John Agard’s Windrush Child
John Agard and Sophie Bass
With a final embrace from his Gran, Windrush child waves farewell to his Caribbean home, and with his parents, boards a ship to sail across the ocean to Britain and a new life. As the blue waters roll past, the boy’s parents remember ‘story time yard and mango mornings’ as they anticipate fresh beginnings in the hope that everything will turn out all right.
The child recalls his grandmother’s parting entreaty to remember to write as she bestows that last fond hug.
On dry land at last, as the family walk away from the ship, they feel unsure on their feet. Then once ensconced in a new home, Windrush child keeps his word, telling his grandmother in a letter about ‘stepping into history, bringing your Caribbean eye to another horizon’ her words but now winging their way back.
Meanwhile the new arrivals have much to learn about this place where so much is different and where so many challenges await. For as poet John Agard writes in his author’s note, those from the Empire Windrush and many other ships brought with them ‘Caribbean culture’ that ‘had such a powerful and positive impact on British culture’ making Britain a much better place because of them.
The author’s hugely moving, lyrical and haunting evocation of the journey families of the Windrush generation made is rendered all the more powerful by Sophie Bass’ vibrant illustrations – a vibrancy that truly reflects the richness of the contribution made by those who came.
An important book that needs to be shared as widely as possible in homes and primary schools.