ABSTRACT

In 1971, in British Children’s Books in the 20th Century, Frank Eyre wrote that, “Although children’s books written in English are now beginning to appear from other parts of the Commonwealth there are no other national schools of writing as yet.”3 He mentions two writers, Andrew Salkey and C. Everard Palmer, as representatives of the West Indies; and John Rowe Townsend, in Written for Children (1990 edition), adds one more, the poet and short-story writer James Berry. These passing references to post-Windrush (see p. 92) black British writers are not only insulting; they are misleading, furthering the image of the West Indies as a backward, undereducated place bereft of artistic forms of expression. In fact, quite the opposite was true, and the wide variety of voices and topics of children’s literature by British West Indian authors became obvious by the late 1960s. However, literature written by these authors was not always easily available, and that which was available often furthered stereotypes about the West Indies and West Indians.