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Carrol May Nelson: Manchester Author brings African Caribbean diaspora into children's education

Carrol Nelson is a Children’s book author who is determined to balance the representation of children of colour in books. I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrol to find out more about the inspiration behind the series.

Her first book Dolly May and the Magical Enchanted Garden was published in 2019. Carrol’s inspiration came from her own childhood, growing up in the ‘Windrush generation’. Carrol was left in Jamaica when her parents emigrated to the UK. She was raised by her grandmother and was encouraged to read and write, something Carrol said continued when she eventually moved to the UK as a young teenager.

After a difficult time in her life, Carrol was inspired to explore her passion for writing and she wrote several titles that she never published.

But in 2015 she was introduced to a publisher who showed her how to develop her writing and in Carrol’s words; “Something magical happened” and the Dolly May series was created.

"Research shows that when children see themselves represented in picture books it makes them feel valuable and part of society. I want to encourage children to dream big and know they can do anything".

Carrol says:

“Growing up in the Caribbean, we were always told imaginative stories. My grandmother would tell us stories all the time, It’s part of the culture. As I was developing the story there was a lot of political tensions brewing that were not showing our men in a good light. So, as I worked on the characters, I wanted to show children that they are valuable, and they are important. They get the opportunity in the book, to meet key figures and influencers who did great things in the world. The aim is to develop children’s self-worth and confidence. They meet Martin Luther King who was a great activist and one of the greatest influencers in the world, they meet Nelson Mandela, and we have ‘hidden figures’ that encourage children to explore science, they meet Mary Seacole – my own background is in nursing but growing up I didn’t know about her. Many children are not taught about these people in schools”.

Carrol refers to a recent report by the centre of learning for primary education, that highlights the lack of representation in books for children of colour. They are not represented as main characters in books. She says that this book aims to educate not just children, but teachers and parents to realise the richness of our literature and that children are missing out (because of this).

Watch the interview with Carrol May Nelson:

Carrol adds:

“Research shows that when children see themselves represented in picture books it makes them feel valuable and part of society. I want to encourage children to dream big and know they can do anything. I want to teach them that our people have been great contributors and our ancestors have done some great things in the world, but there’s no value placed on that to make us wake up feeling good about ourselves. So, this is what my first book is about, adding value to education and enriching children’s literature skills, and their academic learning and their mental health and wellbeing.”

Dolly May and the Magical Enchanted Garden is accompanied by a range of children’s clothing and accessories, including a book bag, shopper, and cooking time aprons. It aims to offer a cultural experience that can add value to all children’s education and ensure all children feel valued.

Scroll the images below to view some of the merchandise available online at:

The Book also available in Libraries and book shops including Amazon


Thank you Nova. Yes the new book is now out: Dolly May and Mally's Alphabet Game available to buy a signed copy at my website :


You look like a teenager there Carrol! We are so proud of you! Is the next book out yet??

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