Jen Reid: A Hero Like Me (free event)


Saturday 10th June 2023, 11:30am, FREE EVENT

Storysmith, 236 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1JD

We are honoured to welcome Jen Reid to Storysmith to celebrate A Hero Like Me, with a free storytime event and signing!

After becoming synonymous with the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston and being immortalised in an iconic statue on the emptied plinth, Jen has turned the experience into an inspiring and beautiful book for children.

This event is free to attend and suitable for ages 5+. Places are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. 

Booking is only required for children! It’s not necessary to reserve a ticket for accompanying adults.

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About Jen Reid

Jen Reid grew up in the historic city of Bath, the youngest daughter of Windrush immigrants. Her experiences of racism growing up were first-hand. From being the only Black child in her local primary school in the 1980s, where Jen fully understood what it was like to face inequalities and where racial slurs were commonplace, to moving to London in the 1990s and facing the daily microaggressions that black women suffer in the workplace, throughout her life, Jen has experienced the everyday racism that is ingrained in our society.

About A Hero Like Me

Empower children to stand up for what is right with this picture book inspired by the real-life events around the statue of a slave trader, its toppling and heroic replacement.

‘They call him ‘HERO’, but he’s no HERO – not to me.’ A Hero Like Me is inspired by the events of 7 June 2020, when a statue of seventeenth-century slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into Bristol Harbour during an anti-racism protest.

Co-author Jen Reid was one of the protesters that day, and despite being afraid of heights, she spontaneously climbed onto the empty plinth and raised her fist high above her head – a moment that was captured on camera and shared around the world. On the morning of 15 July, a statue of Jen by Marc Quinn was added to the empty plinth. It was called A Surge of Power and it gained national attention for the 24 hours it was in place, and beyond.

This inspiring picture book tells the story of these events through the eyes of a little girl who, every day, on her way to school, sees a towering statue. A statue of a man who sold freedom for cotton and tea. The world around her says this man is a hero.

But she knows he’s not a hero – not a real one. Heroes are hard to find. She looks for them around corners, under rocks, and on TV, but there are none that she can see.

And so, the little girl marches and shouts for them instead. And that statue – he doesn’t belong. He doesn’t stand for Kindness.

He doesn’t stand for Peace. Maybe he shouldn’t stand at all. A Hero Like Me empowers children to have courage to stand up for what is right and be their own hero.

It shows every child that they have a voice in their community and a say in who is on their streets. That they too have power, just like Jen.

Co-written by Angela Joy, illustrated by Leire Salaberria

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