Author Benjamin Dean has partnered up with the LGBTQ+ youth charity Just Like Us for their annual School Diversity Week event.
From 20 June to 24 June, the UK-wide celebration will see thousands of primary and secondary schools participate and is set to feature more than 50 free inclusive resources.
During the week-long event, students will have the opportunity to participate in various activities, including LGBTQ+ inclusive geography and science lessons, storytime activities, school talks, and Rainbow Friday dress-up day.
Alongside the aforementioned activities and resources, students will also be introduced to an array of LGBTQ+ authors and their queer-inclusive books.
One of the selected authors set to be featured is Benjamin Dean, with his children’s book The Secret Sunshine Project.
The heartwarming tale follows Bea and her sister Riley as they plan a Pride celebration after their father’s passing.
Under the partnership, Dean has recorded an exclusive book reading video and is also set to visit classrooms virtually.
Alongside the video and visits, the event will also offer a free reading guide, a class discussion plan, and a PSHE lesson plan for Key Stage 2 on What is Pride inspired by the book’s characters.
In a statement, Dean expressed his excitement for the partnership while also reflecting on the importance of School Diversity Week.
View this post on Instagram
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Just Like Us for School Diversity Week, to help bring inclusive stories into primary schools. When I was younger, LGBT+ stories were absent from my education and it left me feeling othered, lonely and lost at times,” he said.
“I’m so glad to see that this is changing for the younger generation of today. I hope that this initiative will not only make some children feel less alone in the world, but that it will also help to encourage empathy and kindness in others, too. I’m excited to work alongside Just Like Us to continue championing diverse and LGBT+ inclusive stories.”
Chief Executive of Just Like Us Dominic Arnall echoed similar sentiments in his own statement.
“We’re so thrilled to be partnering with Benjamin Dean to bring stories of diverse families and LGBT+ young people to more primary schools this School Diversity Week,” Arnall explained.
“A huge thank you to Benjamin and everyone at Simon & Schuster Children’s Books for helping us to champion LGBT+ inclusive education and bringing much-needed representation to primary schools.”
Click here to get to know the emerging LGBTQ+ author Benjamin Dean.