The delight of reading as a child is being able to image yourself as the hero. Looking at the adventurer on the page and seeing yourself in them can really spark a child’s creativity. Having characters that children can identify with in books is a powerful form of representation. It says to them that there is a place for people like them to be successful in the world.
A few years ago in 2017, a study by Arts Council England found that out of all the children’s books published only 1% featured a BAME main character.
That was a fact that came to the attention of Keisha Ehigie, founder of Imagine Me Stories, as she struggled to find children’s books that her daughter would be able to see herself represented in.
“I noticed she was observing physical differences between her and her friends and decided to get her some books which had characters that looked like her… I soon realised that it was a struggle to find such books in traditional bookshops and retailers.”
Through her research Keisha found that children’s books were more likely to feature an animal character than a person of colour. She found that other black parents were also struggling to find books that they could share with their children to help them see themselves represented in literature.
Keisha wanted to create a way for parents to find what they looking for and help black children see themselves as the heroes of the books they would choose from their shelves at home.
“Representation is vital to ensure that children see positive views of themselves and what they can achieve in society and every child should be able to see themselves in the books they read.”
Keisha created the Imagine Me Stories subscription service. It takes the hassle out of searching for children’s books that feature black characters, stories and histories.
To create Imagine Me Stories, Keisha has worked with several UK publishers to source the books. By showing the popularity of the service, she hopes that it will lead to an increase in the amount of diverse children’s books being published.
The subscription service provides carefully chosen books and includes empowering activities designed to give children a better understanding of black culture. The monthly content centres on events in black history, inspirational icons and trailblazers in the black community.
Imagine Me Stories is dedicated to ensuring that children learn about the black community throughout the year and not just during black history month.
The boxes start from £19.99 and contain 2-3 specially selected books and activities. The Imagine Me Stories subscription boxes come in 4 different age ranges and have various payment options.
Tiny Conquerors Box for ages 0-3
The Early Achievers Box for ages 4-8
The Big Dreamers Box for ages 9-12
The Family Combo Box is for multiple reading levels you just need to say which ones you want.