Frances Lincoln Children’s Books has acquired a picture book from activist Jen Reid, based on her experiences in the aftermath of the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol this time last year.
Reid attended the Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on 7th June 2020, during which the statue of the 17th-century slave trader Colston was toppled and thrown into Bristol Harbour. Reid spontaneously climbed onto the empty plinth and raised her fist high above her head into the Black Power salute.
On the morning of 15th July, a statue of Reid by Marc Quinn was added to the empty plinth. It was called "A Surge of Power" and it gained national attention for the 24 hours it was in place and beyond.
Frances Lincoln acquired the rights for A Hero Like Me from Ruth Cairns at Featherstone Cairns and Anwen Hooson at Bird Literary Agency.
The book will be published in May 2022 and is based on Reid’s unique role within the event. It has been fictionalised from the point of view of a child by US-based author Angela Joy, with the illustrator yet to be announced. Reid and Joy have collaborated on the book, which highlights the need for statues to represent all children, everywhere.
Reid said: “Angela and I both have a shared experience in relation to statues and who they represent. It’s an honour to collaborate with Angela to share this story of empowerment along with Frances Lincoln, who have made it their duty to publish books on different cultural perspectives to increase representation. I wanted to write this book to inspire the change-makers of tomorrow and encourage young readers to use their voice and stand up against social injustices.”
Katie Cotton, group publisher at Quarto Kids, added: “As soon as we discovered that Jen wanted to do a children’s book about her experience last year, we knew we had to be the ones to publish that book. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books has a rich and wonderful heritage of publishing diverse books about the issues that matter. It’s commonly accepted that all children deserve to see themselves in books. So why don’t all children deserve to see themselves in the people that we, as a culture, choose to commemorate in statues? The text that Angela and Jen have created is a moving testament to this belief. We could not be more proud to be publishing it.”
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