Two women from Folkestone have started a book campaign to get more diverse books into local primary and secondary schools across Kent.
Emily Ghassempour and Wendy Venables – Gordon formed Books for Change back during the first lockdown in 2020, through ‘a love of diverse children’s literature’ and the ‘desire for change’.
“All children from every background are able to see themselves represented in a book”
The stories focus on protagonists from various minority groups, including people of colour, children and families of different races and religions, as well as books that tackle gender identity and disability.
A collection of some of the books. Picture: Books for Change
The aim is that by better educating younger generations through the empowerment of literature, that they will grow into more accepting, confident and positive individuals.
The pair hope that by raising money to supply local schools with these diverse books, that they can help to support and achieve this goal.
The Canterbury Hub caught up with Co-Founder Emily Ghassempour, to ask why this campaign is so important:
“Books for change is about changing the narrative, so that all children from every background are able to see themselves represented in a book. It’s about helping to make a change in the world through children’s literature and ensuring that all children have access to diverse stories.” Emily Ghassempour
Emily reading a diverse book to local children – Source: Books for Change
The project originally started with just schools in the Folkestone area. However, following on from the hugely positive feedback and success. Others have now started to follow suit, setting up their own books for change fundraising campaigns for their respective areas.
A full breakdown of each area that has signed up so far and their fundraising totals, can be seen in the chart below.
The local areas and fundraising totals so far – Source: Books for Change
Emily hopes that this is just the start for the movement here in Kent, as well as wider afield, adding that she hopes:
“Every town, city and neighbourhood across the UK has their very own books for change campaign and that schools and community settings embrace the beauty of the books, So that the young people of today grow into confident and positive change makers of the future.” Emily Ghassempour
If you are interested in signing up or want more information relating to the books for change campaigns, then more information including a free tool kit, can be found here.