Watch our latest film about Dream to Change the World: The Story of John La Rose, a children’s book published by the GPI

November 2, 2021

Written and illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max and for children aged 5 to 8 years old, this book is the story of the childhood of John La Rose, the late Trinidadian-born activist, trade unionist and writer committed to the struggle for racial equality and social justice in Britain and beyond. Inspired by the archives of John La Rose – which are held at the George Padmore Institute (GPI), the archive he co-founded – Ken Wilson-Max has created a magical and engrossing book. Young readers can also learn about John's life through a fascinating timeline at the end of the book.

First shown on 25 November to launch the book, the film is now available on the GPI’s YouTube channel and via our Discover page on the GPI website. Ken Wilson-Max is joined by award-winning young adult author Catherine Johnson and the GPI's archivist Sarah Garrod, who talk to GPI Trustee Sharmilla Beezmohun about the book, the importance of Black British history, how archives play a key role for authors and much more. You can also hear Ken read Dream to Change the World.

Watch the film via our Discover page here

Pre-order the book now!

This wonderful children’s book for 5- to 8-year-olds will be available from 16 November for £5.50 including post and packaging.

Pre-order the book via our Shop on the Discover Page

If you are a UK library and would like a free copy, please email with your details to


Sarah Garrod has over twenty years’ experience as a professional archivist, including former posts in collections management and public services at the London Metropolitan Archives and Hampshire Record Office. Sarah joined the George Padmore Institute in 2003 and has been central to the development of the GPI Archives from its infancy, as well as managing staff and the GPI volunteer team. She is committed to the sharing of knowledge and making archives as accessible as possible through delivering workshops, managing creative residencies and exhibition work.

Catherine Johnson lives in Hastings, she has written over twenty books for young readers, her most recent are To Liberty, published by Bloomsbury and Queen of Freedom, published by Pushkin. Other books include Freedom which won the Little Rebels Prize 2019 and was selected as the IBBY Book of the Year in 2020; Sawbones, which won the Young Quills prize for Historical fiction; and The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo, which was nominated for the YA Prize. She also writes for film and television; her work includes Bullet Boy and an adaptation of Miranda Kaufman’s The Black Tudors for Silverprint Pictures.

For more information, please visit Catherine's website here

Born in Zimbabwe, Ken Wilson-Max lives in north London. He has written and illustrated over 50 books for children, including the global hit Astro Girl, about a young black girl dreaming of space travel. He releases work from other creators through Alanna Max, his publishing company, and since 2014 has been publishing the Chicken Newspaper for children all over the world. He is the George Padmore Institute’s 2020-21 writer-in-residence.

For more information, please visit Ken's website here

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Sharmilla Beezmohun has worked in publishing since 1994. In 2010, she co-founded Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions with Sarah Sanders; this year she edited ‘Not Quite Right for Us’: Forty Writers Speak Volumes (flipped eye), an anthology celebrating Speaking Volumes’ first decade. She is a Trustee of the George Padmore Institute and is on the International Organising Committee of AfroEurope@s, a cross-continent academic and cultural network. In 2019, Sharmilla became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

A screenshot of Sarah Garrod, Sharmilla Beezmohun, Catherine Johnson, Ken Wilson-Max
                Sarah Garrod, Sharmilla Beezmohun, Catherine Johnson and Ken Wilson-Max
One of the illustrated pages from the book showing a young John La Rose and his two parents walking in a twon
                  Page from Dream to Change the World: The Story of John La Rose
A painting of John La Rose
                    Painting of John La Rose