The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla

Told over the course of the ten rounds of his first fight, this is the story of amateur boxer Sunny.

A seventeen year old feeling isolated and disconnected in the city he’s just moved to, Sunny joins a boxing club to learn to protect himself after a racist attack.

He finds the community he’s been desperately seeking at the club, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world.

But racial tensions are rising in the city, and when a Far Right march through Bristol turns violent, Sunny is faced with losing his new best friend Keir to radicalisation. A gripping, life-affirming YA novel about friendship, radicalisation and finding where you belong.

YA books often have a lot to say about the world and our place in it. The Boxer is a beautiful example of this. So much more than a book about a boxing match, it holds equality and respect at its core and brilliantly portrays the self-doubts and uncertainties of a young man navigating his way through trauma-recovery and racism while he fights to understand his own identity.

Relevant, fresh and a thoughtful celebration of self confidence and learning to take up space, The Boxer is an eye-opening look at the positive impact sports can have on mental health and identity. The Boxer is an inclusive and inspiring gem not to be missed.

You can get your copy from our online shop.

BAME female characters in picture books

Yesterday The Guardian shared their research showing that the top 100 illustrated children’s books last year showed growing marginalisation of female and minority ethnic characters.

We take pride in stocking a diverse range of books and work hard to ensure every child can find themselves represented on our shelves. These beautifully diverse and gender-stereotype-squashing books are out there and this article highlights the importance of independent bookshops and booksellers who can get them into children’s hands.

We’ve put together a gallery of fantastic picture books that fit the criteria, available now or being published in the next few months. Look at them all! Aren’t they stunning. We would be very happy to share these books with you and will be adding them to our online shop over the next week. If you would like to order any now, contact us at the shop and we will work our bookseller magic.

Are there any brilliant books you would like to see added to our gallery? Comment on this post or get in touch via social media and share your favourites.

Lampie and the Children of the Sea – Annet Schaap

Every evening Lampie the lighthouse keeper’s daughter must light a lantern to warn ships away from the rocks. But one stormy night disaster strikes. The lantern goes out, a ship is wrecked and an adventure begins. In disgrace, Lampie is sent to work as a maid at the Admiral’s Black House, where rumour has it that a monster lurks in the tower.
But what she finds there is stranger and more beautiful than any monster. Soon Lampie is drawn into a fairytale adventure in a world of mermaids and pirates, where she must fight with all her might for friendship, freedom and the right to be different.

We always get excited by a new book from Pushkin Children’s Books. They consistently deliver something different that makes you look at the world through fresh eyes. Lampie and the Children of the Sea is a joy to read; quirky and filled with wonder.

There is something of The Secret Garden here, in the monster in the tower, the slowly building friendships, and in the fear and distrust that dissolve into something magical.

Lampie is fierce and determined and filled with questions and doubts. The richly diverse cast of characters come together beautifully in a Greatest Showman, This is Me moment.

It’s a beautiful book about standing up against injustice, fighting for what you deserve rather than settling for what life has handed you. Above all it is about being fiercely, proudly, determinedly you. 

A masterclass in writing, perfect for any budding young authors and adventure-lovers. 12+

Lampie and the Children of the Sea by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson. Out 30th May, you can order your copy from our shop today.

Meat Market by Juno Dawson

Jana Novak is catapulted to superstardom when she’s scouted by a model agency. But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous, and there are predators at every turn.

Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall…

Honest and raw, this is a timely exposé of the dark underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. It might just be Juno Dawson’s most important book yet.

We love this fast-paced and addictive read. Meat Market is Juno Dawson at her best; accomplished writing, beautifully diverse characters that dig into your head and heart, and a powerful storyline that is all too relevant.

Jana is immensely relatable. She is every young woman facing the challenges of growing up in this image-centric world. Just as Jana is pulled into the chaos of the fashion industry, we were swept along, unable to put Meat Market down, binge-reading all the way to that perfect, perfect ending. Jana’s downfall feels inevitable and inescapable, yet this is a hugely positive book with a powerful and hopeful ending.

A brilliant book that highlights the importance of friendship, standing up for what you believe in and being true to yourself in a world that often tries to tell young women otherwise. A must for raising the consciousness of the fashion-conscious.

You can order your copy here.