Instead of sending Christmas cards this year, we’ve donated to Coram Beanstalk’s 500 Words: Black Lives Matter appeal — helping to get this book into the hands of schoolchildren across the UK.

500 Words: Black Lives Matter (Image: Coram Beanstalk)

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. If, like me, you’ve been doing homeschooling for the first time, you may have given some thought to the books that your kids read at school.

As a white woman with a fair degree of privilege, both my son and I can see ourselves reflected in the books he brings home from school. There are plenty of characters who look like us, talk like us, and experience life in the way that we do. But that’s not the case for every family. 

Research by the National Literacy Trust, published earlier this month, showed that 46% of children and young people from Black ethnic backgrounds struggle to find books where the characters look like them. That disparity can affect a child’s engagement with reading, making it harder for them to access the lifelong benefits of literacy. Coram Beanstalk is hoping to change that. 

The 500 Words: Black Lives Matter book is an inspiring collection of children’s writing submitted to the 500 Words competition 2020 in the Black Lives Matter category. Around 6,000 children aged between 5 and 13 added their voices to the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement, expressing themselves through stories, poems and real-life experiences.

It’s an opportunity for all children to learn about equality and read about experiences which may not necessarily have ever affected them in the same way.”

— Coram Beanstalk

The charity is raising money to get at least one copy of this book into each of the 900 schools it works with, and our donation will help them provide it to over 50 of those schools. You can help too by:

It’s time that the faces, voices and experiences of the Black community are represented in our schools, where every child can see and hear them.

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