I’m cheekily combining two great non fiction books from the same excellent series for this recommendation. Both address important concepts and issues in age appropriate and engaging ways, using a magazine style format to include a wide range of voices and first person accounts and experiences, along with detailed factual content and a helpful glossary and index. Each book is great to dip into or to read chronologically, and there are also lots of signposts to wider reading. Many of those sharing the first person accounts in the text are also writers and creatives, and there is a supportive bridging context for young readers, who hopefully might next be tempted to go to the library to try out Nikesh Shukla’s YA fiction like Run Riot, or The Boxer, or sample a play by Inua Elams, like The Barbershop Chronicles.
The text is designed to help young readers think critically about the issues and consider both continuities anddistinctiveness in the perspectives presented. There is no ‘single story’ or homogeneity presented in either book and taken together there is a great opportunity for even very young readers to begin to explore intersectionality and the complexity of individual identity in society.
What I also really like about these books is that the approach is very accessible but there is no compromise on the challenge of the information, ideas and theory shared. As a result, they are suitable for UKS2 and KS3 but equally interesting for adults and older students, with much food for reflection and discussion.
I’m confident that anyone reading these books, but particularly older readers, will feel inspired to move on to other non fiction books which connect thematically, such as The Good Immigrant (ed. Shukla), Safe (ed. Owusu), Natives by Akala, Mother Country : Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, My Name is Why : Lemn Sissay, Hold Tight and Black, Listed by Jeffrey Boakye, Slay in Your Lane by Adegoke and Uviebinené and Mask Off by JJ Bola. This is a great opportunity to build cultural capital.