A NEW charity aims to provide more fiction books featuring black characters for schools.

Gracy Toby from Brighton launched the Open Minds Project after she struggled to find books for her own children with representations of black lives.

She hopes to raise £7,000 to purchase books for each key stage in primary and secondary schools across the city.

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To coincide with World Book Day today, Brighton and Hove City Council has announced it is contributing £1,000 to support the initiative.

Grace said: “As a mum to three young children who visits the library, bookshops, schools and other public places, I have struggled to find a reasonable representation of books with black characters depicted in a normal positive way. A lot of people have had a similar experience."

A report published in 2019 by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education found only 5 per cent of children’s books have an ethnic minority main character, when 33.5 per cent of the school population are of an minority ethnic origin.

The Open Minds Project is now a registered charity, and Grace said the vision is to promote anti-racism and black inclusivity in literature.

Since November last year, the Open Minds Project has donated hundreds of books to schools, run a children’s drawing competition, delivered Black Lives Matter assemblies and developed teaching resources to accompany the books provided.

The project is supported by teachers and parents who assess the books to be donated.

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Councillor Elaine Hills, deputy chairwoman of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, said: “We know black and ethnic minority characters are massively under-represented in books in our community and this needs to change.

"We are really pleased to support this initiative and hope the Open Minds Project is successful in delivering books to as many schools in the city as possible.”

You can support the crowdfunding for books on the JustGiving page.

Fidn out more about The Open Minds Project on its Facebook page.