No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Akala is a leading hip-hop artist and rapper, who was named Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards in 2006. He founded ‘The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company’ in 2009 to engage young people with Shakespeare. He has featured on TV programmes across Channel 4, ITV2, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC speaking on wide ranging subjects from music, youth engagement and British/African-Caribbean culture. He published a collection of short stories Doublethink in 2015 and a graphic novel Visions in 2016. Hip and Hop is his first children’s book. Follow Akala on Instagram here.
March 2022 Debut of the Month | Ablaze with atmosphere and adventure, Akala’s The Dark Lady is a radiant, resonant tale of magic, a missing mother, and treachery in Elizabethan London. Fifteen-year-old Henry lives in poverty in the care of a pair of apothecary sisters. A skilled thief and writer of sonnets, he has an additional extraordinary gift — he “can close his eyes and read languages”. Letters become “colours, shapes, sounds and musical notes. Always a different pattern emerged and it was endlessly beautiful”. And, with brown skin inherited from his absent Beninese mother, Henry is subject to racism, with England’s insularity and prejudice pertinently portrayed — the rhetoric of foreigners “stealing jobs” is all too familiar. At the same time, there’s a seamless interweaving of Black history. For example, Henry is amazed to learn about Juan Latino, “a son of slaves who rose to become a professor of Latin at the University of Granada”. Then there’s reference to John Blanke, the famed black trumpeter from Henry VII’s court. Caught in the act of burgling a wealthy duke, Henry’s language magic earns him a seat at the duke’s opulent table, and grants him an audience with historic figures like Dr John Dee and his idol, Shakespeare. With a wicked sense of humour and pride, Henry is an enormously endearing young man, not least when he rubs his fine clothes and fancy talk in the face of a bigoted baker who previously refused to serve him. With the action never letting up, a succession of betrayal, intensifying dreams and discoveries about his mother steer Henry towards a land across the sea. Simply fabulous.
Akala, award winning hip hop artist, gives power to the kids in this uplifting, lively story which carries a positive message that with hard work and practise you can be anything you want to be. Hip, the rapping Hippo, encourages his friend Hop to learn to ride a bike so they can both take part in the Blueberry Hill cycle race. After a few falls Hop feels disheartened and wants to give up but Hip, with an inspiring rap, gets Hop back on his bike and with practise he perfects balance, brakes and steering to show off his new skills at the cycle race. 'Don't let anyone tell you no. Focus on your dreams and go!' Colourful, funky artwork from Sav Akyuz adds to the streetwise appeal. Ben Bailey Smith (aka rapper Doc Brown) has also used his rapping talent creating I am Bear, also illustratated by Sav Akyuz.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.