It’s one year ago today since we opened the website of the UK’s first inclusive and representative children’s book club. The past 12 months have been busy.
We opened our cyber doors and I immediately did an up the nose interview with Sky News. I was 5 months pregnant, it was the hottest day of the year and I accidentally said diversity 3000 times. Ignoring all of that, our first customers signed up.
Our first boxes went out… our customers were DELIGHTED.
Starting a business is tough. Especially when all your delivery addresses start to default to Hungary where Royal Mail thinks all of our customers live. We also got gifted our own hashtag…
We had our first school book reading where the conversation derailed onto vegetables and I can say, with absolute assurance, I lost the room. The kids loved the books we brought them particularly Errol’s Garden by Gillian Hibbs, because it featured a boy who lived in a high rise. Unusual for book land.
Having a new baby was the big event this month. That was until three days after his arrival when the Guardian got in touch to say we were in their Christmas gift guide.
Absolute carnage. New baby, new business, a million paper cuts, 4 million tears but a lot of posted book boxes.
I think anyone who has set up a business while pregnant or with a new baby will probably testify to it being pretty bleak at times. We had a really difficult few weeks, balancing a newborn, a new business, after our first Christmas. By the time January arrived we were all exhausted. The highlight was attending a networking event where I got spewed on relentlessly (by the baby), and ended up breastfeeding on a bench outside a kebab shop while waiting for Neil to pick me up.
One of my favourite things about what we do is donating books to the amazing Doorstep Library. They read with children in some of the most disadvantaged parts of London and I love that more children get access to inclusive and representative books with a diverse range of characters in them, because of our customers.
For World Book Day we put together a list of books with BAME, (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic), main characters. This was to help children who wanted to dress up as a character of their own ethnicity find a costume. ITV came down to a school in Brixton where we talked to them about how important representation is in children’s books. For all children. Watch the interview here. To mark World Book Day we also did a blog for the Glare Project about the importance of gender equality in children’s books.
March was when we also won a ‘Made for Mum’ Award. Not hugely keen on the title. Delighted by the acknowledgement.
We started packing up our first ‘Everybody In’ schools’ boxes, supplying schools all over the country with inclusive and representative children’s books. It doesn’t matter where you are in the UK. Whether you live in the most multicultural or the whitest corner of the country, it is crucial that all children read books that reflect the make up of society. We want all children to better understand the world and their place in it through amazing stories.
With a bit of childcare and more thinking time, we had the opportunity to do a bit more press. We were featured on a few websites and blogs and did a few really lovely interviews. One with the brilliant Ivy’s Library. And another as part of the SheCan 365 project.
Having worked hard to promote all aspects of diversity across the year, we were DELIGHTED to launch a partnership with the brilliant Gender Equality Collective. Together we created a box that promotes gender equality for children. The ‘Feelings and Kindness’ Box.
And that’s it. Thank you so much for all your support, custom, cheering on, trolling (every little helps) and general well wishing over the last 12 months, here’s to the next twelve….