The passionate African author who is teaching kids about racial equality through her books
Lynne Sesinye-Samwinga, of Holystone, includes six diverse characters from all races so children can see themselves in her books
A children’s author is on a mission to teach kids about racial equality through the use of diverse characters in her books and resources.
While bringing up four children of her own, Lynne Sesinye-Samwinga started to notice a lack of representation of all races in children’s literature.
Last year, according to a study from The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, out of the 9,115 published children’s books in the UK only 4% featured a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic character.
In 2016, Lynne launched her educational business, Mini Stewards, with the aim of publishing children’s books that promote being a responsible citizen.
Her books include six diverse characters of all races, including white, African, and Asian, so children can see themselves in her books.
After moving to the UK from Botswana aged 22 to study sports and exercise at Wolverhampton University, Lynne has experienced firsthand the racial challenges that her community face and has since decided to take a different career path.
The 44-year-old, now living in Holystone, North Tyneside, said: “We live in a world where race is an issue, which it shouldn’t be, we shouldn’t live in a world where the colour of one’s skin is an issue.
“I thought if I represent all the different races around the world in my work, this could help in some way to eliminate these issues of people feeling that one race is superior to another.
“Racial bias is not the only issue we have, but we also have issues of tribalism, casteism, ethnocentrism and nationalism.
“I was born in a country where we have different tribal groups. With tribalism, we have certain tribes who feel they’re superior to other tribes and that some tribes are inferior to theirs.
“I want that to change. I don’t want children growing up having this feeling that one race is superior over another and that certain races are inferior to others.”
Lynne’s books provide fun ways for children to learn to be responsible global citizens by focusing on key areas of looking after things around them such as the environment, money, possessions, abilities, time and health.
She said: “Some books feature terms like ‘black girl magic’ and ‘proud to be black’ but I don’t like those kinds of terms because no other race will say, ‘proud to be white’ or ‘proud to be Asian’.
“I think people say they are proud to be black, because for a long time, being black was perceived to be inferior, but we should all be proud, whatever race we are. No one would feel the need to say that if all races were perceived to be equal.
“It’s not wrong to say those things but I feel like I want to live in a world where everyone is accepted regardless of the colour of their skin, but it almost seems impossible.”
Lynne’s latest book, ‘My Health: Eight Ways I care for my body’, has already been sold around the world.
She has also produced children’s resources such as calendars, bookmarks, wall planners and posters and is planning to bring her stories to life in an animation in the future.