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March 4th, 2016

Black BAFTA Winner Celebrates Diversity‏


Thirteen-year-old Kenya’s life is about to change for ever.

She is a guardian of an amulet whose fate determines the future of her planet.

Can Kenya and her friend find the amulet pieces and save their planet?

With the all-white Oscar nominations highlighting the lack of ethnic diversity in the entertainment industry, black BAFTA winner Anne Maria Raithatha is releasing a book to tackle the issue. Child of Gabriel: The Battle for the Lost Amulet is a fantasy book for children featuring black and Asian protagonists, which aims to build confidence in those whom culture often overlooks.

As a black woman of Caribbean heritage who has won entertainment industry awards and now teaches at a top preparatory school in North London, Anne Maria is perfectly placed to inspire children from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to pursue and achieve success.

Anne Maria won her BAFTA, RTS and Broadcasting awards for the My Life as a Popat series that brought the lives of ethnic minority families to centre stage of British TV. Being married to an Asian she is particularly aware of the challenges and benefits diversity can bring.

Set in Harrow, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of London, the main character, a neglected 13-year-old black child called Kenya, gradually learns to overcome hurdles and discover her own self-worth.

She lives with her cantankerous mother and grumpy stepfather in a London suburb. Ignored by her peers and unloved by her family Kenya is unaware of the incredible destiny that awaits her. As a result of the disappearance of her father she discovers that, as a Child of Gabriel, she is one of the guardians of a powerful amulet piece. This piece is one of many scattered throughout time.

The pieces had become dispersed when the world was young and a mighty conflict had raged between Kenya’s people, the peace-loving land-dwellers, and terrifying beasts of the underworld. The land-dweller guardians had ended the war by shattering a magic amulet that could give the beasts power to rule. However, in this first of a series, the long-forgotten underworld has grown in strength. It seeks to reunite the amulet’s shattered shards and conquer the world.

Kenya’s life is turned upside down as she embarks on a quest, with fellow guardian, Amit, to find the other amulet pieces before the dark forces from the underworld find them first. As her story progresses she learns to step out from the shadows and become a true heroine; and this growth in character continues in the sequel: Child of Gabriel: -The Return of the Nephanaks.

Anne Maria, who returned to teaching with the desire not just to encourage pupils academically but to help students on the periphery realise their potential, says: ‘The two main characters are black and Asian. I wanted to write books that reflect the diverse ethnicities in this nation. I hope this book will help to inspire more children from various ethnic backgrounds to read and write profusely in all genres’.

About the author:
Anne Maria Raithatha is a mathematics and science teacher at St. Martin’s School in Northwood.

Anne Marie co-wrote British Born Asian and Proud, which won an Edinburgh Fringe First in 2000 and then the children’s TV series My Life as a Popat, which won a BAFTA in 2005 and RTS and Broadcast awards in 2008.

She is also a speaker at children’s and adults’ events.

Anne Maria lives in North London, is married and has two children.  

For review copies and media enquiries contact Manoj: [email protected] Tel: 07932 463 591

Child of Gabriel (ISBN: 978-1-909728-36-3) by Anne Maria Raithatha is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 24th March 2016 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online. Fiction, paperback, 160pp, £6.99.

NOTES FOR EDITORS: St. Martin’s School achieved outstanding results this year. From a cohort of 36 boys 24 scholarships were achieved with the majority being offered places at top independent schools Merchant Taylors’ and Haberdashers’ Aske’s.

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