Bringing Reading to Life with BookTrust Represents

Each term, BookTrust Represents hosts a virtual author school event with some of the UK's leading authors and illustrators of colour. We bring inspiring stories from emerging and established authors and illustrators into the classroom. Schools across England receive the free opportunity to engage with an author and every child in a participating year group receives a free book to keep.

Pupils at St Paul's C of E Primary School in NewcastlePupils at a primary school in Newcastle

Year 6 students from a primary school in Newcastle and their teacher Nicola Nichol share their experience of a virtual event with author and BookTrust Writer in Residence Onjali Q. Raúf.

Nicola Nichol, Year 6 Teacher and Head of English: 

“I am happy to say the children were so moved by the book that they wanted to do something of their own to help so we held a clothes collection point in our class and sent 15 bags of clothes, shoes etc to help Syrian refugees. I was so proud that children who have so little themselves still wanted to send to those that have even less, it was very moving.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that was involved in this event. To you it may seem like simply an opportunity for the children to listen to an author but for the children in my class (93% of which have English as their second or third language) it was truly inspiring. Our school is situated in one of the most deprived areas in the country and it is vital for these children to be inspired and encouraged to aim high. So, to see someone not only from Newcastle but with a similar culture to some of them was fantastic!

The day the box of books arrived was like Christmas, the children were so grateful and excited they didn't want to let go of them, some of the class have even kept their copy in their tray at school because it is a safe place!”

Year 6 class testimonials

“We really enjoyed the session with Onjali and would recommend it to other schools for sure. We were so surprised and excited when we were given a book to keep!”

“I found the session very enjoyable as it inspired me to continue to help refugees and homeless people when I can.” 

“I enjoyed the talk as it encouraged me to be a better person and think about who I can help.”

“I found Onjali’s book ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ interesting and the ending really gave me a surprise.” 

“It inspired me to try and help homeless people and refugees. When I see homeless people, I ask my Dad if we can help them.”  

“I am inspired to help homeless people when I’m older because Onjali told us about Thomas and how she gave him small things and it made a difference – even a smile can help.”  

“I like that all of Onjali’s books are linked to true life stories.” 

If you're a teacher or school librarian, find out how you can get involved in an author event here.

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