BookTrust Represents, Knights Of and CLPE unveil new Black British anthology Happy Here

Published on: 28 January 2021

Every primary school in England will receive a copy of this exciting new collection of stories and poems for young readers.

BookTrust has teamed up with the inclusive publisher Knights Of and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) to produce a brilliant new anthology of stories from Black British authors and illustrators including Patrice Lawrence, Joseph Coelho, Onyinye Iwu and Selom Sunu.

Happy Here, which is introduced by High Rise Mystery author Sharna Jackson, pairs ten Black writers and ten Black illustrators for stories and poems covering themes of joy, home and family.

It will be published by Knights Of on 5 August 2021, while BookTrust will send a copy to every primary school in England along with free curriculum resources in partnership with CLPE.

The charity will also sponsor author visits to support the book and a programme of ongoing professional development for teachers.

'Happy Here is going to thrill and inspire children in families and schools across the country and we want to make sure it is read by thousands of children,' said BookTrust's Director of Children's Books Jill Coleman.

'We are proud to be working with Knights Of and CLPE as part of our effort to drive a long term, sustainable increase in the diversity of voices published in children's literature.'

Redressing the imbalance

BookTrust Represents' interim research was published in 2020, highlighting the under-representation of children's authors and illustrators of colour, while CLPE's Reflecting Realities Survey of Ethnic Representation Within UK Children's Literature found under-representation of minority ethnic characters in children's books.

Now, the two organisations want to work with Knights Of to help directly redress the imbalance and ensure that children can see themselves reflected in the books and authors they read.

'Being able to commission work that has no motive other than to amplify, uplift and celebrate what it means to exist in the UK today as Black British is liberating for our team,' said Knights Of co-founder Aimée Felone.

'Each and every author and illustrator has focused not on the trauma or hardship of their existence, which is too often highlighted in children's fiction, but the experience and possibility of happiness for their characters.

'Working alongside BookTrust and CLPE, organisations committed to equipping children, parents, teachers and librarians across England with books to increase literacy, learning and understanding has been inspiring. As partners on Happy Here, it is encouraging to know that these stories and resources will reach children everywhere.'

And CLPE's Chief Executive Louise John's-Shepherd added: 'We are so pleased to be working together with our colleagues at BookTrust and Knights Of to bring new stories, characters and settings to children in classrooms across the country and to be part of a brilliant partnership that supports real, meaningful and continued change for the creators of today and the readers of tomorrow.'

The authors and illustrators included in Happy Here are:

  • Dean Atta
  • Joseph Coelho
  • Kereen Getten
  • Patrice Lawrence
  • Theresa Lola
  • E.L. Norry
  • Jasmine Richards
  • Alexandra Sheppard
  • Yomi Sode
  • Clare Weze
  • Olivia Twist
  • Selom Sunu
  • Camilla Ru
  • Dorcas
  • Mo Fadera
  • Chanté Timothy
  • Wumi 'Wumzum' Olaosebikan
  • Onyinye Iwu
  • Lucy Farfort
  • Willkay

Download the full press release

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BookTrust Represents

Our project promotes and supports children’s authors and illustrators of colour, so young readers find the books that represent them.

Learn more about BookTrust Represents