Leeds Beckett University has started to publish children’s books, with author Sita Brahmachari signed up to mentor one of the first authors.
Story Makers Press, based within the Carnegie School of Education, will work with young writers and readers to create diverse and inclusive books through drama and workshops.
Ana Arêde, publisher at Story Makers Press, said her students are going into schools to develop storylines with pupils in deprived areas and the first book, The Nightmare Catcher, will be published on 8th June. It was written in-house and developed with a group of children from Beeston in Nottinghamshire.
A second book, as yet untitled, will be written by an external author who will be mentored by Brahmachari. It will be written in collaboration with a group of young Muslim girls and based on fairytales.
Lisa Stephenson, co-founder of Story Makes Press, said she hopes the press will help improve diversity and meaningful representation in children’s literature.
“I clearly remember my own son asking me why all the superheroes had blonde hair, fair skin and looked different to him,” she said. “We know from our research with schools that the imaginative experience of exploring stories through drama, theatre and creative writing can bring a story alive and develop active opportunities for children to explore characters and motives. Children can also bring their own voices to the story, the ideas that matter to them. This kind of learning can offer opportunities for developing empathy, compassion and celebrating difference. It is also highly motivational for young people because they feel valued.”