Anthology edited by Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles (Commonweath Education Trust Books)
This is rather more than a book of poetry. It’s an introduction to the colourful world of the Caribbean – its scenery, its history and its people. The sleeve notes say it is a collection for 11 to 16 years olds. I think 11 might be a little young, especially for any child new to the cadences and customs of the Caribbean, but perhaps younger children who know the culture will cope fine. And I agree that 16 is not really a cut off, because this book is suitable for older teenagers and for adults. Contributors include Fred D’Aguir, John Agard, Valerie Bloom – who all write for adults – as does Grace Nichols, whose work is featured and who has written the foreword. Its beautiful illustrations capture the vivacity of the countries that inspire the words. And a useful glossary helps those of us who are not familiar with the Caribbean language. It’s a beautiful, shiny book that should be bought to keep.