Black and British by David Olusoga – Book Review
This book is revised and rewritten from David Olusoga’s ‘Black and British: A forgotten history’ and provides essential information for younger readers. Pupils in year 5 and 6, as well as pupils in KS3, would find this book fascinating and thought-provoking. If you have celebrated ‘Black History Month’ in October, this book would be the perfect addition to your bookshelves as it will answer questions and provide further details and explanations.
Black and British is a must-read for teachers as it will equip you with a good level of knowledge to support your pupils and be able to answer their questions but is engaging and easy-to-read at the end of a busy working day. It will complement other books you may have used in class for example, ‘Young, gifted and black’ by Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins, ‘Henry’s Freedom Box’ by Ellen Levine, or ‘Windrush Child’ by Benjamin Zephaniah.
The book starts with the author talking straight to his audience in first person; you are hooked right from the beginning – ‘None of the Black people from the past who we know about today were ever mentioned by my teachers…so what I presumed was that there must not have been any Black people in British history.’ Following from this, Olusoga concisely describes and explains the over-looked history of Black people, from the culturally diverse Roman times through to the twentieth century, looking at the Notting Hill riots and the Windrush scandal. The text is backed up with maps, photographs, paintings and newspaper clippings which illustrate the time periods, events and people brilliantly. Regular sub-headings and captions guide you easily through the text.
Prepare to feel surprised, outraged, compassionate but most of all informed as you read this book. Since 2020, there has been a growth in awareness of the need for Black history in the national curriculum and many schools are beginning to address this by choosing books and topics to study: this book is essential to support with this. You may also wish to look further into ‘The Black Curriculum’ which is detailed in the Afterword of the book.
You can find this book here - https://www.madeleinelindley.com/black-and-british-a-short-essential-history/
'Macmillan Children's Books will donate 50p from every copy sold to The Black Curriculum.'