Reviews /

Coming to England

Authored by Floella Benjamin
Illustrated by Diane Ewen
Published by Macmillan

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Coming to England captures the heart and mind right from the turn of the front cover. The brightly designed endpapers encourage the reader to pause and consider what may be beyond the dense foliage. Beyond is the story of a child of the Windrush generation and her journey to the Palace.

Floella is known to so many and was regularly present in my own childhood. It was great to read this book and appreciate the sacrifices her family had made to move to England in the 1960s. The richly illustrated pages by Diane Ewen (illustrator of Never Show a T-Rex a Book) along with the personal narrative, documents each element of Floella’s migration. Firstly the separation from her Dardie and then her Marmie. Her hopes and constant dream of meeting the Queen. The contrasting countries Trinidad and England. And the long voyage to be reunited, in a cold Southampton, with her beloved Marmie. Floella writes that it took a while to settle, but eventually, England became their home.

This is a perfect introduction to the life of Floella Benjamin and the Windrush generation. Children of all ages could investigate her life in more detail and discover what lead her to meet the Queen. It is a story of success and courage in overcoming huge change and adversity.

The original children’s book of the same name is aimed at the junior age group, along with the more recent Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah. Coming to England, the picturebook introduces the story of a child living through this momentous historical generation to younger children with charm and sincerity.