Jeffrey Boakye

Jeffrey Boakye is an author, broadcaster, educator and journalist with a particular interest in issues surrounding race, masculinity, education and popular culture.
Jeffrey Boakye Credit Fossca Photography

What was your favourite childhood book and why?

Too many stories to choose from! As a very small child, I remember a battered copy of The Twits by Roald Dahl lying around at home, probably belonging to one of my sisters. It fascinated me and I would look through the pictures, even before I was a confident reader. Then one day I had a go at reading it and I was amazed at how funny and curious it was. That’s a lasting memory.

As I got older, I would often immerse myself in books by an American author called Betsy Byars. I love her quiet but direct style of storytelling, always deep in the head of her main characters. The Bingo Brown series is so close to my heart I could cry. Then there’s other classics like The Midnight Fox and The Cartoonist. Amazing.

Which of your own books is your favourite and why?

I’m glad you asked! I’m a big fan of Musical World, simply because it covers so much scope over conversations that might be difficult to have, through song and music. It was joyous to right, and full of the kind of honesty and truths that I think we all need to confront. I’m also proud to shed light on artists and musicians whose work deserves attention.

Why do you choose to read? 

It sounds like a cliché, but reading really is a portal into worlds you haven’t visited and lives you haven’t lived. I’m lucky – I learned from a fairly young age that reading is a form of escapism and exploration that I think we all need, from time to time. Finding a good book is a gift to yourself. The hours spent in those pages are a special kind of magic, and sometimes, the lessons learned can stay with you for a long time.