What did you read and write about when you were growing up? Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun, talks about the books she read, and the danger of knowing only one side of any story.
It’s time to put dads, step-dads and grandads back in the limelight. Here are some lovely picture books that do just that…
Monday 14th June marks the start of Refugee Week. We’re delighted to report that the Refugee Council website lists The Silence Seeker as a resource. Booktrust describes Silence as a good starting point for school discussions, calling it ‘beautifully atmospheric and evocative’ in their Best Book Guide 2010.
Equipped with a range of beautiful Tamarind picture books, Verna Wilkins visited Whitefriars School in Harrow. The head teacher Lynne Pritchard requested the visit because she is aware of “the importance of adequately meeting the educational needs of all the children, regardless of their ethnic origin.”
Tamarind books focus on universal themes, making them accessible and engaging resources for use all year round, and not only to be dusted off in Black History Month each October. Verna highlighted the curriculum topics, early socialisation themes, shared experiences and family life in the books. One powerful example, The Silence Seeker is popular because of the interwoven themes of migration, the value of silence, noisy city life and friendship without words. The lyrical writing and stylish illustrations widens its appeal to older children.
With the Tamarind range on board, the teachers felt able to deliver a truly multicultural curriculum. The head teacher was so inspired that she bought 44 Tamarind titles for the school and for her charity Red Earth, which trains teachers in Uganda. Through working with Tamarind, Lynne has become excited and equipped to integrate multicultural books across the curriculum. Lynne’s particularly keen to take The Day Rains Fell to Uganda on her next trip, and to take Verna too!
Verna founded Tamarind to address the issue of inclusion in early years education. Her work with schools over 20 years has shown how much personal value children feel when they see themselves reflected in their learning materials.
During the bank holiday, Tamarind sold over 200 books at the Afro Hair and Beauty Show in Islington. Princess Katrina and the Hair Charmer went down a treat, and A Safe Place and The Night the Lights Went Out were particularly popular. Five hundred catalogues were taken away, and 45 attendees signed up to the e-newsletter. Patsy ran a creative writing workshop for those interested in writing multicultural books for children. The exhibition has been running for 29 years and is an iconic event in the UK black community. Most buyers asked where they could find Tamarind books in their local areas. The books can be ordered through any book shop.