Collaborating with Daps on Look Up! and Clean Up! has been amazing, and his next project looks incredible. He has written Hey You!, a moving read exploring everything about growing up Black, which features his artwork alongside the artwork of 18 incredible up-and-coming Black illustrators.
Recommended reading age: 3-7 years old
It’s so important to start talking to your children about race and racism early, but many don’t know how to approach the conversation. That’s why I’m so excited for this upcoming debut, it explains the most difficult and complex topics in an accessible way for early readers.
Recommended reading age: 4-7 years old
Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door by Lola Morayo & Cory Reid (2021)
This is the first in a five-book series by creative partners Lola Morayo aka Tólá Okogwu and Jasmine Richards. Tólá is the author of the incredible Daddy Do My Hair series and Jasmine founded the inclusive fiction studio, Storymix. I’m sure that this young magical adventure series will have children hooked.
Recommended reading age: 6-8 years old
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you taught a stegosaurus how to do sums? One young girl finds out in this follow-up to Never Show a T-Rex a Book. This is a laugh-out-loud read and it celebrates maths! It also features colourful artwork from Diane Ewen, one of the 18 illustrators of Hey You!.
Recommended reading age: 3+ years old
Happy Here by Sharna Jackson (2021)
This upcoming anthology explores joy, home, and family, and features stories and poems by 10 Black authors and illustrators. I love how each author has been paired with a different illustrator in the book, it’s an amazing spotlight on Black British artistic talent.
Recommended reading age: 7+ years old
You Are a Champion by Marcus Rashford & Carl Anka (2021)
"It’s hard to know what is possible until you start. You have to be able to dream big and be prepared to work towards your dreams. Good things take time." Marcus Rashford is amazing, and his debut title in collaboration with journalist and broadcaster, Carl Anka, looks set to be one of the most inspiring books of the year for young people. The book is a positive and practical guide to building mental resilience and grit.
Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old
Jasmina Santos-Campbell aka Jaz has formed her own football team, the Bramrock Stars. If you haven't heard of them already, you soon will. They're all future football stars. I’m excited for this debut novel from London-based Scottish writer, Priscilla Mante. The main character, Jaz, reminds me of my character, Rocket, with her determination to show the world that girls CAN play football.
Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old
Black Boy Joy edited by Kwame Mbalia (2021)
Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft, and George M. Johnson are just a few of the talented contributors in Black Boy Joy. 17 Black male and non-binary authors have come together to produce this amazing celebration of the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood. It’s such a vibrant and relatable collection of stories, comics, and poems.
Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old
Nubia: Real One by L. L. McKinney & Robyn Smith (2021)
Nubia – much like her twin sister Wonder Woman – has Amazonian-like strength as well as other superhuman abilities she's meant to keep under wraps. But when her best friend is threatened, Nubia is willing to risk everything. I recently came across this graphic novel and I couldn’t put it down. There are so many themes in the story, including equality, identity, and kicking it with your squad, and the artwork by Jamaican illustrator Robyn Smith is amazing.
Recommended reading age: 13-17 years old
Black Joy edited by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff & Timi Sotire (2021)
Another title celebrating everything that is brilliant about being Black, but this time it’s an anthology curated by gal-dem editor-in-chief Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy, particularly as it gives a fresh perspective on race and belonging, and focuses on the joy of being Black.
Recommended reading age: 12-17 years old
I’ve heard so many good things about this debut title from Femi Fadugba. The story is about two teenagers, connected across time by one bullet, which is about to devastate both of their lives. This pacey thriller will be the hit of the summer!
Recommended reading age: 12-18 years old
This is one of my favourite releases from January – Bola Sol is a Mathematics and Finance graduate who has found passion in women coming together to discuss money matters. It’s such a great read and the perfect introduction for Young Adults on how to manage money.
Recommended reading age: 18+ years old
Programme aims to help pupils catch up after the significant disruption that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on education and access to books.
With the world becoming more and more digitalized, it can be hard to remember what life was like before mobile phones.