How this school is getting ready for a virtual author visit with Jeffrey Boakye

Published on: 26 October 2022

Have you signed up for our virtual author visit with Jeffrey Boakye on 4 November yet? Here's how one school is getting ready for the big day...

Over here at Tudor Grange Samworth Academy we have been busy preparing for our virtual author event with Jeffrey Boakye. Together, we’ve read his book Musical Truth, which explores modern Black British history through 28 songs. We bought his book through BookTrust, and BookTrust have provided resources, including activity sheets and a playlist linked to his book.

Inspired by this, our year 5, 6 and 7 classes were all tasked with creating a playlist using significant moments in their lives. We explored how music can help mark important events in our lives and how it can bring people from all races, ages and cultures together. When the children were asked for a memorable moment in their lives alongside a song, the range of musical genres we received in response was extraordinary. Some children chose pop music such as Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish, another child picked 'For Those About to Rock' by AC/DC, whilst others chose hymns such as 'Abide by Me' and 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'. Other musicians mentioned included Bob Marley, Mozart, Tina Turner and Beyoncé. Geographically, the music that our children picked came from all over the world. Traditional hymns and nursery rhymes, along with more modern music, were included from places such as Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, India, Italy and Germany.

Our pupils explored how music can connect to the emotions and picked a range of upbeat music (from all genres) when thinking about times in their lives they have been happy.

The children discussed their birthday parties, weddings they have attended and religious festivals they participate in throughout the year all through the lens of the music that was playing at those times. Interestingly, some of the children use music in a therapeutic way. A few children stated that they listen to a slow, sad song if they feel the need to have a cry. One child said that “music can help you let go of what you’re feeling. If I have a tough day, I can cry to my sad song and then I feel better after.” We spent some time talking about how music can connect us to our own emotions and to the other people around us. All the children agreed that music was a great way to bond with others – one child astutely commented that “that’s why we have first dances at weddings. Music helps to show our love and means we connect together.”

Alongside looking at some of the history of Black music in Britain, year 6 were lucky enough to explore Black history through art too.

Our year 6 participants were treated to an Art workshop after school in which they painted African masks in the traditional dotted style whilst listening to some of their favourite songs. The students got really creative with this, and we had a fabulous array of very different masks come the end of the session!

Year 7 attended a music lesson structured around using traditionally African instruments in their work. Our year 7s tried their hands at the bongos, the steel pan drums, congas, maracas and the xylophone. The children were asked what kind of instruments they would use if they could make their own national anthem and the responses were varied – from violins to keyboards, DJ decks to flutes.

Our children are so excited to participate in Booktrust’s new author event with Jeffrey Boakye, they can’t wait to meet him and ask him their questions. Roll on November 4th!

Sign up for Jeffrey's virtual author visit here

Read our review of Musical Truth

Jeffrey Boakye's Nine Essential Books on Black British History

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BookTrust Represents has been created to promote and improve the representation of people of colour in children’s books.

It is important that all children have the opportunity to read a diverse range of books where they and their communities are represented.

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