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.
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.
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE
Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE
Dr Clifford V. Johnson
Shaun and Craig McAnuff
Prof. Frank Chinegwundoh MBE
George The Poet
Ian Wright MBE
Ikram Abdi Omar
Dr Mark Richards
The Triple Cripples
Jemima Skala is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor. Follow her on Twitter