CLPE partners with Knights Of and BookTrust to publish Black British middle-grade anthology HAPPY HERE

CLPE are delighted to announce that we are partnering with inclusive publisher Knights Of and children’s reading charity BookTrust to publish HAPPY HERE, an anthology for middle grade readers featuring stories and poems by 10 Black British authors illustrated by 10 Black British illustrators. The anthology will include an introduction from bestselling author Sharna Jackson, and explore themes of joy, home and family through a wide range of genres and styles which aim to spotlight Black British artistic talent. Happy Here brings together authors and illustrators from across children’s publishing with contributions from established names such as author Patrice Lawrence and poet Joseph Coelho, and introducing emerging talent.

2020 saw the publication of our Reflecting Realities Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature and the BookTrust Represents Interim Research, which highlighted the under-representation of minority ethnic characters within children's books and children’s authors and illustrators of colour, respectively. Happy Here, aims to help directly redress this imbalance to ensure that children across the UK can see themselves reflected in the books and authors they read.

Happy Here will be pubished on the 5th August 2021 and BookTrust will provide a free copy of the anthology to every primary school in England and, in partnership with CLPE, will create and distribute free curriculum resources and sponsor author events for schools to support the book, along with a programme of ongoing professional development for teachers to broaden the scope of literature taught in schools.

The full list of contributors to Happy Here:

THE AUTHORS: Dean Atta, Joseph Coelho, Kereen Getten, Patrice Lawrence, Theresa Lola, E.L. Norry, Jasmine Richards, Alexandra Sheppard, Yomi Ṣode and Clare Weze.

THE ILLUSTRATORS: Olivia Twist, Selom Sunu, Camilla Ru, Dorcas, Mo Fadera, Chanté Timothy, Wumi 'Wumzum' Olaosebikan, Onyinye Iwu, Lucy Farfort and Will Kay.

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “We are so pleased to be working together with our colleagues at BookTrust and KnightsOf to bring new stories, characters and settings to children in classrooms across the country and to be part of a brilliant partnership that supports real, meaningful and continued change for the creators of today and the readers of tomorrow”

“Being able to commission work that has no motive other than to amplify, uplift and celebrate what it means to exist in the UK today as Black British is liberating. Each and every author and illustrator has focused not on the trauma or hardship of their existence, which is too often highlighted in children’s fiction, but the experience and possibility of happiness for their characters.

Working alongside BookTrust and CLPE, organisations committed to equipping children, parents, teachers and librarians across England with books to increase literacy, learning and understanding, has been inspiring. As partners on Happy Here it is encouraging to know that these stories and resources will reach children everywhere.” Aimée Felone, co-founder, Knights Of

Jill Coleman, Director of Children’s Books at BookTrust said: “Happy Here is going to thrill and inspire children in families and schools across the country and we want to make sure it is read by thousands of children. We are proud to be working with Knights Of and CLPE as part of our effort to drive a long term, sustainable increase in the diversity of voices published in children’s literature.”