Windrush Child
Author: Benjamin Zephaniah
For Juniors/KS2
Price 6.99 paperback
Book(s) at 6.99 paperback
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Windrush Child Leonard leaves Jamaica at the age of ten to join his father who was a passenger on the ship, Empire Windrush - a name now synonymous with that generation of Caribbean men and women who responded to calls to help the 'mother country' rebuild after the 2nd World War. The young boy tells the story of the new life his parents have chosen and makes many comparisons between life in Jamaica and that of their new home in Manchester where his father works as a bus driver. Schools in Jamaica taught only British history, but Leonard's beloved Grandmother has given him a fierce pride in his own Jamaican heritage teaching him about the Maroons who fought against slavery, and about soldiers, like his grandfather, who fought on the side of Britain in the First World War. This independent spirit allows Leonard to question the treatment of families like his own in this country where they are supposedly citizens and where he encounters much racism and ignorance, even from friendly teachers and potential school friends. Although the ending loses some immediacy as it accelerates through Leonard's adult life to his incarceration in a detention centre where the appellation Windrush Child is now also a byword for a national scandal, the novel raises many issues over the legacy of empire, citizenship and the treatment of minorities, most successfully when we see the world through eyes of the ten year old boy, puzzling over its many contradictions.