Review of Windrush Child: The Tale of a Caribbean Child Who Faced a New Horizon

Windrush Child: The Tale of a Caribbean Child Who Faced a New Horizon Windrush Child: The Tale of a Caribbean Child Who Faced a New Horizon
by John Agard; illus. by Sophie Bass
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
4/23    9781536228533    $18.99

Beginning in 1948, thousands of people traveled from the Caribbean to England aboard a ship named the Empire ­Windrush. For some, the visit was temporary during England’s postwar reconstruction; for others, relocation was permanent. This book, dedicated to “one of the youngest passengers to have made that Windrush journey,” centers on a child and his parents who leave their extended family and lush island home, bound for England. Concise rhyming text foregrounds prepositions: “Behind you / Windrush child / palm trees wave goodbye / above you / Windrush child /­seabirds asking why.” Once aboard the ship, the child thinks of all the things that symbolize home and family, such as “mango mornings,” “storytime verandas,” and reminders from Grandmother to write. After a long voyage, the child and his parents land in England, “stepping into history / bringing your Caribbean eye / to another horizon.” Gouache and pen illustrations make an immediate impact with their use of vivid colors; plants, skies, and seascapes are often rendered in surprising shades (e.g., a coral sky, orange palm trees). Illustrations frequently contrast the two locations while making use of visual metaphors for migration and movement: birds, flying fish, falling stars, kites, snow. This gentle tale of migration affirms the possibility of starting anew while maintaining bonds with home and family abroad. An author’s note contextualizes this episode in Caribbean history.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam

Julie Hakim Azzam is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in literary and cultrual studies, with a specialization in comparative contemporary postcolonial literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

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