Launching Many Voices

Oxford Poetry Library and The Children’s Allotment are excited to launch a anti-racist collection of children’s books 

The Many Voices Collection is a collection featuring Black characters, written by Black writers, or which centre an anti-racist message. These books form part of the Oxford Poetry Library’s lending collection, free to be borrowed and enjoyed for free by kids and adults alike.

People can borrow the books from Oxford Poetry Library’s online catalogue or can browse the collection at a pop-up stall on Saturday 12 December, 12.00 – 15.00 at Flo’s – The Place in The Park

Following the racist incidents of 2020 such as the murder of George Floyd and the global Black Lives Matter movement, a group of parents and educators connected to and Oxford Poetry Library and The Children’s Allotment came together to question the racism implicit in the education system and the kinds of books and learning materials our children has access to. 

The Many Voices Collection seeks to address the gap in representation and build a diverse, colourful, and engaging collection of books for any family. The 48 books in the Many Voices collection include not only anti-racist books about understanding and challenging injustice, but also stories written by Black authors featuring Black characters: stories in which children could find diverse representations of themselves and their families, as well as those that are different.

Read more about the collection here or see our FAQ for more information about how we put the collection together.

How to borrow from the Many Voices Collection

The collection is hosted by the Oxford Poetry Library and can be viewed in full in their catalogue here. If you would like to request or reserve a particular book, please email more details about when and where the library will be popping up, see here.

Lantern Parade

On the 11th of November 2019, families gathered at The Children’s Allotment to take part in our first lantern parade, to celebrate the seasonal time of the growing darkness.

Children brought home-made paper lanterns which were lit from within by candles. We learned songs around the fire and then processed around the local area singing and carrying the lanterns.

Then everyone came back to The Children’s Allotment to warm themselves by the fire with soup and home-made apple cake.

Celebrating our harvest

On the 6th of October 2019, we hosted a harvest event for families to celebrate the fruits of our labour.

We grew loads of pumpkins in the summer and so made a huge pot of pumpkin soup. We also pressed juice from apples from our own orchard – the children loved the taste of fresh juice!

We had fun telling stories and singing songs around the fire and we even had a few musicians show up with their instruments!

Our achievements so far

From the time we finally got the keys to The Children’s Allotment site in March 2018, we achieved so much! In our first year we held:

  • 18 workdays to clear and renovate the site, which were each attended by volunteers from the local community with 210 attendances over the year, with a total contribution of 520 volunteer hours.
  • 3 corporate volunteer workdays, through which we hosted 27 volunteers from HSBC, Brookes University and Pearsons to donate 91 volunteer hours on the site.
  • 11 discussion group events where attendees were able to discuss alternative educational and childcare pedagogies and approaches. They were attended by around 10 adults on average for each event. 
  • 4 film showings to watch documentaries about alternative education pedagogies, which attracted interested parents and educators, with 36 attendances in total.
  • 4 workshops hosted by an expert facilitators covering a specific aspect of alternative education such as Steiner or democratic pedagogies, which attracted interested parents and educators, with 102 attendances in total. 
  • 7 Forest School / Outdoor play drop in sessions attended by local families with 77 attendances from adults and 76 from children
  • 2 open information events and 1 social event attended by around 24 adults in total.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers and attendees for an amazing year!

Watch our first work-day!

On our very first workday on The Children’s Allotment site on 25th March 2018, we had over 30 people lend a hand with loppers and forks.

We started to cut our way through the bramble jungle that had grown over the site, which had previously been abandoned for around 10 years.

We were also covered in an article in the Oxford Mail (read it here).

You can watch our progress below!