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  • Writer's pictureJess

5 books to empower the next generation

'Everyday diversity' is all about diversifying the visibility of the races, disabilities, ages and sexual orientations we see in our day-to-day landspace - who is represented in the adverts we see, the TV we watch and the books we read. It's about what 'the norm' looks like in our society vs how it is portrayed to us in media and advertising.

Diversity quotas have been criticised for being too prescriptive and the use of diverse models in ad campaigns has been labelled Tokenism - but they are helping increase the visibility of 'everyday diversity'. However, there is still work to be done and we are far from seeing a rich tapestry of creatives in our media - across the board from film to theatre, right down to the characters represented in children's books. This week I thought I'd share a few titles that are all about empowering the next generation - whether it's to love the skin they're in, own their dreams and aspirations, or to get them to think 'big' through the examples of some historically incredible women...

The Lightning Girl series by Alesha Dixon is as bold, colourful and courageous as the woman herself. Giving young black girls a kick-ass superhero role-model they can look up to.

Body Positivity Influencer, Megan Jayne Crabbe, or @bodyposipanda as she's known on Insta, is such a force for good in a world of teen influencers. A brilliant book for girls hitting puberty and who need to hear from a 'cool Instagrammer' (rather than their mum!) how to make peace with their body and see a diverse range of body shapes and colours celebrated.

At the other end of the age range, this picture book by singer and presenter, Rochelle Humes was written with a passion to instill as early as possible the idea in girls, like her daughter, the idea that we should celebrate our differences and never wish away the things that make us unique.

I have gifted this book so many times I've lost count; it is so beautifully illustrated and a brilliant, heart-warming story of cultural heritage, magic, imagination and gender stereotype - big issues! But all wrapped up in the sweetest story of a little boy and his nana.

This is one of my daughter's favourite reads and it has introduced me to so many trail-blazing black women from global history, too. There are names and faces you will recognise among the 40 women featured, but so many stories of intelligent, forward-thinking bold women that you won't of heard of too - beautifully illustrated it's a great gift to show any girl that ANYTHING is possible.

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