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Coming to England

Written by Floella Benjamin

Illustrated by Joelle Avelino

Key Stage 2 History People / Places

LoveReading View on Coming to England

The 25th anniversary edition of Baroness Floella Benjamin's classic memoir, Coming to England

Floella Benjamin’s touching, well-observed and generously un-judgemental memoir is a classic which is a pertinent now as when it was first published 25 years ago. In a simple story Floella recounts her own experience of her family moving from Trinidad to London when she was a little girl. She brings to life her experience in the family’s original home in Trinidad; the brightness of the light, the joy of Carnival and, above all, the warmth of her family.  She records the pain of separation as, initially, her parents went on ahead to England leaving her and some of her siblings behind and she describes the difficulties of adjusting to the new country when she finally arrives. It is a smart child’s view of migration which is as valuable now as when it was written as well as a stark reminder of the entrenched prejudices of the 1960s. 

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Coming to England Synopsis

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 the island paradise of Trinidad to make a new home 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.

Coming to England Press Reviews

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

Book Information

ISBN: 9781529045444
Publication date: 15th April 2021
Author: Floella Benjamin
Illustrator: Joelle Avelino
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 144 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2
Topics: History, People / Places

About Floella Benjamin

Floella Benjamin was born in Trinidad in 1949 and came to England in 1960. She is an actress, presenter, writer, producer, working peer and an active advocate for the welfare and education of children. She is best known as a presenter of the iconic BBC children's television programmes Play School and Play Away, and she continues to make children's programmes. Her broadcasting work has been recognized with a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA and OBE. She was appointed a Baroness in the House of Lords in 2010. In 2012 she was presented with the prestigious J. M. Barrie Award by Action for Children's Arts, for ...

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