PRH and Twinkl Educational Publishing to Donate Books by Authors of Colour to UK Primary Schools
By Hannah Collins
In early September of 2022 it was announced that Penguin Random House would be partnering with Twinkl Educational Publishing, a British online publishing house that produces teaching and educational materials for children, to donate over 55,000 books by authors of Colour to 500 primary schools in the UK. The donation of books from Penguin and its imprints including Puffin, Ladybird, Vintage and Andersen Press constitutes Penguin’s Lit in Colour campaign which was developed by Penguin Random House alongside The Runnymede Trust. Runnymede is the UK’s leading race equality think tank, which generates research to challenge racial inequality in Britain and has done so for fifty years.
Research by Lit in Colour, completed by Penguin and The Runnymede Trust in 2021, revealed that 82% of young people do not recall studying a book by a Black, Asian or minority ethnic author in school and 70% agree that diversity is a substantial part of British society that should be represented in the curriculum. On the Lit in Colour homepage, it is also revealed that fewer than 1% of students at GCSE study a book by a writer of Colour. This homepage also states that “Books create belonging. They help us see each other and understand one another. They shine a light on the world. It’s vital that the books we read in our formative years reflect the rich diversity of the society we live in. To help do this, we’ve commissioned ground-breaking research to shine a light on barriers preventing more books by Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers being taught in the classroom and to make recommendations for what needs to change.”
It is no surprise then that this partnership with Twinkl Publishing has occurred. Each school participating will receive a hundred books including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Authors on these lists will include Malala Yousafzai, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Matthew A. Cherry. Each school will also receive a class set of Sharna Jackson’s The Good Turn. PRH’s Head of Social Impact, Dr Zaahida Nabagereka said of this collaboration that: “Partnering with Twinkl on this first UK-wide Lit in Colour Primary School donation is a really significant step in addressing the barriers the Lit in Colour report identified in 2021,” and David Angrave, Twinkl’s Chief Operating Officer, said that the company “are delighted to work with Penguin on such a meaningful campaign. Our Lit in Colour resources aim to engage learners in a wide variety of diverse titles in the classroom.”