BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Young, Gifted and Black
Author: Jamia Wilson & Andrea Pippins
Publisher: Wide-Eyed Editions
Publication Date: Feb 2018
Suitable For: KS1 & KS2
This is an eye-catching anthology that celebrates the inspirational achievements of fifty-two trailblazing black women and men, including artists, sports legends, scientists and activists among many others. In the introduction, the author notes that “all children deserve to see themselves represented positively in stories. That’s why we’re highlighting the talent and contributions of black changemakers from around the world—for readers of all backgrounds to discover.”
Each page contains a short biography of an influential figure, perfectly accessible in language and length to suit primary-aged children. The text on each page is set against a brightly-coloured background containing a dynamic portrait of the featured individual, accentuated by colours and patterns – such as crowns and stars – that add to the celebratory feel of the book.
Many of the biographies mention, without being militant, ways in which each figure overcame prejudice and followed their dreams. Most also include an insightful quotation from each figure, helping readers to empathise with the motivation that drove the accomplishments of each man or woman. We enjoyed finding out, for example, about American congresswoman Shirley Crisholm, who started her own debate club in college after the existing one had barred black people, asserting that “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Equally interesting is the story of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an author who reflects that discovering books by African authors brought about the realisation that “people who looked like me could live in books.” She went on become an award-winning author whose influential writing about equality has been translated into 30 different languages.
Here at BooksForTopics HQ we couldn’t agree more with the authors of ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ that all children deserve to see themselves positively represented in books. This important text would make a superb addition to primary school libraries and is suitable for use across both Key Stages.
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Thank you to the publisher for kindly providing a review copy of this text.