Book Review: Where are you from? By SJ Penni

We were sent Where are you from? By SJ Penni for review. All images and opinions are our own.

The days and weeks following England’s Euro 2020 defeat over the summer threw the spotlight onto racism in football and in wider society. After missing penalties in the final, footballers, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted with racist abuse.

Living a little over a mile away from the Marcus Rashford mural which was vandalised, it hit quite close to home. Marcus is a local and national footballing hero who did not deserve the hate directed at him. It did shine a light on the subject of racism and at home we had many discussions about it, and this was also mirrored in school. It was one of those teachable moments we all try and find for our kids, and it was an opportunity to raise awareness and do better as a society.

Book Review: Where are you from? By SJ Penni

Black History Month happens every October, and in school up and down the land, children learn about some of the notable people in black history. My son did a short project on Marcus Rashford, who is perhaps just about sneaking into the history books now.

Where are you from? By SJ Penni is a great place to start learning about black history. This book celebrates some of the stories that are not generally taught in schools; from black Tudors and black Romans to black soldiers in WW1 and Queen Victoria’s adopted daughter, Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

The book is colourfully illustrated by the author’s brother Julian D Penni. It includes a section of key moments in British black history; as well as whole pages dedicated to a selection of famous, and not so well known people in black history. From WW1 soldier and professional footballer, Walter Tull to Crimean War nurse, Mary Seacole.

The book also tells the story of the Rochdale Millworkers, who stood up against slavery in the cotton trade. There’s a rundown on the Windrush Generation, which is very topical at the moment, and there are some interesting activities you can do to explore the topic further.

Book Review: Where are you from? By SJ Penni

Where are you from? is attractively laid out, with boxes with extra facts in on each page. The writing is informative and engaging and my 11 year old thought it was “really good” and a good read. I think he learned a thing or two about black history, me too if I’m honest.

It’s a perfect book for celebrating black history for children during Black History Month and year round. Black history is all our history and if you want to explore the topic more with your children, this book is a great springboard into the subject.

Where are you from? By SJ Penni is available in paperback from Amazon and other bookshops priced at £12.99.