Reviews of our second children's book Jump Up! A Story of Carnival

August 22, 2022

Jump Up! A Story of Carnival, our second children’s book for five-to-eight-year-olds, written and illustrated by award-winning author Ken Wilson-Max, has been receiving great reviews. Part of the GPI’s new series of black history books, Reaching New Generations, our books are helping to fill the void in reading material for younger children that the 2020 Black Lives Matter campaigns highlighted.

Jump Up! tells the story of Cecille, a young black girl living in the Caribbean, and how her community develops their very own Carnival, based on their long-remembered African traditions. For those who may wonder where our UK Carnivals – from Notting Hill to Luton and Leeds – came from.

Jump Up! A Story of Carnival by Ken Wilson-Max, published by the GPI as part of the Reaching New Generations Project funded by Arts Council England

Here are some comments from Instagram by reviewers who received free copies of the book:

‘Hawa loves to read this story at least twice a day.’ @Kellyfamilylife

‘It’s important for my boys to remember that they are a mix of different cultures and how special they all are because of this.’ @Oliverashley2021

‘Let’s inspire new generations with stories of diversity and inclusion.’ @itslucasshow

‘Isabella loved learning about Carnival and the fact file and glossary at the back were perfect to help us learn a little more!’ @ourmanycoloureddays

‘… the second book in the GPI series of black history books which is helping to fill the void in reading material for younger children. A great way to include stories of diversity too.’ @_the marleyfamily_

‘The book’s illustrations are beautiful and bright. And it’s safe to say this wonderful story has become a firm favourite of Violets. (She’s chosen it as her bedtime story every night since we’ve received it.) Harriet loves the historical information which is included at the end of the book. She thrives on knowing the history of things and the origins of the Caribbean carnival information has helped her find out things she never new about black history before.’ @14woo86

‘It is essential to read books like this to my daughter, to celebrate one of the many contributions that Britain’s Caribbean population has brought to our life… I love how the author Ken Wilson-Max has created a story which connects the past with the present. A book about the Carnival does just that by sharing the origins of Carnival, about the humanity of enslaved people hoping to build new lives … Overall this story provides a beautiful way for our young generation to connect with black history. A story that is certain to inspire young people of all ages that anything is possible.’ @lovely_mommalife

Jupiter Hadley wrote about Jump Up! A Story of Carnival on her blog:

‘… Learning about various cultures and understanding that there are different people that all have different beliefs and upbringings is really important in our home. The George Padmore Institute is doing a wonderful job publishing children’s books and reading material that fill the void that the 2020 Black Lives Matter campaign highlighted was needed … there is a Historical Information section at the end of Jump Up! – a timeline with real life pictures telling us all about the Caribbean Carnival and it’s start by slave traders, where the African slaves were not allowed to attend ... This information section is really vital in helping my own learning as an adult and in helping our children continue to learn about different cultures and connect the book to real life.’ Read the full blog here.

Leila Rasheed wrote on the Megaphone: Amplifying Children’s Writers of Colour website:

‘Jump Up! starts with a fiction story told through a little girl’s eyes, about the first carnival. At the end there is a non-fiction section which gives more information on the topic. It includes a useful vocabulary list with the meaning and origins of common Carnival words. I learned lots of new things – the steel pan drums are very familiar to me from Birmingham streets, but I didn’t know that their origins were from when enslaved people were forbidden to use drums and instead created rhythms on pans and other things.

‘That’s another important element of this book: it celebrates creativity. Jump Up! is a story of resourcefulness, hope and inspiration, which tells us how people living in the most dehumanising circumstances were able to create a new and enduring human celebration.

‘This picture book will inspire curiosity and interest in children about the world around them, whether they have a carnival tradition in their area or not. It would be a fantastic book for schools and teachers in particular to use with KS1 children to bring added value and understanding to the carnival period, perhaps to coincide with a class trip.’ Read the full review on the Megaphone website.

Buy Jump Up! A Story of Carnival

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