Title: John Asgard’s Windrush Child
Author: John Asgard
Illustrator: Sophie Bass
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Hardback
Description: With one last hug, Windrush child waves goodbye in his Caribbean home and sets sail across the ocean to Britain. In this powerful picture book, full of hope and promise, celebrated poet John Asgard and illustrator Sophie Bass movingly evoke the journey made by children and their families as part of the Windrush Generation.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is an interesting picture book but I’m not sure if children will understand it without adults explaining it to them. Windrush child is on a boat with his parents, saying goodbye to everyone they know. Then Windrush child is on the boat, sailing with others to a land unknown but what will they find when they get there and what experiences will Windrush child have while travelling? The book is wider than A4 in size and is filled with thick glossy pages of really colourful illustrations and some text.
The picture book is a little different to some, written by a poet it is certainly a lovely poem about Windrush Child coming from the Caribbean to start a new life in England. The story follows the child and his parents as they travel on the boat, encountering lots of different people on the boat and eventually ending up in England to start a new lives there. The words of the poem are nice for adults to read, but I’m not sure it will really engage children so much, at least not without explaining what is happening. The story is short, and nice but it doesn’t really explain the Windrush situation to children and I’m just not sure if all kids will understand or feel engaged with this book for the words alone.
There is a page at the end of the book explaining the Windrush generation and what happened. I liked this extra piece of information as I wasn’t aware of the other groups who were on the ship at the time and it made some of the illustrations seen earlier, make better sense on a second read. I do think this information could have been at the start of the book though, to make it easier for children and any adults who don’t know to understand it better.
The illustrations are so wonderful. I love the rich colours that are used. It really sucks you into every page and I adore the bold use of colours and how mesmerising each double page looks! I especially love the very colourful pages in contrast to the slightly duller images of say England and the English houses. The illustrations show the expression of the characters well too and I love how everyone looks and how some of the prejudices and grumpiness of some of the white people in the book is shown through their expressions. It’s subtle but is there and could be talked about more with some children.
Overall I think this book is nice, the illustrations are amazing and the story itself is good. But I do feel as if something is missing and it just felt like the ending, though nice, was a little flat. Maybe it’s the poem aspect of it but I just don’t know if this book is made more for children or the adults reading it as I’m not sure children will really understand what is happening, not without someone’s input to explain. Maybe slightly older children or some who’ve had it explained to them will enjoy it more, especially for those amazing illustrations.
What do you think of this book? Do you like books that explain things like the Windrush Generation to children? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂