Young, Gifted and Black

Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins

Promotes diversity
Inspires children to chase their dreams
Celebrates achievements of black change-makers

Taking its title from the Nina Simone song ‘To be Young, Gifted and Black’, this book celebrates the lives of 52 people of colour from the past and present from around the globe. Its subjects, whether high-achievers, pioneers, trailblazers or heroes, represent a wide range of achievement and experience. From sporting icons such as Usain Bolt, Simone Biles and tennis superstars the Williams sisters to historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks to the authors Malorie Blackman and Toni Morrison and finally to global icons such as Nelson Mandela and football superstar Pelé, the stories in this book celebrate the amazing achievements of each individual. A short biography for each person is accompanied by a stylish illustration from the paintbrush of illustrator Andrea Pippins.

Young, Gifted and Black is inspiring, informative and influential, celebrating the achievements, as well as the setbacks and heartbreaks, of people who often struggled to make their voice heard. The book encourages young readers to aspire to achieve, to have the courage to chase their dreams and to see themselves positively represented in these stories. In the words of the introduction to Young, Gifted and Black, this book “is a beginning and not an end”. It’s also an opportunity to take pleasure in reading about some inspiring black change-makers, past and present, from around the world.

Published by Wide Eyed Editions (64 pages)

Suitable for KS1/2

Reviewed by Jane Walker