Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush

Nosy Crow. May 2023. 32p. $17.99. ISBN 9798887770338.
Gr 1-4–Ava loves spending time with her granny, singing songs from Trinidad. But today Ava is preoccupied with the need to find a costume for school; students are supposed to dress up as someone they admire. Together, Granny and Ava look through old clothes from “a trunk where you could dive inside and come out as someone completely different.” Granny suggests musician Winifred Atwell, nurse Mary Seacole, and activist Rosa Parks, but none are quite right. At the bottom of the trunk is Granny’s cardboard suitcase from her journey from Trinidad to England on the Empire Windrush, a ship that transported thousands of immigrants to the UK between 1948 and 1971. When Granny tells her own story of moving to a new country alone and making a life there, Ava decides on the person she admires most, and on the final pages, she wears her granny’s blue hat and yellow coat and carrying her cardboard grip. Granny and Ava have dark brown skin and black hair, and their shapes are gently rounded; their love, warmth, and closeness shine from the page. Sucre uses color effectively, with Granny’s signature yellow standing out against an otherwise more muted background of English autumn and winter. An author’s note reveals the autobiographical nature of the work but doesn’t include information about the significance of the Empire Windrush or the history of migration from the Caribbean to Britain.
VERDICT A family story with a close intergenerational bond and broad significance that is highly recommended.

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