Our Story Starts in Africa

Publisher: Magic Cat

When Paloma visits her family in Trinidad, she loves the warm sun and drinking fresh coconut water. But her cousins won’t play with her because she doesn’t talk like them. They say she’s not family. Then Tante Janet tells her a story… a story of ancient combs, of warrior queens and treasures, of beautiful fabrics and of storytelling. All set in Africa. And starring people just like Paloma.

This is a beautifully told story of Black history that encompasses human achievements, like peaceful trading, painting, weaving and writing. But Lawrence doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable elements, such as war and slavery. Tante Janet explains everything in a child-friendly manner to the questioning Paloma, and is never patronising. This is perfectly pitched at young children who want to learn more about their family – or anyone else’s family.

The delightful illustrations add warmth and detail to Trinidadian life, and to the historical events discussed. Cleverly, the depictions of history have an almost sepia tone to them, contrasting with the bright Caribbean colours. With a note from the author at the back, and two pages of further answers to common questions, this is a book to share with children of all ages.

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