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Romford teacher advocates for diversity and inclusion with children’s book about different types of families

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 October 2018

Teacher Dean Russell-Rands with his new book and Shadow, his cat who features in Loved, Cuddled & Tickled Too.

Teacher Dean Russell-Rands with his new book and Shadow, his cat who features in Loved, Cuddled & Tickled Too.

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A Romford teacher was inspired to write a book about inclusion after seeing how much his pupils valued having their unique experiences represented in media.

Teacher Dean Russell-Rands with his new book.Teacher Dean Russell-Rands with his new book.

Dean Russell-Rands, 29, from Carlton Road published his children’s book Loved, Cuddled & Tickled Too on September 2.

He came out as a gay man at his last school and was surprised at how quick the children were to accept him.

“There was a girl in my class who at the moment I came out said, ‘I’ve got a gay brother too’.

“Sometimes it takes a lesson or a story to make children feel comfortable talking about these things.

“Children aren’t prejudiced, it’s learned behaviour.”

Loved, Cuddled & Tickled Too is a rhyming book that features a range of families including one with two dads, as well as a single parent family.

“There aren’t enough books that families can see themselves in,” said Dean.

“I taught a lesson in my last class and we had pictures of different families on the board.

“A mixed race family came up on the board and a mixed race pupil put her hand up and said, ‘that’s me’.

“She was so excited and it just shows that there’s not a wide of representation of families out there.”

As a primary school teacher, Dean focused on writing a book for younger children.

“Lots of parents have already bought the book and people at the George Carey Primary School in Barking bought some of the books for the children.

“It’s been a really positive experience. I’m not worried about my own success. It’s just nice to get the message out there.

Dean became a supply teacher so that he could have more time to focus on his writing, and now he works in Havering, Thurrock and Barking and Dagenham.

“I’ve had conversations at the George Carey Primary School about how as teachers and people working in schools we need to do our best to show equality.

“Having more text, posters and a range of resources in schools would be so useful.”

Loved, Cuddled & Tickled Too is available to buy on Amazon.

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