Kid’s Book Review: We Sang Across the Sea

Kid’s Book Review: We Sang Across the Sea

About the Book, Poet and Illustrator

We Sang Across the Sea is brightly coloured picture book about the voyage of HMT Empire Windrush from national treasure, Benjamin Zephaniah. The hopes, dreams and bravery of the Windrush generation are expressed in verse telling the real-life experiences of Trinidadian musician, Mona Baptiste.
As you can see from some of the pages we have photographed below the book is beautifully illustrated by the extraordinary artist, Onyinye Iwu.

The arrival of the Windrush in 1948 is celebrated each year on Windrush Day, 22 June – this is a really good book to introduce this part of British history to young readers.

We Sang Across the Sea

Benjamin Zephaniah recently won a BAFTA for his Sky Arts show, Life & Rhymes, a showcase of some of Britain’s finest poets. We invite you to visit his website to learn more about one of the UK’s most distinctive contemporary poets.

Onyinye Iwu is a Nigerian illustrator and author. She was born in Italy where she spent her childhood, then moved to the UK. Onyinye enjoys reading books and drawing patterns.

Book Review

I was happy when her dream to become a singer came true

When I got this book I thought it looked really bright and fun. I had not heard of this author or illustrator before, but I would recommend this author and illustrator to other people.

This is a story about Mona Baptiste who grew up in the Caribbean in Trinidad, she was born in 1928 and she came to Europe to fulfill her dream of being a singer, she wanted to bring joy to everyone by singing to them. I think the pictures were linked very well to the story and that they were really bright and colourful and I think other people would like it too. I thought it was a bit sad when she left her family but I found it really happy when she made her dream come true.

The book made me think that if I had to leave home to travel to a foreign land I would feel lonely and sad but also excited as this is something I would really like to do.

I like that it is a rhyming book although sometimes it was difficult to make it flow when I was reading it out loud. I think I am a little bit old for this book but I think I would like it if I was a bit younger. I think it is suitable for children over four years old.

I would give it an 8 out of 10 for children who are between 4-6 years old.



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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Olly young reviewer
  • Name: Olly
  • Age: 7 years
  • Likes: playing cards, woodland walks and going to the park
  • Dislikes: broccoli and green beans
  • Favourite Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Favourite Song: Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson