Books

Sharna Jackson's top 5 stereotype-smashing kids’ books

High Rise Mystery author Sharna Jackson runs through some top alternative reads for young ones

Ghost

by Jason Reynolds

The first in Reynolds’ Run series, Ghost is an affecting novel about a young boy who must conquer memories of a traumatic experience, prejudice and reroute his life before it’s too late.

The Boy at the Back of the Class

by Onjali Rauf

A heart-warming story of a group of nine-year-olds in a London school who work together to reunite new classmate, Ahmet, with his family, providing a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis and demonstrating the importance of empathy and kindness.

High Rise Mystery

by Sharna Jackson

On the hottest day of the year, sisters Nik and Norva (the UK’s first young black female detective duo) use suspicions and smells to lead them to a horrible discovery on their south-east London estate. One of their favourite residents
is dead. The heat is on, as the duo race to find out who did this – and why.

El Deafo

by Cece Bell

This beautifully illustrated, personal graphic novel recounts the author starting a new school with a huge hearing aid – at her previous school, every child was deaf. Suddenly she’s different. This is an inspirational handbook for turning ‘weaknesses’ into strengths.

Un Lun Dun

by China Miéville

Zanna and Deeba are drawn to a funhouse-mirror version of London following strange goings on centred around Zanna – a blue-eyed ‘chosen one’, destined to save the city. However, tropes are quickly subverted and stereotypes are smashed.

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