Thursday, October 6, 2022

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes


2002 (first published 1929)

fluent reader, upper primary, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, Hughes Richard, historical,  classic, pirates,

A group of children are sent from Jamaica to England after a hurricane strikes and ruins their home.  But on the way their ship is captured by pirates. The children befriend the pirates who later hand them over to a passing steam ship with an elaborate story that the pirates actually rescued the children. The children collude with the pirates about this.   

I’m not a great fan of trigger warnings but I will post a few here. There are some very dark sides to this story.

·       One child remains missing.

·       The parents are wrongly informed that the children have died – and seem indifferent about this.

·       A girl murders a man.

·       The pirates make mild sexual advances to the children but the children don’t realise that’s what they are.

However, there are many arguments that children should be exposed to the darker side of life. There is a little of the style of the Lemony Snicket books in this. Of course it is a much earlier text.

Robert Hughes really captures the point of view of the children. However, he seems to be writing to an adult rather than another child.

The language is quite advanced, even for the fluent reader.

This may be a text that could lead to an interesting set of discussions. It will give the discerning young reader plenty to think about.

The text is blocked in the paperback version of the novel and uses a serif font and has difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. It is 195 pages long.

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