Soon Come Home to This Island

West Indians in British Children's Literature

By Karen Sands-O'Connor

© 2007 – Routledge

258 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415542210
pub: 2012-10-10
US Dollars$48.95
Hardback: 9780415976305
pub: 2007-07-26
US Dollars$147.00

About the Book

Soon Come Home to This Island traces the representation of West Indian characters in British children's literature from 1700 to today. This book challenges traditional notions of British children's literature as mono-cultural by illuminating the contributions of colonial and postcolonial-era Black British writers. The author examines the varying depictions of West Indian islands and peoples in a wide range of picture books, novels, textbooks, and popular periodicals published over the course of more than 300 years. An excellent resource for any children's literature student or scholar, the book includes a chronological bibliography of primary source material that includes West Indian characters and twenty black-and-white illustrations that chart the changes in visual representations of West Indians over time.


"Thanks to Karen Sands-O'Connor's seminal study, readers can now learn more about the representations of West Indians and their culture in British children's literature." -- Bookbird, vol. 47, No. 1, 2009

"…the author has produced such an authoritative volume, and one filling a huge hole in our literary knowledge…such extensive and groundbreaking research." -- Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"A welcome addition to the recent body of work on race in children's literature alongside authors like Donnarae McCann, Michelle Martin and Roderick McGillis." --Phyllis Ramage, Wasafiri, No. 60, Winter 2009

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword

Preface: Soon Come Home

1. This Island for England: Early Depictions of the West Indies

2. The Black Man’s Lament: Enlisting Child Readers in the Fight over Slavery

3. A Small Corner of the Empire: The West Indies in Literature of the Victorian Era

4. School on an Island: Geographies, School Stories, and Comics in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

5. The Winds of Change: The West Indian Comes to Britain

6. Happy Families?: British Picture Books After 1970

7. This Island for Me: Black British Writers

Conclusion: The Avenging Caribbean

Works Cited


About the Author

Karen Sands-O'Connor is Associate Professor of English at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York where she teaches children's and twentieth century British literature. She is co-author, with Marietta Frank, of Back in the Spaceship Again: Juvenile Science Fictions Series since 1945 (1999).

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature