Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah

Windrush Child is a story about what it means to be British and the protection of human rights. Written with compassion, insight and purpose, it delves deep into the realities faced by so many families who were a part of the Windrush generation.

Leonard is a small child in 1950’s Jamaica. His parents are very proud to be British subjects and dream of rebuilding the motherland whilst creating a new life for themselves. Their passports are their ultimate security, tickets to this promise of a better future for themselves and, more importantly, for their son.  Leonard doesn’t understand this dream. He doesn’t want to leave his home, his friends or his grandmother.   When Leonard’s father leaves for Britain on the HMT Empire Windrush, Leonard and his mother must wait until there is enough money to join him.

Finally, the time comes for them to wave good-bye to Jamaica. Leonard’s mother is full of hope but he is miserable. This new life is not what he was promised. Leonard is faced with discrimination, bullying and racism at every turn. Confused and unhappy, he doesn’t understand his father’s explanations of the benefits of job security, healthcare and pensions. In his mind, it isn’t worth it. It isn’t worth the wrongdoings he sees every day.

Told through innocent eyes, Windrush Child is an incredibly powerful story of the loss of that innocence. A country that once promised so much no longer wants him there and threatens to send him away – away from everything he and his parents have worked so hard for. This book is a must-read not only for children learning about the history of Britain but also for adults who are not aware of these injustices.

Thank you to Scholastic for this important book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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