's more than excited about her new life. But before Nathan can introduce his new pet to his family, he's going to need her help to convince them that spiders aren't just creepy and crawly . . . They're beautiful and brave too! This funny story from the Children's Laureate, Malorie Blackman, is perfect for building confidence in young readers - whether reading aloud or reading alone.

Konnie Huq
In her third adventure, Cookie finds mysteries everywhere - but can she solve them, and save the science show?Hurray, Cookie's Nani is coming to stay from Bangladesh! But she doesn't speak English and Cookie is the only one in the family who doesn't speak Bengali. Luckily, science-mad Cookie realises that her coding lessons at school might help her crack the language code and help her bond with Nani.Other mysteries are harder to solve, though - like, why is Jake's mum acting so weird? Who is the mystery gamer who keeps levelling-up in Cookie's computer game? And who is the Woodburn Hacker, who keeps posting teachers' secrets on the school website? Why does it look like it might be Cookie herself?Can Cookie solve these mysteries, clear her name and save the science show?
Pip Bird
 & David O'Connell
Chapter book
Join the naughtiest unicorn for friendship, magic and mayhem in this hilarious series. Mira CAN'T WAIT to start Unicorn School. (Her big sister goes and won't stop going on about it). But when Mira arrives on her first day all the unicorns are gone ... except Dave!Dave isn't quite the sparkly magical unicorn Mira was expecting to find at the end of the rainbow - he's more grumpy than glittery, more interested in lunch than magical quests and he always runs off when Mira tries to ride him - but Mira's not going to let that get her down. Along with her new friends and their (much more glittery) unicorns, she is determined to be the best at Quests and protect the special unicorn world.
Zanib Mian
 & Kyan Cheng
Chapter book

Omar is a boy with a huge imagination that can land him in trouble. As well as being very funny, the stories tackle important issues like bullying and prejudice, with Omar’s diary-style entries covering the everyday ups and downs of life including Muslim traditions, school worries, friendships, family life and a big dose of toilet humour.

Read our Q&A with author Zanib Mian over on our blog.

Lucy Brandt
 & Gladys Jose
Chapter book

Leonora Bolt Secret Inventor is an entertaining STEM-themed narrative and a great story choice for Year 3 and above. The book follows a young female scientist named Leonora, who is passionate about creating new and ingenious inventions to solve the problems of those around her.  Gladys Jose’s illustrations enhance the storytelling experience, as does the good dose of humour woven through the narrative.

Leonora’s secret workshop serves as the backdrop for her endeavours, which become critical in her confrontations with her invention-stealing uncle. What follows is an imaginative adventure with quick-thinking Leonora using her STEM skills and natural wit to triumph.  Readers who love science and innovation will find this an engaging and entertaining storytime choice.

Sue Cheung
A madcap new story from Sue Cheung, winner of the Diverse Book Award, filled with belly-laughs and packed with drawings! Perfect for fans of Tom Gates and Sam Wu.Maddy Yip is perfectly happy in life, until she realises that everyone she knows has a talent - except for her! Maddy is determined to change that, with the help of her brothers, bewildered grandad and her best friend Dev. There are disastrous attempts at breakdancing and playing the recorder, revolting cakes, and a magic disappearing trick that ends up with an escaped guinea pig. Will Maddy ever find her true calling?

Books with BAME characters for ages 9-11 (Upper KS2)

Jeffrey Boakye
Chapter book
Kofi had an big lightning bolt of an idea that hit him like electricity. And all it needed was Kelvin's incredible memory for words.Kofi is used to stuff going wrong, he's usually in detention or about to be. But when he finds out his best friend Kelvin has a photographic memory, he comes up with a genius money-making scheme. The whole school is obsessed with music, no one can ever make out the words, so the boys hit the jackpot selling a new fanzine full of song lyrics: PAPER JAM. It's not long before one of the teacher's tells Kofi: 'You could be a real leader at this school, you know that?' and . . . suddenly it's turning out to be the best summer ever!
Patience Agbabi
Chapter book
FIGHT CRIME, ACROSS TIME! Leaplings, children born on the 29th of February, are very rare. Rarer still are Leaplings with The Gift - the ability to leap through time. Elle Bibi-Imbele Ifie has The Gift, but she's never used it. Until now. On her twelfth birthday, Elle and her best friend Big Ben travel to the Time Squad Centre in 2048. Elle has received a mysterious warning from the future. Other Leaplings are disappearing in time - and not everyone at the centre can be trusted. Soon Elle's adventure becomes more than a race through time. It's a race against time. She must fight to save the world as she knows it - before it ceases to exist...
Sita Brahmachari
Chapter book

Sita Brahmachari is in brilliant form as she weaves loss, past secrets and the need for trust through an anxious quest for securing a safe haven for all. A great, life-affirming story.

When Secrets Set Sail is the story of Usha and Imtiyaz, to young girls who find themselves forced together when Usha’s family adopts Imtiyaz. They are forced to make a new family at the time when Usha’s grandmother has just died and Imtiyaz’s foster mother is leaving to start a new life. Also, the house where they live, that also serves as a refugee centre, is under threat of being closed down.

The girls must learn to trust each other and become true sisters in order to save their home and the spirits of Usha’s grandmother and the legacy of the family. With the help of some ghosts from the past, family history and new friends, can the girls work together to make everything ok?

This book is a fascinating look at the beliefs about spirits who look after you and guide you when they are needed. The story also emphasises the importance of both local and family history and what it means to build new relationships well. I haven’t read a book that has stuck with me the way this one did, in a long time. Have the tissues at the ready when reading this one!

Lenny Henry
 & Keenon Ferrell
An ordinary kid is about to become an EXTRAORDINARY hero!Wings? Check. A super-cool, super-secret past? Check. An impossible mission to save the world from a fur-ocious enemy? Check.When Tunde sprouts wings and learns he's all that stands between Earth and total destruction, suddenly school is the least of his problems. Luckily, his rag-tag group of pals have got his back, and with his new powers, Tunde is ready to fly in the face of danger.So what if he can't even stand up to the school bully? He's the boy with wings - this is his destiny.No pressure then...
Humza Arshad,Henry White
 & Aleksei Bitskoff
Chapter book
Time for another Little Badman adventure. This time, Humza, Umer and Wendy must face . . . THE UNDEAD.Welcome to Big School.Humza Khan - aka Little Badman, Eggington's greatest rapper - might have finally met his match.Evil teacher geniuses and giant killer hamsters (see previous Little Badman adventures for details) are nothing compared to starting a new school.He's already been out rap-battled by the school bully, laughed at by his classmates. Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the ancient magical orb causing havoc and very possibly leading to world destruction.At least Humza has found someone to help with his homework. It's just a shame this friend isn't exactly . . . alive.

Renée Watson
 & Mechal Roe
Chapter book
Ryan Hart and her family live in Portland, Oregon, and her dad lost his job a while ago. He finally got a new one, but it pays less, and he'll have to work nights. And so they're selling the second car and moving to an (old) new house. The Harts are an everyfamily - a family with siblings who bicker, parents who don't always get it right, but a family that loves. A family working hard to make it in tough economic times, a family with traditions and culture, a family that tries new things. This is a black family growing up in middle class America.And Ryan is a girl who has much on her mind - school, family, friends, self-image - but who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. Packed with humour and heart alongside meaningful and thoughtful moments, Ryan Hart is the character everyone will want to be best friends with.
Roopa Farooki
Twins Ali and Tulip have grown up with a surgeon mother and so have picked up lots of knowledge of first aid, medicine, and the ways of the hospital-they even know where the secret biscuit drawer in A&E is. When their mother becomes unnaturally sleepy and forgetful, they become suspicious of her new boyfriend. With help-and a watchful eye-from their mysterious wheelchair-bound gran, they set out to crack the mystery. Will they succeed? They'll need a combination of fast talking, quick thinking, rule breaking, medical investigation, and determination-plus a good dash of 'that spooky twin thing'-to cure this crime. A fun fresh take on the detective genre, full of excitement, humour, and medical know-how!
Jason Reynolds
 & Raúl the Third
Chapter book

Portico Reeves lives in a huge apartment block, ‘the castle’, with his parents, who row constantly. To escape the tension and trauma of their Mean Time, Portico leaps into his own super-secret, superhero world. With a kind of rap, rhythm and rhyme, Stuntboy Portico and his friends navigate a world away from the stresses of home life, to keep each other, and their castle mates, safe.

But superhero responsibilities come with added anxieties of their own, or ‘frets’ as Portico knows them and like all superheroes, Portico has to deal with put-downs from his nemesis – in this case Herbert Singletary the Worst.

Words alone don’t do this book justice – grab a copy and explore inside! The style and presentation are perfect for engaging readers and holding attention. There’s a lot to look at and take in via Raul the Third’s brilliant illustrations, comic strips and speech bubbles – each page is different. The effect is a fast-paced, upbeat story that is fun to read while tackling heavier themes.

E. L. Norry
Chapter book

Son of the Circus: A Victorian Story, tells the story of Ted, the mixed-race son of Pablo Fanque (the first recorded black circus owner in Britain) and his introduction to life with the circus. This exciting story explores racial prejudice in the Victorian period as well as the culture and history of the circus.

The story is engagingly written and the struggles of the main character feel real as his story develops. The fact that Pablo’s struggles and tribulations were true makes the story even more emotive.

The book raises lots of questions and teaching points. The idea that a son was expected to continue a family trade (and the pressure that may bring), the way different races were viewed and treated in the past and the choices children get to make (or not make) as they are forced to move and change. The story would appeal to readers interested in historical stories and the links with the Greatest Showman may make it accessible to those who would not immediately choose it from the shelf.

This is a gripping adventure that examines attitudes to race in the Victorian period.

Nizrana Farook
Chapter book

An exciting middle-grade adventure from Nizrana Farook filled with atmosphere, suspense and adventure with elements of Robin Hood and Arabian Nights.
Set in the dazzling landscapes of Sri Lanka, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant is the story of a girl called Chaya and her friends Neel and Nour. Quick-fingered Chaya is a young version of Robin Hood; she steals from the rich to help the poor in her village. However, when she steals the Queen’s jewels, things begin to go horribly wrong. Not only does she put herself in grave danger, but her actions also bring harm to her best friend Neel and the people of her village…

BB Alston
Chapter book
Amari Peters knows three things.Her big brother Quinton has gone missing. No one will talk about it. His mysterious job holds the secret...So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she's certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real , and her roommate is a weredragon.Amari must compete against kids who've known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent - one that the Bureau views as dangerous.With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn't pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton ...
Aisha Bushby
Chapter book
A magical middle grade book about family, friendship and finding out who you are, full of emotion and a secret fantasy world to discover. Perfect for 10 year olds and fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Ross Welford, Kiran Millwood-Hargrave and The House with Chicken Legs. From a rising star of children's books.This place is magic ... but it's not the sort of magic that comes from wands and spells ...Can piecing together the past help you change the present?Safiya and her mum have never seen eye to eye. Her mum doesn't understand Safiya's love of gaming and Safiya doesn't think they have anything in common. As Safiya struggles to fit in at school she wonders if her mum wishes she was more like her confident best friend Elle. But then her mum falls into a coma and, when Safiya waits by her bedside, she finds herself in a strange and magical world that looks a bit like one of her games. And there's a rebellious teenage girl, with a secret, who looks suspiciously familiar ...
Sharna Jackson
A sharp, funny middle grade adventure with themes of real-life activism and how to help others for fans of The Goonies and The London Eye Mystery .Josephine Williams is a future-focused, internet-loving eleven-year-old who is desperate to explore the world beyond her cul-de-sac - and her browser.When she learns about Josephine Holloway - a woman who started the first Girl Scout Troop for Black girls in America - she's certain she must start her own.Enlisting her friends Margot Anderson and Wesley Evans, the trio begin their quest for their Camping Badge. Drawn to an abandoned factory nearby, they stumble across something strange. A square, ancient television and two tatty armchairs. Beside it, a wooden sideboard with an old photograph of a young, happy couple.What is this? Who, or what, lives here - and why?
Maisie Chan
Twelve-year-old Lizzie Chu lives in Glasgow with her grandad Wai Gong, and he's been acting a little strange lately. He is becoming forgetful, and spends a lot of time talking to his statue of Guan Yin - the Chinese goddess of compassion, kindness and mercy. Lizzie is worried about Wai Gong, but doesn't really know what to do to help him. She's already got a lot on her plate with caring for him, doing the shopping and everything else on top of schoolwork and the usual trials of being twelve!Then Lizzie comes up with a madcap plan. She's going to take Wai Gong on the trip of a lifetime, to Blackpool - to the Tower Ballroom, where he always longed to go, to dance with his late wife Grandma Kam. To rekindle that love for dancing and to see if Wai Gong can find his mojo again. The only problem is - just how on earth is she going to get him there? With a little help from her friends Chi and Tyler, some ingenious costumes and an older brother with a beat-up Mini, Lizzie might just make it - and maybe she will be able to help Wai Gong get better after all?A warmhearted, funny, intergenerational story for fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce and Benjamin Dean
Patrice Lawrence
A stunningly imagined, action-packed fantasy adventure for fans of Nevermoor, Neverwhere and Mortal Engines, from bestselling and award-winning author Patrice Lawrence. Step into a London lit up by the Elemental spirits: the fiery Dragons, the airy Fumis, the watery Chads and the earthbound Magogs.But humans have been causing chaos for centuries, trampling through the landscape trailing noise, mess and pollution. What if the Elements could slow down this new world... or stop it all together?The revenge-fuelled Shepherdess, who moves between the everyday and the supernatural London worlds, is the perfect weapon. She brings a sleeping sickness down on the city with the destruction of society in her sights.Marisee and Robert are the Elemental Detectives chasing the clues to avoid catastrophe: they must face the ghosts of Hyde Park, the monstrous coiled snake of the Serpentine, and a whole host of other fantastical creatures in their mission to stop the Shepherdess and prevent London slumbering for all eternity...Big, bold, future classic storytelling for a new generation.A London where magic sparks just beneath the surface - this book is set to ignite young imaginations.The page-turning, empowering, heart-racing first book in a major new series.

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Stone Girl Bone Girl


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