Venessa Taylor is the author behind new junior reader series, All Cultures United: Baller Boys
Venessa Taylor brings two decades of experience as an inner-city primary school teacher and assistant headteacher to the creation of the Baller Boys series.
Aimed at encouraging young boys to find pleasure in reading, the football-themed stories are written with young readers in mind. Born and raised in London, Venessa continues her legacy and passion as a literacy leader through her creative writing.
One of her proudest career achievements was successfully raising the standards of reading across KS2, with a focus on reluctant readers and improving boy’s engagement in reading for pleasure.
Venessa researched and identified what students would respond best to in terms of content, characters and setting. She soon realised that what the boys wanted to read about was not readily available, so took the challenge upon herself to inspire and encourage more young people–boys in particular-to read.
Venessa wrote the Baller Boys series to empower young readers, to reflect the diversity football brings in a community, and showcase different families, lives and challenges.
Venessa continues to be inspired daily by her grandsons. The stories are dedicated to her son-in-law, ‘Coach Reece’, who died suddenly in 2017 - Reece Darcheville and his wife (Venessa’s daughter) Shenna, were an integral part of the development of the story ideas, plot lines and characters.
With her family’s input and insight from the children she has taught over the years, Venessa is proud to have crafted an authentic, original, inclusive series that she hopes all young readers will enjoy–in and out of school!
Late Reece Darcheville
Venessa has three daughters - Shenna, Mari, Raia-Sunshine and two grandsons - Shay and Rayne
With Venessa's family input and insight from children she has taught over the years, Venessa is proud to have crafted an authentic, original, inclusive series that she hopes all young readers will enjoy–in and out of school!
Sadly, following blood tests in 2016 Venessa was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. She was told she would need a stem cell transplant to improve her chance of survival. Venessa is however in remission, despite having never found a donor.
In November 2017 Venessa was medically retired from teaching.
Venessa’s heritage is Afro Caribbean and her donor will most likely come from the same background.
This can be particularly difficult due to the lack of donors from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnicity.
Venessa is an ambassador for various leukaemia and cancer charities.
You could be a match for Venessa or anyone else in need of a blood stem cell donation.
Message from Venessa
“The world is so much bigger than me so there must be a reason why leukaemia found me.
There is a huge lack of awareness about blood stem cell donation within our community and I want to help change that.
Please take the time to consider registering as a stem cell donor, it could be one of the most important things you ever do.”
If you have an opportunity to save someone’s life in such a simple way, why wouldn’t you?”