Stormzy‘s publishing imprint #Merky Books has announced its first children’s book, which will focus on a number of different real-life ‘Superheroes’.
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The comic book style Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength focuses on 50 different figures from communities that are underrepresented in children’s literature.
They include authors such as Candice Carty-Williams and Reni Eddo-Lodge, actor Riz Ahmed, broadcaster Reggie Yates, former footballer Ian Wright, comedian Mo Gilligan and many more.
It was written by Sophia Thakur, illustrated by 21-year-old student Denzell Dankwah, and also features an introduction written by Stormzy himself.
It’s due to be published on September 16, with eight percent of proceeds going to the MC’s #Merky Foundation, a charity that aims to tackle racial inequality and injustice.
🚨 We're very excited to announce our first-ever illustrated kids book: SUPERHEROES ✨
— #Merky Books (@MerkyBooks) June 29, 2021
“The earliest seeds that are planted often influence the rest of the garden,” said Thakur. “If from a young age, we only really meet Blackness from a position of weakness, of slavery and shootings… stereotypes and racist media… as children, we don’t get an opportunity to develop a healthy and confident outlook on what it means to be Black.
“It was important to work on this book to plant a new seed of celebration. Of Black excellence into our young minds who will hopefully bloom into their very own superheroes. Confident and powerful.”
It is hoped that the publication of the new book will help break the mould when it comes to representation in children’s literature Research by the charity BookTrust has found that only 7 per cent of children’s books published in the UK between 2017 and 2019 featured characters of colour.
An animated video included nods to the likes of Dave, Little Simz, footballer Marcus Rashford and the Black Lives Matter movement, and was dedicated to the memory of the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
Last summer, a #MerkyBooks novel won the Desmond Elliott book prize. Derek Owusu’s That Reminds Me follows the life of a boy called K from foster care to moving in with his birth family in Tottenham.