We are so lucky to have so many gorgeous new picture books to help children learn about an important part of the United Kingdom’s recent history – the journey of the Empire Windrush and the stories of its passengers who set sail in search of a new life.
“One day, Ava is asked to dress as an inspirational figure for assembly at school, but who should she choose? Granny suggests famous familiar figures such as Winifred Atwell, Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks, and tells Ava all about their fascinating histories, but Ava’s classmates have got there first – and she must choose someone else. But who?
And then Ava finds a mysterious old suitcase – Granny’s “grip” – and Granny begins to share her own history, and how she came to England on the Empire Windrush many years ago. She tells her story through the precious items that accompanied her on the original voyage, each one evoking a memory of home, and as Ava listens to how Granny built a life for herself in England, determined to stay against the odds and despite overwhelming homesickness, she realises that there is a hero very close to home that she wants to celebrate more than anyone – her very own brave and beloved granny.”
You know that any story written by the amazing Patrice Lawrence is going to be pure quality, and this is certainly the case in this inspirational, heart-warming story. I enjoyed the way that several inspirational characters from history were woven into the book and introduced to readers. There’s definitely plenty there to be admired!
Alongside the historical figures introduced, there is also the rather touching story of Granny’s life as a young woman in a strange new country. Watching her become more confident after initially struggling with adapting to the British climate and way of life, then finding happiness definitely gave me a warm fuzzy feeling!
I could imagine using this in the classroom with a suitcase of special objects, full of memories just like Granny’s. What would children take to remind them of home if they were moving to a whole new country?
*Many thanks to Nosy Crow for sending me this copy to review*