Friends join forces to launch black history book club at school

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club.

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club. L-R Isla, A'niah and Jasmine. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A nine year old girl from Ipswich has set up a black history book club with her friends to teach fellow students about prominent black figures in history.  

A’niah Soanes, who is in Year 5 at St Margaret's Primary School, has with her friends Isla and Jasmine started the club to share children's books that feature a particular black figure with age groups across the school. 

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club. Aniah wanted to

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club. A'niah wanted to share her love of black history with her friends so they formed the club. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Pupils will then draw pictures and talk about what they thought of the book.  

A’niah, nine, who has a dual heritage background, said: “When I was young, I wasn’t treated very nicely and sometimes I was bullied because of my skin colour. I don’t want that stuff to happen to other children in my school.” 

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club.

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club. A'niah wanted to share her love of black history with her friends so they formed the club. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

She went on to explain instances when she had been made to feel bad about her heritage. 


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She said: “When we were playing Harry Potter, I wanted to be Hermione, but one person at school said I couldn’t because my skin colour wasn’t the same as hers and I don’t have the same hair. 

“Another girl at a party said that I’m not even properly black because I’m mixed-race. 

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“I want to teach people to love themselves and to say to others ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, but I love myself,’” she added.  

Deputy Head Teacher Sharon Cashen, Teaching Assistant Naomi Wray, with the book club's founders Isla, Jasmine, A'niah.

Deputy Head Teacher Sharon Cashen, Teaching Assistant Naomi Wray, with the book club's founders Isla, Jasmine, A'niah. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A’niah’s mum, Ellisha Soanes, who works as a lecturer and equality, diversity & inclusion coordinator at West Suffolk college and college groups said: “Me and my other half made a conscious effort to move to Ipswich where it’s more diverse. However, you still get those conversations that we had when we were younger.  

“I was a bit mortified that this is still happening." 

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club. L-R Isla, Aniah

Three friends at St Margarets Primary School have formed a Black history book club. L-R Isla, A'niah and Jasmine. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The girls will run the club on a Friday lunchtime and hope to involve all year groups throughout the year. 

A’niah has hopes to have her own YouTube channel to continue to teach people all over the world about black history. 

“I am overly proud of A’niah,” Ellisha said;  “It hasn’t been something that has been pushed on her, she’s done it herself.

"It means she wants to find out about her dual heritage background and she wants other people to learn about it too.” 

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