John Agard’s Windrush Child

Publisher: Walker

A young boy is waving goodbye to all he’s ever known – his grandmother, palm trees and the shores of his Caribbean home. He and his parents are stepping into an adventure across the ocean in search of something new. Ahead of him are rough waters, the journey is long, but a new beginning is on the horizon. As the Empire Windrush ship rocks him to sleep, his parents tell him bedtime stories of their former island life filled with colour, family and juicy mangoes.

When they finally arrive at their new home, the young boy is weary – and cold! As soon as he is settled, he is sure to write a letter to his beloved grandmother about his big boat adventure to England, new challenges he has faced, what his new school is like and the friends he has made.

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, John Agard’s touching poem Windrush Child is brought to life for young readers. The lyrical poem recalls the journey made by thousands of Caribbean families who travelled to Britain as part of the Windrush Generation between 1948 and 1971.

For some young children, extra discussion and explanation may be needed but   Sophie Bass’ bold and vibrant illustrations – a vibrancy that reflects the culture and contribution made by the Windrush Generation – also help to tell the story. The backmatter includes a useful note from the author where he details the first Empire Windrush journey and discusses the powerful impact Caribbean culture has had on British culture.

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