Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books is delighted to announce Diverse Voices – 50 of the Best Children’s Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.
Diverse Voices – 50 of the Best Children’s Books
Early Years (0+)
The classic picture book about the little girl who loves stories and shows us that we can be anything we want to be.
A rhythmic counting poem that describes all manner of delicious Caribbean fruits as a little girl tries to eat as many of these as she can in a single day.
A vibrant and colourfully illustrated tale about Old Al Haji Amadu’s five extremely naughty and very hungry goats who gobble and gulp through whatever they find.
A mouth-watering story about Ayeko who puts seven fruits into her basket, but one by one these disappear as all manner of creatures snack upon them.
As much as Hue Boy longs to be bigger, he discovers size isn’t everything in this uplifting village- based story about a small boy with a very big personality.
A quiet reflective book about the unusual friendship shared by Leon and Bob and the sense of fun and fulfilment others can bring into our lives.
An African town is brought to life through sight and sound in this touching story of young and old where Grandmother Gogo and grandson Songololo set out on a stroll together.
A stunning collection of 150 rhymes from countries all over the English-speaking world, including Great Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, South Africa and the Caribbean compiled by Seven Stories co-founder Elizabeth Hammill. The collection contains best-loved nursery rhymes, but also new discoveries, and vibrant rhymes from Native American, First Nation, Inuit and Maori cultures.
The festival of Ramadan and its celebration across the world is explored in this thoughtful book which looks at the role faith plays in many children’s lives.
A cheeky, cheese-filled tale about super bad thief Bandalulu who has stolen all the cheese from Mouseland.
A fun, feel good and familiar story about the different generations of a family brought together by their love for a new baby.
An ideal first picture book by an award winning author/illustrator in which Lenny and his dad have a game of hide and seek in the house, enjoying fun and games together.
Young Readers (5+)
A powerful graphic novel about Azzi and her family who seek refuge, filled with drama and tension it shows just how dangerous some people’s home lives can be and the difficult decisions needed to reach a place of safety.
Somewhere between Pippi Longstocking and Tracy Beaker, Betsey Biggalow, who stars in these short, pacey stories, is an imaginative and enquiring girl who is sometimes mischievous but always endearing.
Hassan feels out of place in a cold, grey country so different from his colourful Somalian home, which he was forced to leave because of war. But gradually things change… and he sees the new colours of home.
A story of fulfilment and freedom shown through the parable of the baby eagle who is reared with chickens. This simply told yet dramatic story from Africa will delight children everywhere and encourage them to “lift off and soar,” as Archbishop Tutu puts it in his foreword.
This is a funny, heart-warming family story set in Britain and Algeria, with fascinating glimpses of traditional Berber culture and lots of colourful characters.
A moving and hope-filled book about Kasia and her mum who have moved to the UK from Poland, it looks at the importance of the people we are close to and the gradual acceptance of change.
Although thousands of miles apart, there are many similarities between the homes and daily routines for the two boys in this book, its minutely detailed illustrations inspire readers to see that, in spite of surface difference, there is often more similarity in our lives than might, at first, be recognised.
This special book has a fairy-tale like charm as a King takes on the search for a wife. Mufaro has two daughters, one rude and mean and the other generous and thoughtful, which will win the hand of the King?
A witty story about the hugely appealing Number 1 who sets about searching for and solving problems and carrying out chores for his family.
A lyrical and lively collection of poetry that captures the sights, sounds, tastes and tales of the Caribbean and its people.
The inspirational true story of Walter Tull’s life is vividly reimagined here in scrapbook form, drawing on photographs, documents and records of his life. Born in Kent, in 1888, Walter Tull became not just the first black British professional outfield football player – for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town – but also the first black officer in the British Army.
Older Readers (8+)
Jamal and sister Bibi want to lead Australia to victory in the World Cup, but that entails a journey from their homeland, Afghanistan where their family has upset the authorities, and a lengthy voyage overseas.
The poignancy of the pictures in this story about a man washed up on an island beach and outcast by its community explores intolerance and is a powerful and moving conversation starter for discussions around acceptance.
A deeply affecting modern classic about a brother and sister who journey through the South Africa of Apartheid in a race against time to find their mother thereby saving their poorly baby sister, Dineo.
Full of life and potential, Stephen Lawrence was a boy with huge hopes for the future. Murdered in 1993, the book looks and prejudice, injustice and a family’s fight to uncover the truth.
This semi-autobiographical tale looks at Little Leap Forward, a boy who grew up in the hutongs of Beijing during the Cultural Revolution in China.
Ayesha lives in war-torn Beirut, a city divided by conflict. When Ayesha’s granny falls ill, she must cross the barricades into deadly no-man’s land to try to get the medication that is so badly needed.
The youngest member of a collective of pick pockets and con-artists in 18 Century London, Cato Hopkins appears at risk of paying penance for his crimes with his life…
A thought provoking and wide reaching collection of poetry for children that explodes from the page, begging to be read aloud.
Quirky, unusual and filled with affectionate humour, this story looks at the relationship between Andi, who is short, and her long lost, enormous half-brother Bernardo who comes to live in London from the Philippines.
A fast-paced read about brothers Em and Prince who struggle to make a life and home for themselves on the streets of London. Winner of the Diverse Voices award 2010.
Raphael is a dumpsite boy whose days are spent sifting through rubbish and whose nights are spent sleeping beside it. This deeply affecting story tells how one fateful moment – the discovery of a small leather bag – can radically change one’s fortunes…
Keith’s new foster brother, Donovan, won’t speak to anybody, will Keith be able to uncover the reasons why and help Donovan to open up?
This acutely perceptive, gem of a book recounts how Julie tries to help two Mongolian refugees who are struggling to fit in with their new classmates in Liverpool and movingly describes why their friendship ended unexpectedly…
The violence and danger of India during the Independence movement and its partition from Pakistan acts a catalyst for Jaspal and Marvinder to flee from their village in an effort to reunite with their father who is a student in England.
Teenage Readers (13+)
Following the vicious murder of her brother, orphan Siki vows to become an Apache warrior to take revenge upon her brother, Tazhi’s, killers.
This wordless graphic novel explores the many reasons that lead people to leave their old lives and homes behind and set out upon the journey entailed in starting afresh.
Aged twelve, Mira’s life changes when her Nana Josie becomes ill and Mira begins to learn about the secrets of her family and loved ones in this emotionally honest novel.
A skin-crawling novel about Marshall O’Connor who lives in the ‘Finger’ a block of flats with a deep, dark and deadly secret. This distinctive, fresh and decidedly creepy novel explores stigma and prejudice.
Kept house-bound by the Taliban’s law that women and girls should not leave the house on their own, Parvana, her mother and sisters are in danger of starvation when their father is arrested.
The poems in this highly original collection, penned by John Agard uncover a wealth of human experience and on differences in race.
A playscript that explores the tensions between two groups of teenagers who come to learn the way party politics influence the everyday lives of individuals and the devastating impact this can have.
Sephy and Callum live in a world of split communities and civil unrest, can their feelings for one another grow and blossom against this backdrop and what will occur if those feelings are discovered?
An extraordinary piece of current affairs reportage told in graphic novel form and recounting the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza strip.
This eye-opening graphic novel about author Marjane Satrapi’s childhood growing up in Tehran uncovers the way a country’s politics, religion, history and traditions, influence a sense of identity.
Thrilled to have left his home country of Ethiopia for the first time, Alem is excited to be spending a holiday with his father in London. Happiness turns to despair when he discovers his father has left him alone in an unfamiliar country…
This highly personal story was partly influenced by Bali Rai’s own experiences, it looks at the impact cultural traditions can have on young people growing up in modern times and the book will resonate will all who have experienced the pressure of expectation at the hands of their family.
Poetic and reflective, the story tells how Kasienka comes to England from Gdansk in Poland with her mother, a suitcase and a laundry bag full of clothes, desperate to search for her father.
The Guardian children’s booksite is celebrating and discussing Diverse Voices and all kinds of diversity in children’s books all this week with features, discussions, author interviews and galleries. See what they are up to and join in the discussion here: www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site
Seven Stories have also specially created learning resources for use in schools, which will be available from Thursday 16 October to encourage the use of books that reflect the diverse world we live in. See www.sevenstories.org.uk/learning for details.