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Stormzy's book imprint #Merky Books announces its first children's book celebrating 50 real-life British superheroes

It publishes in September this year and will challenge the norm for representation in children’s publishing

  • Jemima Skala
  • 3 July 2021
Stormzy's book imprint #Merky Books announces its first children's book celebrating 50 real-life British superheroes

Stormzy’s book imprint #Merky Books has announced details of its first ever children’s book.

Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength will be published on September 16, and celebrates over 50 iconic racialised British public figures.

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With the aim of challenging representation in children’s books, the superheroes were chosen by Stormzy and the #Merky Books team. 8% of the proceeds will also be donated to the #Merky Foundation, a charity that Stormzy has set up that will donate £10m over the next decade to different causes tackling racial inequality in the UK.

Formatted like a comic book, Superheroes is illustrated by Denzell Dankwah, a 21 year old student of illustration at the University of Gloucestershire. Dankwah got in contact with the #Merky Books team via Instagram with his comic book illustrations and has since been commissioned to illustrate Superheroes.

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The stories of each of the superheroes are written by Sophia Thakur, an award-winning performance poet, author and songwriter. The book also features an introduction by Stormzy himself.

Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength follows on from Stormzy’s 2019 single ‘Superheroes’, which is taken from his album ‘Heavy Is The Head’. It celebrates the strength and successes of Black people and namechecks the likes of Mallory Blackman, Venus and Serena Williams and Nina Simone.

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Some of the 50 superheroes included are Olympic athlete Dina Asher-Smith, comedian Mo Gilligan, writer Candice Carty-Williams, Bake Off’s Liam Charles, Ian Wright, scietis Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon and mode Jourdan Dunn.

Superheroes is an important book for tackling the racial inequality in representation in children’s publishing. Between 2017 and 2019, only 7% of children’s books published in the UK featured characters of colour.

Preorder Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength here and see a full list of all the superheroes included below.

Stormzy’s superheroes:

Afrocenchix

Anita Asante

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE

Basma Khalifa

Benjamina Ebuehi

Bianca Saunders

Bola Agbaje

Candice Carty-Williams

Cece Philips

Charlene White

Charlie Casely-Hayford

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE

Dr Clifford V. Johnson

Comuzi

Shaun and Craig McAnuff

Danielle Carter

Dina Asher-Smith

Downie Sisters

Drew Spence

Ebony Salmon

Emmanuelle Lhoni

Prof. Frank Chinegwundoh MBE

George The Poet

Ian Wright MBE

Ikram Abdi Omar

Inua Ellams

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan

Joshua Buatsi

Jourdan Dunn

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Kosar Ali

Lauren James

Leomie Anderson

Liam Charles

Luol Deng

Dr Mark Richards

Maro Itoje

Michael Dapaah

Micheal Ward

Mo Gilligan

Musa Okwonga

Omari McQueen

Princess K

Rapman

Reggie Yates

Reni Eddo-Lodge

Rinsola Babajide

Riz Ahmed

The Kanneh-Masons

Tanya Compas

Temi Fagbenle

Temi Mwale

Theresa Ikoko

The Triple Cripples

William Adoasi

Yinka Ilori

Jemima Skala is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor. Follow her on Twitter

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