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British Values

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British Values Booklist

Since November 2014, the DfE and Ofsted are asking schools to demonstrate that they are promoting British Values, specifically the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We recommend some key books for your classrooms that help to promote these values.

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Books about British Values: Democracy

DK and Andrew Marr
Non-fiction
All About Politics is a children's information text about how the political system works in the UK. Find out how different systems and beliefs have developed, what modern democracy looks like, how laws are made and what happens behind the scenes in parliament. This book answers big questions through clear explanatory text and bright, appealing graphics. We particularly like the way that All About Politics explains how children can have their voices heard and get involved in politics.
Jacqueline Wilson
 & Nick Sharratt
Chapter book
Fiction meets political history in this gripping and moving story from popular author Jacqueline Wilson. When Opal's father is sent to prison, Opal must start work at the Fairy Glen sweet factory instead of following her dreams of going to university. But when Opal meets the legendary Mrs Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes, she gains a growing awareness of just how far these women will go to pursue their democratic rights. Set during a significant turning point of British history when the Votes for Women movement was gaining traction and WW1 was about to begin, Opal Plumstead is an important book that offers an insight into how the suffrage movement helped to shape British democracy and one that carries a powerful message about fighting for what you believe in.
Tom McLaughlin
Chapter book

This is a popular and funny story about one boy’s unexpected rise to power. When Joe tells a local news reporter exactly what he would do if he were in charge of the country, his video goes viral all over the world. Soon, people are calling for the current leader to resign and before long Joe ends up with the most extraordinary new job. The Accidental Prime Minister is a big hit with KS2 and a great springboard for helping pupils to reflect on the responsibility of leaders in democracies like the UK. You may also like The Accidental President by the same author.

Eleanor Levenson
 & Marek Jagucki
Picturebook
This is an engaging picture book that explains what an election is and how the voting system works. Alex's family supports the party with stripes on their posters whereas Evie's family backs the party with spotty posters. But whoever wins the election, Alex and Evie will remain friends. With backing from elected representatives of all major political parties, The Election is an essential tool for learning about modern democracy in the UK.
Andrea Beaty
 & David Roberts
Picturebook

A new rhyming picture book from the popular Questioneers series (popular for Rosie Revere, Engineer & Iggy Peck, Architect). Sofia Valdez is a Mexican-American girl who campaigns for improvements in her local area, showing the difference that individual voices can make when they engage and get involved with their communities.


Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Cate James
Chapter book
Ted thinks there’s something fishy going on. Ever since his birthday when he got a special loyalty card at the local shop, all his great ideas are being thought of by the new Prime Minister too. Now there’s laws about walking to school and everyone has Mondays off! Could the shop’s market research lady have anything to do with it? And if Ted has become a Leader, shouldn’t he start thinking up proper laws to save the world...A hilarious comedy caper from Frank Cottrell-Boyce, now in a format particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+.
Trygve Skaug
 & Ella Okstad
Picturebook

‘If I were Prime Minister…’ is a feel-good story which looks at how our country is run through the eyes of a kind, thoughtful and playful child.

The story follows a young child’s imagination and their desires for the community and country that they live in. They go through numerous wishes including changing the sea to water that swallows plastic, making sure everyone has at least two friends, that every garden has a swimming pool and that woolly jumpers would not feel itchy. The real question is, ‘What would you do if you were Prime Minister or Team Captain?’

This feel-good picture book is a beautifully illustrated story which gets the reader thinking about what they would change if they were in charge. It covers major socio-political themes including the environment, education and immigration in a child-friendly way. The designs of the pages are playful and eye-catching with an easy-to-read font with the words strewn around pictures, making it fun to read and keeping big themes light-hearted to encourage creative and imaginative thinking.

My favourite line in the book is ‘Because playing is for everyone, even the people who have forgotten how.’ The story made me stop and think as an adult and see the world through a child’s eyes, which is a lovely thing. I would recommend this book for all ages, as it could be used in so many ways: reading for pleasure, a stimulus for a writing piece or even a prequel tale before a class debate.

Books about British Values: Rule of Law

Jennifer Gray and Mark Ecob
Chapter book
This is an award-winning book that has proved to be a big hit with lower KS2. When Atticus, the world's greatest cat burglar, receives an intriguing message inviting him to a meeting, he packs his bags and sets off. The writer of the mysterious message turns out to be Jimmy the Magpie, infamous leader of a criminal gang. Jimmy challenges Atticus to steal every jewel in town, a criminal act that will leave the humans completely baffled. But when Atticus moves in with a police inspector's family, he starts to wonder whether a life of crime is really for him. Exciting, fast-paced and full of humour, Atticus Claw Breaks the Law is a great story to read aloud at story time.
Anne Fine
Chapter book

This is a powerful story exploring the question of how children can turn into criminals. Tulip, who has experienced deep cruelty at home, makes herself unpopular by skiving school, back talking the teachers and telling awful lies. Drawn in by Tulip’s strange actions, a girl called Natalie witnesses Tulip becoming increasingly sinister and wonders exactly how far Tulip will go. This is a mesmerising book that grapples with sensitive and complex issues and is most suitable for upper KS2 classes ready to handle tough topics.

Sue Graves
 & Desideria Guicciardini
Picturebook
Clearly presented for EYFS and KS1, this book introduces young children to the importance of rules. But Why Can't I? contains a fictional story supported by suggestions for activities and ideas to discuss, as well as a wordless storyboard that encourages children to tell the story in their own words. George thinks rules are silly, but when he refuses to stick to the rules he finds that it makes playing dangerous and no longer fun. George learns that rules are important for keeping everybody safe and happy.

Books about British Values: Individual Liberty

Marcia Williams
Graphic Novel
From the heroes familiar to everyone, such as Malala Yousafzai, to the amazing activists you might not have heard of, like Baruani Ndume, the teenager who gave a voice to fellow refugee children in Tanzania, discover the incredible true stories of child activists. An inspirational and moving book from beloved author-illustrator Marcia Williams, providing the perfect introduction to an important subject and marking 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed by the United Nations General Assembly.
Gillian Cross
Chapter book
When Dinah starts at a new school, she finds that all the children are too well-behaved, apart from a handful including Lloyd and Harvey. Most of the pupils follow the headmaster's rules to the letter and they seem more like robots than individuals with their own personalities. Soon Dinah and her friends discover the headmaster's wicked plan to take over the whole country. The Demon Headmaster has proven popular in the classroom for over three decades and provides a good starting point for discussing how a school or society would look without the liberty to be individuals.
David Walliams
 & Quentin Blake
Chapter book
From the hugely popular David Walliams, Mr Stink is a funny and thought-provoking story about giving individuals the chance to show you who they are without prejudging them. Chloe befriends Mr Stink, a local tramp with a bad smell and a big appetite for sausages. But when it looks as though Mr Stink might be driven out of town, Chloe decides to hide him in the garden shed. As she gets to know Mr Stink, Chloe discovers that there can sometimes be a lot more to people than first meets the eye and that there are ways that individuals can use their own personal freedoms and resources in order to help others.
Armin Greder
This is a powerful picture book suitable for upper KS2. When the inhabitants of an island discover a naked man and his tattered raft washed up on their beach, they are reluctant to take him in because he seems so vastly different. The islanders refuse to give the man a job or treat him as their equal. As their fear and hatred grow and grow, the islanders eventually send the man to death, opting to turn their island into a stark fortress where strangers are not accepted. The Island is a captivating story that serves as a good starting point for discussions about prejudice and how a society can be shaped by the way it deals with people who have physical, spiritual or cultural differences.
Chris Riddell and Amnesty International
Picturebook

This is an inspiring picture book by Chris Riddell, former Children’s Laureate. It contains drawings that encapsulate the freedoms and liberties people enjoy every day in Britain, but often take for granted. Each freedom is taken from the Human Rights Act and simplified as: life, protection, freedom, safety, fairness, justice, family, belief, thought, togetherness, love, solidarity, ownership, knowledge, hope and mercy. My Little Book of Big Freedoms is an excellent stimulus for the whole primary age range to reflect on the everyday liberties and protections that we often take for granted.


Jake Hope (Editor)
 & Ruthine Burton,Habiba Nabisubi,Chih-An Chen
Short story collection

Our Rights is a collection of stories and poems about children’s rights in accessible short stories and poetry by twenty-three, many very well known, writers. Each short story or poem is preceded by one of the Children’s Rights from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, giving a sneak precious of what themes will be explored. The illustrations throughout the book are in a variety of styles and compliment each section beautifully.

This book is excellent to dip in-and-out-of and each section leads to discussion and deeper thinking about children’s rights; this is a must-have for all Year 5 and Year 6 classrooms. The themes can be sensitive and some are more suitable for UKS2, although many parts of the book would be suitable for younger readers too. At the end of the book, are the Children’s Rights listed before giving the read information about Amnesty International. The texts are easy to read and immerses the reader straight in- I read this in two sittings!

Reza Dalvand
Non-fiction

I have the right is the perfect companion text to any KS1 lesson around the ‘Rights of the Child’. It simply states an affirmation on each two page spread and illustrates this with a bright, bold and powerful image which is ideal to share and discuss with a class.

Although the images appear to be quite simple in style and contain as many adults in parts as children, Reza Dalvand’s illustrations captivate and draw your attention directly towards the child or children in each image; challenging you to see things from their perspective. A perfect example of this is ‘I have the right to be protected from violence’. There are adults fighting and shouting in three corners of the page but in the bottom right hand corner is a father with a child and both are looking attentively at one another as if the dad is shielding the baby from what is happening around them. You can almost feel the love and protection flowing between them.

The book does not shy away from some of the more challenging parts of the UN Convention; for example, there are two pages which are predominantly orange and have black smoke rising from (what we can assume to be) recently bombed buildings with a line of children raising white flags to illustrate ‘I have the right not to be forced to fight wars’. It is also equally filled with such joy and care, ending with the most important of all the affirmations; I have the right to be loved.

This book is suitable to have as a part of a KS1 or KS2 PSHE library and could certainly be used as a stimulus for discussion in EYFS as well.

Books about British Values: Mutual Respect & Tolerance

Tom McLaughlin
Picturebook
Reds love being red. Yellows love being yellow. And Blues love being blue. The problem is that they just don’t like each other.But one day, along comes a different colour who likes Reds, Yellows and Blues, and suddenly everything starts to change.Maybe being different doesn’t mean you can’t be friends ...A very special picture book that supports the adage that there is more that unites us than divides us. Along Came a Different just goes to show how much better we can all be when we come together to find common ground as friends. Every bookshelf should have a copy.
Stella J Jones
 & Carmen Saldaña
Picturebook
Badgers are best. Or so Badger thinks. "If it's not black and white then it's just not right!" he says. But what if he's wrong?A book about acceptance, difference and learning to say sorry.
Medeia Cohan-Petrolino
 & Sarah Walsh
Non-fiction
This book is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the shared custom of head covering. Using accurate terminology and brightly coloured imagery, Hats of Faith helps educate and prepare young children for our culturally diverse modern world. Encouraging an early and open dialogue between parents and children.
David McKee
Picturebook
Two Monsters, a fun picture book by the creator of Not Now Bernard, is an important story about learning to respect other people's viewpoints. Two monsters that live on either side of a mountain can hear each other but not see each other. One day they argue about whether day is departing or night is arriving. As their argument gets out of hand, they throw rocks and destroy their mountain until finally they are able to respect each other's point of view and live peacefully together.
Alexandra Penfold
 & Suzanne Kaufman
Picturebook

A simple but powerful rhyming picture book that shines a light on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the classroom.

Right from its opening lines, “Pencils sharpened in their case, Bells are ringing, let’s make haste, School’s beginning, dreams to chase. All are welcome here,” the book exudes an essence of acceptance and unity that strikes a chord as pupils settle into the culture of their new class. The book uses the format of a school day to show how different classmates are equally included, and the repeated refrain of ‘All Are Welcome Here‘ is one that classes could easily adopt as their own motto.

For any school or teacher committed to diversity and inclusion, this is an essential book with a clear message elegantly conveyed through the journey of a group of children as they navigate a day at their school, where the very essence of seeking to make every individual welcome is the thread the runs through all of the pages. Each double page spread comes alive with vibrant depictions of children donning different cultural clothing, all engaged harmoniously in activities in an environment that is intentionally inclusive. This portrayal of a school thriving on shared learning from one another’s traditions is both heartening and thought-provoking.


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