‘The Place for Me’ contains twelve tales of sacrifice and bravery inspired by first-hand account of the Windrush generation. They have been written by: K.N. Chimbiri, Kevin George, Salena Godden, Judy Hepburn, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Jermain Jackman, Kirsty Latoya, Katy Massey, E.L. Norry, and Quincy the Comedian. It also features a foreword by Dame Floella Benjamin – herself one of the Windrush generation.
Each one of these stories helps bring into focus the experience of Black British people at the time. Many Caribbeans had answered the government’s call to come to Britain and help rebuild the country after the Second World War, but the welcome they received was not what they expected.
Faced with prejudice, resentment, and in some instances violence, the Windrush generation was still instrumental in rebuilding the railways, NHS, and worked tirelessly to provide a better life for their own families.
The stories are interspersed with fact files and photos which bring the era to life for the reader and help them realise that the stories they’ve just read actually did happen to real people. People just like them.
Unfortunately, the ongoing ‘Windrush Scandal’ has meant that many of the Windrush generation have found themselves threatened with deportation after living here for many decades. It’s only now that people in Britain are beginning to show some empathy for the resilience and dignity shown by those who often left their own families thousands of miles away to help a country who were largely unwelcoming and suspicious.
Hopefully, the Black Lives Matter movement will continue to cause a shift in public perceptions and finally put people of all skin colours on a equal footing. It is only through educating our children about previous mistakes made and encouraging them to look past the colour of someone’s skin, that we can begin to hope for meaningful change in our society.
Books like this one, and many others, highlighting injustices, books featuring characters of varied ethnicities, and books celebrating the rich cultural diversity of our world are fundamental in helping this change happen.
For other titles about the Windrush generation, click HERE.
*Many thanks to Scholastic for sending me this title to review*