Reading List Vol.2

This month we invited Samantha from This is Book Love to create a reading list in response to our issue. These books explore the history of Black Britain, famous activists, movements for social change, racial equality, anti-racism and more…

Dread Poetry and Freedom by David Austin

What is the relationship between poetry and social change?

Standing at the forefront of political poetry since the 1970s, Linton Kwesi Johnson has been fighting neo-fascism, police violence and promoting socialism while putting pen to paper to refute W.H. Auden’s claim that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’. For Johnson, only the second living poet to have been published in the Penguin Modern Classics series, writing has always been ‘a political act’ and poetry ‘a cultural weapon’.

In Dread Poetry and Freedom – the first book dedicated to the work of this ‘political poet par excellence’ – David Austin explores the themes of poetry, political consciousness and social transformation through the prism of Johnson’s work. Drawing from the Bible, reggae and Rastafari, and surrealism, socialism and feminism, and in dialogue with Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James and Walter Rodney, and W.E.B. Du Bois and the poetry of d’bi young anitafrika, Johnson’s work becomes a crucial point of reflection on the meaning of freedom in this masterful and rich study.

In the process, Austin demonstrates why art, and particularly poetry, is a vital part of our efforts to achieve genuine social change in times of dread.

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

In the eighties, Black footballers emerged from the dressing room to find bananas being hurled from the stands. But the abuse didn’t stop at the full-time whistle – racial harassment in sport mirrored the experience of many in society.

As a kid from the East End, Derek Bardowell found solace in the success of black athletes. It is what bonded three generations of his family. Yet even now, success on the field seldom converts to power or justice away from it.

No Win Race is Bardowell’s deeply personal exploration into the complexities and biases implicit in being black in Britain, told through the prism of sport. Covering the period between the Brixton ‘riots’ and Brexit, this visceral, powerful book is for those who want an honest insight into UK race relations, and for anyone who understands that sport is more than just a game.

‘This searching exploration uses sports to examine questions of race and identity … Bardowell does an excellent and passionate job of refracting the issues within sport – the dearth of black football managers, the lack of activism from black athletes who have made it into the spotlight – into wider society.’ Financial Times

‘A painful reflection of racism in British sport … Bardowell ably demonstrates the power of the media to determine the narratives around these sporting lives. He flags up the false binaries often promoted between good (patriotic) and bad (self-centred) black sportswomen and men … it’s a valuable act of remembrance of sporting stars who put their careers on the line in pursuit of a moral right.’ Observer

Under the Moon & Over the Sea: A Collection of Poetry from the Caribbean by John Agard and Grace Nichols

This prestigious anthology, which won the 2003 CLPE Poetry Award, conjures up the sights and sounds, tastes and tales of the Caribbean; the experience of living there – and of leaving for other lands. A companion to the acclaimed A Caribbean Dozen, this book contains more than fifty poems by over thirty poets, including John Agard, Grace Nichols, James Berry, Valerie Bloom and Benjamin Zephaniah

Harriet Tubman – A Journey to Freedom by Sandra Agard

Be inspired by the lives of trailblazers past and present in this fun and factual biography series! (See Author Reading from this book in our instagram feed @Thisisbooklove_)

How did Harriet Tubman help hundreds of enslaved people reach freedom? Born into slavery on a Maryland plantation, Harriet’s life was full of hardship.

In 1849, she made the brave decision to run away, journeying north on the Underground Railroad. Despite the dangers, she returned to the South again and again, leading many others to safety. Discover the story of this amazing abolitionist and find out how she overcame every obstacle in the fight for freedom. 

Coming To England by Floella Benjamin and Diane Ewen Hardback

A picture book edition of Coming to England, the inspiring true story of Baroness Floella Benjamin: from Trinidad, to London as part of the Windrush generation, to the House of Lords.

Follow ten-year-old Floella as she and her family set sail from the Caribbean to a new life in London. Alone on a huge ship for two weeks, then tumbled into a cold and unfriendly London, coming to England wasn’t at all what Floella had expected . . . What will her new school be like? Will she meet the Queen?

Filled with optimism and joy, yet deeply personal and relevant, young children will resonate with Floella’s experiences of moving home and making friends. Alongside vibrant illustrations by Diane Ewen, this powerful story shows little people how courage and determination can always overcome adversity.

100 Great Black Britons by Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osborne

A long-overdue book honouring the remarkable achievements of key Black British individuals over many centuries, in collaboration with the 100 Great Black Britons campaign founded and run by Patrick Vernon OBE.

‘Building on decades of scholarship, this book by Patrick Vernon and Dr Angelina Osborne brings the biographies of Black Britons together and vividly expands the historical backdrop against which these hundred men and women lived their lives.’ From the Foreword, by DAVID OLUSOGA

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

In this vital re-examination of a shared history, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean. 

Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. 

It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. 

Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.

Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been entwined for centuries.

Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle

Nobody free till everybody free. Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. Time is ticking, and the day of the uprising approaches . . . Irresistible, gripping and unforgettable, Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky’s War in Jamaica, 1760.

I am Peace. Book Of Mindfulness by Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds (When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through an accessible mindfulness practice)  

Express emotions through direct speech. Find empathy through imagination. Connect with the earth. Wonder at the beauty of the natural world.

Breathe, taste, smell, touch, and be present. Perfect for the classroom or for bedtime, Susan Verde’s gentle, concrete narration and Peter H. Reynolds’s expressive watercolor illustrations bring the tenets of mindfulness to a kid-friendly level.

Featuring an author’s note about the importance of mindfulness and a guided meditation for children, I Am Peace will help readers of all ages feel grounded and restored.

(B)Ordering Britain by Nadine El-Enany

Bordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as postcolonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain’s colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing colonial wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.

Every Little Thing by Cedella Marley and Vanessa Brantley Newton (Illustrator)

Now in board book for the first time, Every Little Thing brings Bob Marleys beloved song to life for a new generation. Readers will relate to this universal story of one boy who won’t let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three very special little birds.

Including all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses, this cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages because every little thing is gonna be all right.

Black and British by David Olusoga – age 12+

A short, essential introduction to Black British history for younger readers.

When did Africans first come to Britain?

Who are the well-dressed black children in Georgian paintings?

Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution?

These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian’s Wall right up to the present day.

This abridged edition of the bestseller Black and British by award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga is Illustrated with maps, photos, leaflets and portraits.

Staying Power. The History of Black People in Britain by Peter Fryer

The book illuminates her inner journey of self-discovery and uncovers truths that could help the new generation of mixed-race people now struggling to find their own space in the world

First published in the ’80s, amidst race riots and police brutality, Fryer’s history performed a deeply political act; revealing how Africans, Asians and their descendants had long been erased from British history. By rewriting black Britons into the British story, showing where they influenced political traditions, social institutions and cultural life, was – and is – a deeply effective counter to a racist and nationalist agenda.

This new edition includes the classic introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, in addition to a brand-new foreword by Guardian journalist Gary Younge, which examines the book’s continued significance today as we face Brexit and a revival of right wing nationalism.

Author Biography: Peter Fryer (1927-2006) was a jazz-playing Marxist author and activist. He was expelled from the Communist Party in 1956 for rejecting Stalinism, and later fought the imperial mendacity of whitewashed British history, authoring the now- classic Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (Pluto, 2018).

Back to Black, Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century by Kehinde Andrews

Back to Black traces the long and eminent history of Black radical politics. Born out of resistance to slavery and colonialism, its rich past encompasses figures such as Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter activists of today.

At its core it argues that racism is inexorably embedded in the fabric of society, and that it can never be overcome unless by enacting change outside of this suffocating system. Yet this Black radicalism has been diluted and moderated over time; wilfully misrepresented and caricatured by others; divested of its legacy, potency, and force. 

Kehinde Andrews explores the true roots of this tradition and connects the dots to today’s struggles by showing what a renewed politics of Black radicalism might look like in the 21st century.

Here to Stay, Here to Fight. A Race Today Anthology by Paul Field, Robin Bunce, Leila Hassan and Margaret Peacock

From 1973 to 1988, Race Today, the journal of the revolutionary Race Today Collective was at the epicentre of the struggle for racial justice in Britain. Placing race, sex and social class at the core of its analysis, it featured in its articles and pamphlets contributions from some of the leading writers and activists of the time: C. L. R. James, Darcus Howe, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Walter Rodney, Bobby Sands, Farrukh Dhondy and Mala Sen and many more.

Here to Stay, Here to Fight, draws together many of these key articles and extracts into an impressive collection – the first book-length anthology of its kind – rescuing many contributions from the obscurity of inaccessible archives.

Framing the original contributions, there is a general introduction, which provides an overview of Race Today’s 15-year history, section introductions providing context for each extract, written by writers and activists associated with the Collective, and a concluding section exploring the legacy of Race Today in contemporary social movements and debates around race, gender and class.

Author Biography:

Paul Field is a writer, lawyer and political activist. He wrote extensively for Labour Briefing, on which he also sat on the Editorial Board, for nearly ten years. Field has also written for international publications including Jacobin, International Viewpoint, and South African Labour Bulletin.

Robin Bunce is a Historian based at Cambridge University. He has written extensively on the history of political thought, and contemporary pop-culture. His most recent book, published by Bloomsbury, Renegade: The Life and Times of Darcus Howe, co-authored with Paul Field, was nominated for the Orwell Politics Prize.

Leila Hassan was employed by Institute of Race Relations from 1970. Hassan went on to become a member of the Race Today Collective, the deputy editor of Race Today from 1973 and editor from 1985, during which time she was a frequent contributor to the journal on subjects ranging from black power movement in US, to the struggles of black women in the UK.

Margaret Peacock spent 25 years as the Head-Teacher of a mixed inner city comprehensive school. She was closely involved in the magazine ‘Teachers’ Action’.

The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla

A gripping, life-affirming YA novel about friendship, radicalisation and finding where you belong.

Told over the course of the ten rounds of his first fight, this is the story of amateur boxer Sunny. A seventeen year old feeling isolated and disconnected in the city he’s just moved to, Sunny joins a boxing club to learn to protect himself after a racist attack.

He finds the community he’s been desperately seeking at the club, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world. But racial tensions are rising in the city, and when a Far Right march through Bristol turns violent, Sunny is faced with losing his new best friend Keir to radicalisation. A gripping, life-affirming YA novel about friendship, radicalisation and finding where you belong.

Young Gifted & Black: 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson

Meet 52 icons of colour from the past and present in this celebration of inspirational achievement – a collection of stories about changemakers to encourage, inspire and empower the next generation of changemakers. Jamia Wilson has carefully curated this range of black icons and the book is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins’ colourful and celebratory illustrations.

Written in the spirit of Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” this vibrant book is a perfect introduction to both historic and present-day icons and heroes. Meet figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers and athletes like Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.

Baby Young, Gifted, and Black:With a Mirror! by Jamia Wilson

“There are so many things I am and can be… There’s a whole world waiting for me.” 

Introduce your baby to Black excellence with this lyrical board-book edition of Young, Gifted and Black. Includes a mirror at the back so young dreamers can see themselves next to their heroes.

Meet icons of colour from past and present in this baby board book celebration of inspirational achievement. A collection of positive, yet simple, affirmations to encourage the next generation. Highlighting the talent of Black leaders and change makers from around the world, young dreamers will develop confidence, self-assurance, and self-belief.

Created in the spirit of Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” meet figureheads, leaders and pioneers such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers like Zadie Smith and athletes like Serena Williams. Jamia Wilson has carefully curated this range of Black icons and the book is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins’ colourful and celebratory illustrations.

All children deserve to see themselves represented positively in the books they read.

When We Speak of Nothing by Olumide Popoola

The fluid prose, peppered with contemporary slang, captures what it means to be young, black and queer in London. If grime music were a novel, it would be this.

“Best mates Karl and Abu are both 17 and live near Kings Cross. Its 2011 and racial tensions are set to explode across London.

Rejected on arrival, Karl befriends Nakale, an activist who wants to expose the gecocide in the Niger Delta to the world, and falls headlong for his feisty cousin Janoma.

Meanwhile, the murder of Mark Duggan triggers a full-scale riot in London.

Abu is infatuated with gorgeous classmate Nalini but dares not speak to her. Meanwhile, Karl is the target of the local “wannabe” thugs just for being different.

When Karl finds out his father lives in Nigeria, he decides that Port Harcourt is the best place to escape the sound and fury of London, and connect with a Dad he’s never known. Rejected on arrival, Karl befriends Nakale, an activist who wants to expose the ecocide in the Niger Delta to the world, and falls headlong for his feisty cousin Janoma.

Meanwhile, the murder of Mark Duggan triggers a full-scale riot in London.

Abu finds himself in its midst, leading to a near-tragedy that forces Karl to race back home.When We Speak of Nothing launches a powerful new voice onto the literary stage.The fluid prose, peppered with contemporary slang, captures what it means to be young, black and queer in London. If grime music were a novel, it would be this.

We Need New Stories: Challenging the Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent by Nesrine Malik

It is becoming clear that the old frames of reference are not working, that the narratives used for decades to stave off progressive causes are being exposed as falsehoods. Six myths have taken hold, ones which are at odds with our lived experience and in urgent need of revision.

Has freedom of speech become a cover for promoting prejudice? Has the concept of political correctness been weaponised to avoid ceding space to those excluded from power? Does white identity politics pose an urgent danger? These are some of the questions at the centre of Nesrine Malik’s radical and compelling analysis that challenges us to find new narrators whose stories can fill the void and unite us behind a shared vision.

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. After the war he sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this “cinematic and deeply engaging” (The New York Times Book Review) biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. “Absorbing and even moving…a brilliant book that speaks to our own time as well as Douglass’s” (The Wall Street Journal), Blight’s biography tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. “David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass…a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the nineteenth century” (The Boston Globe).

Becoming Nigerian by Elnathan John

In Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide, Elnathan John provides an affecting, unrestrained and satirical guide to the Nigerians you will meet at home and abroad, or on your way to hell and to heaven. It is a searing look at how power is performed, negotiated and abused in private and in public; in politics, business, religious institutions and in homes. From the exploration of religious hypocrisy to inequality in matters of the heart, the collection is a jab at Nigerian society and what it means to be a Nigerian. Beyond poking fun at the holders of power, it is a summons, a provocation and a call for introspection among all levels of society. As is often said in Nigeria, when you point with one finger, there are four others pointing back at you. This engrossing read is a must-have for Nigerians on how to move beyond shame and arrogance, and for non-Nigerians, a uniquely informative guide on how to accept their awe and envy of Nigerians. It is an invitation for everyone to embrace and rejoice in their inner Nigerian. Here is your definitive guide to Be(com)ing Nigerian.

The Space Between Black and White by Esuantsiwa Goldsmith

Moving from Britain to Scandinavia, from Italy to Tanzania and Ghana, this unique memoir sheds light on Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith’s journey as a feminist and political activist. (See Author Reading from this book in BookLove instagram feed.)

The book illuminates her inner journey of self-discovery and uncovers truths that could help the new generation of mixed-race people now struggling to find their own space in the world

Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith grew up in a working-class neighbourhood in 1950s South London, the mixed-race daughter of a white single mother and a Ghanaian father she never knew as a child. A feminist and political activist, she was the first woman-and only woman of colour-elected as President of Leicester University Students’ Union in the 1970s.

Following a career in women’s organisations and international development, she founded Anona Development Consultancy, working with over 100 organisations on five continents as a dynamic facilitator and strategist. In 2015, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her work in Women’s Rights.

Black History Matters by Robin Walker

An important and hard-hitting chronicle of black history, written by a celebrated black historian.

Black history is an integral part of world history. From the injustices of the past and present, we can learn and be inspired to make the world we live in more fair, equal and just.

Black History Matters chronicles thousands of years of black history, from African kingdoms, to slavery, apartheid, the battle for civil rights and much more. Important and inspiring black personalities, from Olaudah Equiano to Oprah Winfrey, are highlighted throughout, while achievements and progress are balanced alongside a look at the issues that continue to plague black communities.

#Blacklivesmatter is a powerful international movement, designed to raise awareness of and end ongoing injustice towards black people. This book is designed to connect with that movement and offer an important resource for all young readers during Black History Month and beyond.

Looking to London. Stories of War, Escape and Asylum by Cynthia Cockburn

‘Now, more than ever, it is vital to support women who have crossed borders. By listening to women from across the world who have made their homes in London, Cynthia Cockburn brings us stories that we need to hear in order to challenge divisions and build solidarity’ – Natasha Walter author of The New Feminism (Virago, 1998) and founder of Women for Refugee Women.

The city of London is celebrated as one of the most ethnically diverse capitals in the world, and has been a magnet of migration since its origin. Looking to London steps into the maelstrom of current and recent wars and the resulting migrationcrisi, telling the stories of wome refugees who have made it to London to seek safe haven among the city’s Kurdish, Somali, Tamil, Sudanese and Syrian communities, under watchful eye of the security services.

Cynthia Cockburn brings her lively and lucid style to a world in which hatred is being countered by compassion, at a moment when the nationalist, anti- immigrant sentiment expressed in Brexit is being challenged by a warm-hearted ‘refugees welcome’ movement bringing community activists into partnership with London borough councils for the reception and rehoming of victims of war.

This book is essential reading for all who want to think more deeply about the meaning of asylum.

Jimi Hendrix: Made In England by Brian Southall

The book explores the Hendrix legend from the perspective of the extraordinary year he spent in England recording a string of hit singles and achieving the fame that had escaped him in his native country. The book contains a wealth of interviews and new material revealing the man behind the legend and exploring why he fitted so well in the swinging London of 1967. An intimate portrait that captures Hendrix as both a performer extrordinaire and as a person. The book begins with the story of how Hendrix was discovered in the US and invited to the UK and ends with his triumphant return to the USA at the Monterey festival.

Little People, Big Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr by Maria Isabel Sanch and Mai Ly Degnan

Little Martin grew up in a family of preachers: his dad was a preacher, his uncle was a preacher, his grandfather was a preacher… so maybe he’d become a great preacher too. One day, a friend invited him to play at his house. Martin was shocked when his mother wouldn’t let him in because he was black.

That day he realized there was something terribly unfair going on. Martin believed that no one should remain silent and accept something if it’s wrong. And he promised himself that – when he grew up – he’d fight injustice with the most powerful weapon of all: words.

This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the inspiring activist’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

Boy oh Boy, 30 coming of age Stories by Cliff Leek and Bene Rohlmann

 Meet 30 men from throughout history. From activists like Frederick Douglass to creative innovators like Prince and icons like Muhammad Ali, these men have fought conventional stereotypes to prove that modern-day masculinity can be defined freely.

Instead of a single model of how a boy can grow into a man, this book offers 30 stories of people whose lives demonstrate that there are endless possibilities – that boys and men can do and be so much more than what we think of when we say things like ‘boys will be boys.’

Discover a world of inspirational change-makers, teachers, peacemakers, artists, scientists and more who have defied the expectations, care deeply about others, stand up for what is right and express themselves in creative and exciting ways.

The Story of Windrush by K.N. Chimbiri

A book to celebrate the inspiring legacy of the Windrush pioneers. In June 1948, hundreds of Caribbean men, women and children arrived in London on a ship called the HMT Empire Windrush.

Although there were already Black people living in Britain at the time, this event marks the beginning of modern Black Britain. Combining historical fact with voices from the Windrush Generation, this book sensitively tells the inspiring story of the Windrush Generation pioneers for younger readers.

Get Up, Stand Up by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley, John Jay Cabuay (Illustrator)

Bob Marley’s music has inspired millions of listeners around the world with messages of peace, love, and truth.

This third picture book adaptation of one of his beloved songs has a timely message for children: To counter injustice, lift others up with kindness and courage. As a young girl goes on with her day in school, she comes across several instances of teasing and intimidation. But with loving action and some help from her friends, she’s able to make things right for herself and others.

With exuberant pictures by John Jay Cabuay accompanying Marley’s iconic lyrics, Get Up, Stand Up is a vibrant testament to the power we all have to make a difference.

THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST by Tiffany Jewell

Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing and give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. 20 activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper.

Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses – using gender neutral words to honour everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.

After examining the concepts of social identity, race, ethnicity and racism, learn about some of the ways people of different races have been oppressed, from indigenous Americans and Australians being sent to boarding school to be ‘civilized’ to a generation of Caribbean immigrants once welcomed to the UK being threatened with deportation by strict immigration laws.

Find hope in stories of strength, love, joy and revolution that are part of our history, too, with such figures as the former slave Toussaint Louverture, who led a rebellion against white planters that eventually led to Haiti’s independence, and Yuri Kochiyama, who, after spending time in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII, dedicated her life to supporting political prisoners and advocating reparations for those wrongfully interned.

Learn language and phrases to interrupt and disrupt racism. So, when you hear a microaggression or racial slur, you’ll know how to act next time.

This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialised society—including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves and also for their families, teachers and administrators.

With this book, be empowered to actively defy racism and xenophobia to create a community (large and small) that truly honours everyone.

When I came to England, An oral History of Life in 50s & 60s Britain by Z.Nia Reynolds

Voices of The Windrush Generation.  An oral history anthology of life in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s told by those who came in search of life, love and lifestyle…a long way from home. Full of hope, humour and honesty, this gives a fascinating insight into post-war British society.

Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent by Priyamvada Gopal

Upsets received views to show how rebellious colonies changed British attitudes to empire Much has been written on the how colonial subjects took up British and European ideas and turned them against empire when making claims to freedom and self-determination.

The possibility of reverse influence has been largely overlooked. Insurgent Empire shows how Britain’s enslaved and colonial subjects were not merely victims of empire and subsequent beneficiaries of its crises of conscience but also agents whose resistance both contributed to their own liberation and shaped

British ideas about freedom and who could be free. This book examines dissent over the question of empire in Britain and shows how it was influenced by rebellions and resistance in the colonies from the West Indies and East Africa to Egypt and India. It also shows how a pivotal role in fomenting dissent was played by anti-colonial campaigners based in London at the heart of the empire.

Queenie By Candice Carty-Williams

Published on a wave of critical acclaim – and breathless enthusiasm from our booksellers – Candice Carty-Williams’ luminous debut is a joy-filled, painfully funny coming-of-age story set in modern Britain.

Fabulous but flawed, defiant but vulnerable, Queenie Jenkins is one of the great fictional creations of the twenty-first century, and her story is, by turns, hilariously funny, dramatic and movingly tender.

Caught between the Jamaican British family who don’t seem to understand her, a job that’s not all it promised and a man she just can’t get over, Queenie’s life seems to be steadily spiralling out of control. Desperately trying to navigate her way through a hot mess of shifting cultures and toxic relationships and emerge with a shred of dignity, her missteps and misadventures will provoke howls of laughter and tears of pity – frequently on the same page.

Tackling issues as diverse as mental health, race, class and consent with a light yet sure touch, Queenie is refreshingly candid, delightfully compassionate and bracingly real. The perfect fable for a frenetic and confusing time, Carty-Williams’ stellar novel is undoubtedly one of the year’s most exciting debuts and announces its author as a fresh and vibrant new voice in British literature.

Diary of a Creative Mind by Brixton based Mr Briess

Chronicling the making of his sublime EP, Arise & Shine BREIS’ insightful diary reveals the roller coaster ride of being an independent musician and entrepreneur.

Diary of a Creative Mind will take you on a unique journey with stop offs in Switzerland as he sets stages on fire with bars; Thailand as he inspires with Hip Hop literacy workshops before heading home to London via South Africa and New York. His travels across the globe chart his roller coaster experience of being a rapper, business owner and a trendsetting creative coach.

Full of funny anecdotes and gems, this is an honest, hopeful look at life, which will raise your spirits and make you smile. By the end of it you’ll be downloading all BREIS’ music and nodding your head continuously to his infectious rhymes and beats.

This is Why I resist by Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu

In 2020 we have seen clearer than ever that Black people are still fighting for the right to be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. In the words of the author, “there is no freedom without rights and no rights without the freedom to exercise those rights.”

This book demands change, because Black people are done waiting. 

In This Is Why I Resist activist and political commentator, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu digs down into the deep roots of racism and anti-blackness in the UK and the US. Using real life examples from the modern day, Dr Shola shows us the different forms racism takes in our day-to-day lives and asks us to raise our voice to end the oppression. She delves into subjects not often explored such as racial gatekeepers, white ingratitude, performative allyship (those black squares on Instagram), current identity politics and abuse of the Black trans community. 

Where other books take White people by the hand to help them negotiate issues of race, This Is Why I Resist offers no sugar-coated comfort, instead it challenges and asks WHEN will White people progress on race inclusion.Black Lives Matter and change is now. 

Black Minded The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X by Michael E. Sawyer

Known as ‘the angriest black man in America’, Malcolm X was one of the most famous activists to ever live. Going beyond biography, Black Minded examines Malcolm X’s philosophical system, restoring his thinking to the pantheon of Black Radical Thought.

Michael Sawyer argues that the foundational concepts of Malcolm X’s political philosophy – economic and social justice, strident opposition to white supremacy and Black internationalism – are often obscured by an emphasis on biography. The text demonstrates the way in which Malcolm X’s philosophy lies at the intersection of the thought of W.E.B. Du Bois and Frantz Fanon and is an integral part of the revolutionary politics formed to alleviate the plight of people of African descent globally.

Exploring themes of ontology, the body, geographic space and revolution, Black Minded provides a much-needed appraisal of Malcolm X’s political philosophy. 

Swimming Against the Tide, 50 years by Bogle L’Ouverture and Malcolm Cumberbatch

Swimming Against the Tide is looking at the lives of Eric and Jessica Huntley. This is a powerful Story of thier struggles against colonialism, racism and injustice.  A book, celebrating the bookshop  – 50 Years of Bogle L’Ouverture

Swimming is Great by Miss Joyce

This book deals with the emotional insecurities of JEAN-PAUL, a young boy with big curly afro hair, on his way to, during and after, attending his very first swimming lesson in the big pool.

He is excited, apprehensive and a little scared. He asks lots of questions, providing an inside view into his lack of confidence.

He is taken by his Grandmother NANNIE JEANINE , who constantly offers him reassurance, support, and encouragement. Whilst waiting at the bus stop with NANNIE JEANINE , his friend EMILY and her Mum arrive, and they all get on the bus together. EMILY is attending her first swimming lesson as well. She is excited and talks to JEAN-PAUL, about her new swimming costume.

EMILY has shoulder length blonde hair, and has a physical impairment. She was born without a right arm. They are going early, to ensure that the teacher has read EMILY’S notes. They are also all going early to watch the lesson before their one, to know what it entails.

I Was There… Ira Alridge by Judy Hepburn

A perfect introduction for younger readers into stories from the past, allowing children to imagine that they were really there. I Was There… Ira Aldridge tells the exciting story of the African-American actor, Ira Aldridge, who rose to fame on the London stage. Brilliantly imagined, readers aged 7+ will love this first-hand account of a child’s experience of nineteenth-century London and the vibrant life of the theatre.

The code BOOKLOVEINBRIXTON will give shoppers 10% off books purchased with BookLove until 9 May 2021.

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Samantha runs BookLove – The Travelling Multicultural Book Carnival, a London-based enterprise and online shop that travels the country with a vast array of multicultural, anti-racist, bi-lingual and inclusive books for adults and children.

The award-winning Book Carnival, now into the beginning of its 5th year and operating online and sends out its parcels of books wrapped in pre-used packaging donated by customers represents the beautifully diverse and bilingual communities around us.

BookLove now also has a new GoFund Me Campaign and charity called “BookLove & Beyond”  is raising money to give free multicultural and anti-racist books to educational settings across the UK and is recruiting BookLove Ambassadors to join us on our mission. You can donate to BookLove and Beyond at https://gofund.me/195585c6. BookLove also donates 20p from each book sold to its new campaign. 

We all want to make it.
Make it in our chosen career. Maybe make it big.

Sometimes perhaps just make it to pay day.
But whatever our ambition, what unites us all is the desire to thrive, be recognised – and be supported.
And that’s what Lambeth’s Creative Enterprise Zone is all about. Supporting creative people to do amazing creative things without having to leave our amazingly creative corner of south London.
Because we all want to make it – of course – but more than that, we want to Make It in Brixton.

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