From education to employment

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:

“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:

Key Stage 1Maria CabungcalHelping OthersAshley Bates, The Shed School
Key Stage 2Reina OdaSpecial SensesAshley Bates, The Shed School
Key Stage 3Sophia Branch & Ella KingstonNo such thing as normalDeborah Maclaren, Love4Reading
Key Stage 4Aditi DanielRepresentationMiriam Halahmy, poet
Key Stage 5Iona MandalBelongingAnnie Everall, Authors Aloud
WalesAva JamesMy MillieMichelle Searle, Coram Beanstalk
ScotlandEmmanuella ShodunkeOut of PlaceAnnie Everall, Authors Aloud
Northern IrelandJacob PozniakTransgender RepresentationSue Baston, School Library Association
Sophie CampbellGallery
East MidlandsImogen PlaterRepresenting women’s bodies in modern societyTim Judge, National Literacy Trust
West MidlandsBahar KayaniEmpty MinefieldsSara Browne, Coram Beanstalk
South EastEmma AppahDear Ghetto GirlKatherine Kulli, Coram Beanstalk
South WestEden Collin O’HareMartha BrownEmma Braithwaite, The Reading Trust
East AngliaMillie GravesA Faint ShadowTim Judge, National Literacy Trust
Yorkshire & HumberDija JonaviciuteA woman’s rightClaire Dorer, NASS
North EastLleyton RennieI have a dreamSue Baston, School Library Association
North WestSoha ShabazOne smile means a lotAnna Reeves, Ace Centre
LondonNora KadarSmileJemma 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

Related Articles