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Young Enterprise children’s book wins acclaim

OpenBooks LogoThe Young Enterprise Company Programme is a scheme that encourages entrepreneurship in young people (ages 15–19) and hosts an annual, national competition in which participating groups present the product or service they have created.

Open Books, a Young Enterprise company comprising ten Year 12 students from Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, London, has already proceeded through two stages of the competition this year with their picture book inspired by the refugee crisis. Hannah and Halil tells the story of a young Syrian refugee called Halil, who is befriended by Hannah at his new school in London. At first, Halil feels alone because he has no one to play with, but once he meets Hannah they go to the park, build a den and play with their ball. The Open Books team wrote and designed the story together; the book is illustrated throughout in colour by fellow student Nicolás Geisler-Toran. A portion of the profits is being used to support the company members’ own volunteer work with refugees.

Student Daphne de Bestegui explains: “We were inspired by the work that Care4Calais was doing in Northern France, and wanted to create something that would raise awareness about the crisis in Syria and might change the attitude that people have towards refugees (and immigrants in general). We thought that the best way to instil a tolerant attitude and open mind would be to start from a young age, with literature.”

Open Books won “Best Company” and “Most Innovative Idea” Awards at the Local Area (Hammersmith and Ealing) Young Enterprise Final on 21 March, as well as the “Best Company” award at the West London Final on 3 May. The company is now through to the London Final on 8 June.

The students have plans to build on their success, developing a series of children’s books addressing different social issues, each with the message of tolerance, resolution and inclusion. Their next book confronts gender stereotypes and is in the making.

HannahHalilcoverHannah and Halil is available for £5 and can be purchased directly through Open Books via email - info@openbooks.space or through their website, as well as through Amazon (print/Kindle). You can follow Open Books on Facebook and Twitter.

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