LONDON – Phina Oruche (Anthony and Taken Down, BBC; Footballers’ Wives, ITV) has turned her hand to a different kind of storytelling during the Covid-19 lockdown. The result is a series of children’s books aimed at inspiring and educating her young son. The second book in the series, Jacopo Jacopo on Lockdown, explores the difficult and timely issues around racism in the UK that have arisen during 2020.
Oruche has been involved in BBC One’s new drama Anthony, which follows the shocking and tragic death of Black teenager Anthony Walker in 2005 in a racially motivated attack. As a Black actress she is proud and honoured to take part in such a personal story; as a friend of Anthony’s mother Gee and the Walker family, she is humbled to lend her support. The importance of telling Anthony’s story, and those of so many others, is clear now more than ever.
Jacopo Jacopo Football Star, Oruche’s debut book, followed a young mixed-race boy on his journey from grassroots football to signing with a Premier League team. The moving sequel reflects the confusing times we have had being locked down, and how they affected Jacopo and his reaction to recent racial events across the world. This age-appropriate response lays bare the delicacy with which a parent must help a young mixed-race boy through these dilemmas.
A native of Liverpool, and proud that the Premier League trophy has returned home after 30 years, Oruche brings to life this incredible and diverse city in her new book series. Penning a story about one Liverpudlian boy’s football journey and the obstacles he overcomes, Oruche aims to inspire children to read now and in the future.
Phina Oruche comments: “I need to illustrate to my son and others that he is a wonderfully made individual. There are some shocking images out there currently and we need to balance that for our children with stories of achievement, told with humour and lots of love. We can, as parent and child together, open up inspirational conversations about these issues.”
Jacopo Jacopo on Lockdown is available on Amazon, Sunday 26th July 2020.