A comic strip-style book about more than 50 famous British people from underrepresented communities will be the first children’s book published by #Merky Books, Stormzy’s imprint within Penguin Random House UK.
Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength will shine a spotlight on figures including athlete Dina Asher-Smith, comedian Mo Gilligan, writer Candice Carty-Williams, Great British Bake Off star Liam Charles, model Jourdan Dunn, scientist Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, writer-director Reggie Yates and former footballer Ian Wright.
Written by poet and author Sophia Thakur and illustrated by 21-year-old artist Denzell Dankwah, it will feature an introduction by Stormzy and 8% of the proceeds will be donated to the grime star’s charitable organisation, the #Merky Foundation.
The book aims to inspire, encourage and empower children with stories of characters from underrepresented communities, who rarely feature as the subject of children’s books.
Tallulah Lyons, assistant editor for #Merky Books, said: “It was so important to us at #Merky Books to publish a children’s book filled with positive representation, allowing the younger generation to see themselves represented in a way that they may not have experienced before.
“Unfortunately, there is still a distinct lack of representation in children’s books and we know that it is vital that children see themselves in the books they read growing up.
“Superheroes is packed full of amazing modern day ‘superheroes’, all of whom have taken their unique talent, passion and skill and have turned it into something extraordinary.
“I hope after reading this book, children everywhere are inspired and know that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.”
Thakur added: “The earliest seeds that are planted often influence the rest of the garden.
“If from a young age, we only really meet blackness from a position of weakness, of slavery and shootings … stereotypes and racist media … as children, we don’t get an opportunity to develop a healthy and confident outlook on what it means to be black.
“It was important to work on this book to plant a new seed of celebration. Of black excellence into our young minds who will hopefully bloom into their very own superheroes. Confident and powerful.”
Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength will be published on September 16.