Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Racism

Ellie Pillai is Brown

Ellie Pillai is Brown

Author: Christine Pillainayagam Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.

Debut Books of the Month
The Taking of Jake Livingston

The Taking of Jake Livingston

Author: Ryan Douglass Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Powerfully applying the horror genre to explore racism and homophobia in a high school setting, Ryan Douglass’ The Taking of Jake Livingston is an un-put-down-able, chilling tale for our times. Sixteen-year-old Jake isn’t exactly your average teenager. He’s a medium, he can see the dead. Ghouls and zombie-like beings appear to him, ectomist seeps into his vision, “snakelike and sinister”. Jake is also one of the few black students at his private high school: “I hate it here. Every time we run warm-ups it’s like there’s a BLACK KID sign blinking above my head like a firetruck light”. As a result, the arrival of a gorgeous new black student is especially welcome, and brings the promise of romance. But Jake’s visions are worsening, to say the least. While most of the ghouls he sees are harmless, Sawyer Doon’s spirit is vengeful. After killing six students in a high school shoot-out, Sawyer killed himself, and is now set on using Jake to exact revenge. As an intense and chilling story of survival unfolds at breakneck speed, The Taking of Jake Livingston balances edge-of-your-seat scares and action with emotionally engaging themes.

Grown: The Black Girls' Guide to Glowing Up

Grown: The Black Girls' Guide to Glowing Up

Author: Melissa Cummings-Quarry & Natalie A Carter Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2021

The authors of this excellent book have been friends since school and the book grew out of their own experiences of life as teenagers, the things they wish they’d known or been told. They write as if they are addressing younger sisters, recognising the extra challenges their readers will face growing up as Black girls, and that makes this an extraordinarily direct, authentic and empowering guide. There are chapters on subjects such as identity, friendship and understanding your body, as well as on hair, make-up and feeling your best, plus an excellent section on managing your finances. Quotes, anecdotes and advice from other influential Black women is included too, making the book even more effective and inspiring, and establishing a wider sense of community. “My wish is that this book can be the safe space you turn to when you need inspiration or comfort” says Natalie A. Carter in her introduction and the book is all that, and more.

First Questions and Answers: What is racism?

First Questions and Answers: What is racism?

Author: Katie Daynes, Jordan Akpojaro Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/2021

Answering young children's questions about racism is hard. This book gives both children and adults the language and sensitivity they need to talk about the topic. It gently explains what racism is, how it happens, why it is NEVER acceptable and what each and every one of us can do to eradicate it.

Endgame

Endgame

Author: Malorie Blackman Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

The first Nought Prime Minister, Toney Durbridge, is about to go on trial for the murder of notorious ganglord, Dan Jeavons. Tobey insists he is being framed. There were ten seats at Dan's dinner party the night he was killed and each guest had their own reasons for wishing him dead. Sephy Hadley was one of the guests that night. Haunted by the idea that she didn't do enough to stop the death of her first love, Callum McGregor, Sephy will not sit quietly and wait for accusations to fall on her now. She has her children to protect. It's time that the truth is uncovered. Time for the endgame. It's been 20 years since Malorie Blackman's groundbreaking series began with Noughts & Crosses, which charted the deeply forbidden romance between Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a nought) - a love affair which had repercussions for their families for generations. Endgame, the breathtaking conclusion to the series, influenced by the unprecedented global events of recent years, is full of twists and turns. Are you ready for the Endgame?

Hey You!

Hey You!

Author: Dapo Adeola Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

This book is outstanding in its gathering of talent to provide the illustrations to Adeola’s messages. It is a powerful, personal response to the murder of George Floyd and the awakening around the world to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is an honest and very personal letter to Adeola’s younger self, messages he wishes he had seen and heard at a young age, created now for the children of the future.  The messages apply to any child – and the illustrations show a diverse range of children and adults; the writing is simple, straightforward and obviously deeply felt, urging children to be themselves, be curious and love the skin you are in.  Each double page spread, and the end papers, are all created by one of the eighteen talented black illustrators assembled from all over the world or this book. It is a joy to see so many different yet complementary styles of illustration creating the whole. A book for every classroom and nursery in the country!