10 must-read children's books by Black authors and illustrators, chosen by Sharna Jackson
Published on: 09 August 2021 Author: Sharna Jackson
We're so excited to have teamed up with Knights Of and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) to produce Happy Here - a brilliant new anthology of stories from Black British authors and illustrators with an introduction by High-Rise Mystery and Mic Drop author Sharna Jackson. Here, Sharna shares her top ten recommended reads for children.
The cover of Happy Here and author Sharna Jackson
Hey You! by Dapo Adeola
Dapo and eighteen other illustrators have created an incredibly heartfelt book celebrating growing up Black.
Illustration from Hey You! by Dapo Adeola
Amber Undercover by Em Norry
Amber smashes an Escape Room experience, then finds herself part of The Agency. A fast-paced and funny book.
Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence
A girl follows eight clues to find her missing step-sister. This is such a thrilling mystery with compelling characters.
Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max
The cutest book about a young girl called Astrid who dreams of the stars and sky.
Illustration from Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
This novel told in verse is a brilliant book about a boy understanding who he is and his place in the world.
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
An absolute classic which imagines what might have happened if Africa had colonised Europe, rather than the other way around.
Illustration from Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle
Cane Warriors follows Moa, a young boy who fights for his freedom on a plantation in eighteenth century Jamaica. This historical novel is based on a true story.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Gossip Girl meets Get Out, this book is just incredible.
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba
Femi’s book comes out mid-August, and is going to be a Netflix film. Excited is an understatement!
Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard
Half-British Jamaican, half Greek God, Helen moves to London with her father Zeus and hilarity (and trouble) ensues.
About Sharna Jackson
Sharna Jackson is an author and Artistic Director who specialises in developing and delivering socially-engaged digital initiatives for children and young people across culture, publishing and entertainment.
Sharna has written five books including Tate Kids British Art Activity Book, Tate Kids Modern Art Activity Book and High Rise Mystery - the first in a middle-grade series featuring the sibling detective duo everyone’s dying to meet. She has written the introduction to Happy Here: 10 Stories from Black Authors and Illustrators, published by Knights Of.
About Happy Here
Happy Here is an exciting new book published by Knights Of for primary school aged children featuring inspiring stories from emerging and established black British authors and illustrators. The book is part of a partnership between BookTrust and CLPE to support teachers to shift teaching practice by bringing representation and inclusive stories into the classroom.
BookTrust and CLPE are sending every primary school in England a free copy of Happy Here in September, as well as a beautiful poster designed by Anjan Sarkar to put up in your school - they will all be automatically sent to your school's headteacher. We are also offering all schools the opportunity to register to join a free online author event for years 5, 6 and 7.