Nineteen students across the UK represent in a diverse new publication

Nineteen students across the UK represent in a diverse new publication

A girl shedding female stereotypes; a passionate call to end the misrepresentation of women’s bodies; children feeling lost as they fall between two cultures – all these tales, and much more besides, are now out in a new book released today by leading digital media learning company, Pearson.

My Twist on a Tale: Represent! which launched at the end of last year, encouraged children and young people between the ages of 4–19 to shine a light on the page, representing what, and who, they feel is being left out in literature today. All 18 winning entries have been compiled in to a brand-new illustrated book, My Twist on a Tale: Represent! launching today with audio versions also coming soon.

Highlights include 16-year-old Iona Mandal’s work Belonging which centres around a British Bangladeshi pupil who feels forgotten in the classroom, while Reina Oda, aged 8, was recognised for her story, The Special Senses, which sees a blind refugee boy and a deaf girl from Iran feeling isolated and lonely until their special senses save lives.

Elsewhere, Dija Jonaviciute, aged 10 won the Yorkshire and Humber category with her story, A woman’s right, tackling female stereotypes, while 15-year-old Aditi Daniel’s story, Represent, won the KS4 category for the portrayal of a girl struggling to identify as either Scottish or Indian.

Speaking about her win, Aditi, who attends Lenzie Academy in Glasgow, said: “When I entered the competition I wasn’t expecting to win at all, but it’s a really good feeling to know that this story, a topic that’s so close to home, can hopefully mean something to other people feeling stuck in between cultures too. I’m really grateful!”

Lindsay Nadin at Pearson said:

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“Our School Report last year showed that only 1 in 20 teachers felt that education in schools reflects the diversity of pupils’ lives.[1] As part of our long-term commitments to broad choice, representation and change in UK schools, we felt compelled to open the door further with My Twist on a Tale: Represent, allowing children and young people to shine a light on new voices and topics that might not be found elsewhere.

“The stories and poems submitted this year were exceptional. It is a privilege to give so many budding young authors this creative opportunity to explore their values, passions and experiences with others. Huge congratulations to everyone who entered.”

This year’s competition was supported by a range of partners including Ace Centre, Authors Aloud, Coram Beanstalk, Governor Cymru Services, Love Reading, LGBTed, National Literacy Trust, NASS, Parentkind, School Library Association, Stamma and The Reading Agency.

[1] The Pearson School Report, July 2022, accessible here

The winning entries include:

Category Winner Title Judge
Key Stage 1 Maria Cabungcal Helping Others Ashley Bates, The Shed School
Key Stage 2 Reina Oda Special Senses Ashley Bates, The Shed School
Key Stage 3 Sophia Branch & Ella Kingston No such thing as normal Deborah Maclaren, Love4Reading
Key Stage 4 Aditi Daniel Representation Miriam Halahmy, poet
Key Stage 5 Iona Mandal Belonging Annie Everall, Authors Aloud
Wales Ava James My Millie Michelle Searle, Coram Beanstalk
Scotland Emmanuella Shodunke Out of Place Annie Everall, Authors Aloud
Northern Ireland Jacob Pozniak Transgender Representation Sue Baston, School Library Association
Sophie Campbell Gallery
East Midlands Imogen Plater Representing women’s bodies in modern society Tim Judge, National Literacy Trust
West Midlands Bahar Kayani Empty Minefields Sara Browne, Coram Beanstalk
South East Emma Appah Dear Ghetto Girl Katherine Kulli, Coram Beanstalk
South West Eden Collin O’Hare Martha Brown Emma Braithwaite, The Reading Trust
East Anglia Millie Graves A Faint Shadow Tim Judge, National Literacy Trust
Yorkshire & Humber Dija Jonaviciute A woman’s right Claire Dorer, NASS
North East Lleyton Rennie I have a dream Sue Baston, School Library Association
North West Soha Shabaz One smile means a lot Anna Reeves, Ace Centre
London Nora Kadar Smile Jemma Wallace, author

To find out more about Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale: Represent! and to download a copy of the book, please visit

Nineteen students across the UK represent in a diverse new publication was published on FE News by Pearson Schools


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