Book Review of ‘Journey Back to Freedom: The Olaudah Equiano Story’ By Catherine Johnson

In honour of Black History Month, award-winning author Catherine Johnson recounts the early life of Olaudah Equiano.

Born in what is now Nigeria in 1745, Equiano’s peaceful childhood was brought to an abrupt end when he was captured and enslaved aged 11. He spent much of the next ten years of his life at sea, seeing action in the Seven Years’ War.

When he was finally able to buy his freedom, he went on to become a prominent member of the abolition movement and in 1789 published one of the first books by a Black African writer. ‘Journey Back to Freedom’ focuses on Equiano’s early life, demonstrating the resilience of the human spirit and one man’s determination to be free.

This fascinating piece of narrative non-fiction is told from Equiano’s perspective and offers important insights into the shocking injustice and prejudice that prevailed during this period.

The book is presented as a slim volume in a dyslexia-friendly format (buff pages, dyslexia-friendly font, wider spacing) which is accessible to a larger number of young readers. The pages are beautifully illustrated to help the reader track changes in setting, and as with all Barrington Stoke publications, the story is highly-engaging and fast-moving.

I think that readers will enjoy learning about both the challenges faced by Olaudah Equiano and the way that his determination, patience and willingness to work to improve his situation, allowed him to overcome hardships both for himself and others.

Interest age: 9+ Reading age: 8 Dyslexia-friendly format.

The banner shows a picture of Olaudah Equiano and the cover of Journey Back to Freedom by Catherine Johnson

‘Journey Back to Freedom: The Olaudah Equiano Story’ is available to buy now. Thank you to Catherine Johnson and Barrington Stoke for this ARC in return for my honest review.

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