Coming to England
Illustrated by Joelle AvelinoAges 9-12
The 25th anniversary edition of Baroness Floella Benjamin's classic memoir, Coming to England. With a foreword by the author and some additional historical information, this is the incredible story of Floella's journey from Trinidad to London, as part of the Windrush generation, to the House of Lords. It is gloriously illustrated throughout by Joelle Avelino, perfect for readers aged 9+.
Floella Benjamin was just a young girl when she, her sister and two brothers arrived in England in 1960 to join their parents, whom they had not seen for fifteen months. They had left their island home of Trinidad to make a new life in London – part of a whole generation of West Indians who were encouraged to move to Britain and help rebuild the country after the Second World War.
Reunited with her mother, Floella was too overwhelmed at first to care about the cold weather and the noise and dirt from the traffic. But, as her new life began, she was shocked and distressed by the rejection she experienced. She soon realized that the only way to survive was to work twice as hard and be twice as good as anyone else.
This inspirational story is a powerful reminder of how courage and determination can overcome adversity.
First published more than twenty years ago and as resonant now as it was then, Floella Benjamin's story of her journey from one way of life in Trinidad to another in London is a brilliant memoir that also speaks to universal experiences of children coming to the UK. Benjamin's upbeat personality infuses the story and gives hope without diminishing the challenge of assimilation.
Julia Eccleshare, Guardian