Coming to England

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Floella Benjamin, a celebrated writer, actress and television presenter, originally published her memoir Coming to England for junior readers in 1995. This attractive picture-book version simplifies her tale, making it accessible to a much younger audience. The story begins in Trinidad, where Floella lives with her parents and five siblings, and describes her move to England in 1960, aged 10, as part of the Windrush generation. The simple text provides just the right level of detail, selecting elements of Floella’s tale which young children will understand, such as moving home and starting a new school.

Vibrant illustrations evoke the colour, heat and joy of life on the Caribbean island, which contrasts with the subdued grey tones of the English school playground, where her classmates initially refuse play with Floella because she is black. The artwork superbly reflects Floella’s experiences, effectively portraying her sadness at being left in Trinidad, while her parents set up home in London; her excitement at the fifteen-day voyage on an enormous ship to join them; and the realisation of her childhood dream of meeting the Queen. A wonderful book which explores an important part British history.

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