Sunshine Simpson cooks up a storm by G M Linton

Usborne, 9781801313353

This is the second book featuring the delightful Sunshine Simpson and her school friends, as they negotiate the dangerous waters of Year 6.  Expectations are high and they always have the issue of ” which BIG SCHOOL” should they choose lurking in the back of their mind

Sunshine and her family are slowly recovering from the loss of her beloved Grandad Bobby a few months before, while at school she is still mending bridges with her friend Evie; they are even part of the same group running a stall at a school fund raising event.  Just as everything seems to be settling down, Sunshine and her siblings are told that her dad will be working away from home for the next six months and will only be home at the weekend.  This is the final straw as far as our heroine is concerned and she decides to write a letter to her grandma in America, asking her to come back to England.  What happens next is a mix of good and bad luck, but which feels like a tangled bowl of spaghetti.  The reader really has a sense that things might not turn out well, but of course they do in the end.

This story brought back so many memories for me, although I do not share the same heritage as Sunshine.  Scattered throughout the book there are references to people of colour who have made an impact in their day (for a wide variety of reasons) and who are still working hard to bring equality to the country.  I feel that I was lucky to have worked in Bristol for 20 years and had the opportunity to bring books and information to schools, about the heritage that different communities bring to this vibrant city.  I was also lucky enough to be at Tilbury Docks on the day that commemorated the arrival of the “Empire Windrush”, 75 years ago and the references to the way some of the immigrants have been treated, really does resonate.  However, what really struck me is the wonderful sense of family that we are shown, despite the friction between Sunshine’s mother and grandmother.  We also have the way that heritage can be remembered through music and food in particular.  So as part of the school fundraiser the children choose to bake cakes or biscuits from their own cultures; we have the recipe for the one that Sunshine made at the back of the book and I think I may well have to give it a try, it looks quite scrummy!  Overall this is one of those joyous books, where problems are faced and overcome and where the strong bonds of family and friendship are so important.  Hopefully we will have more adventures for this band of friends in the future.  A five star, feel good story.

The Author

G.M. Linton lives with her family in the West Midlands and can often be found happily snacking on stuffed green olives or hunting out a slice of cake. She enjoys nothing better than snatching time to read a good book and losing herself whilst imagining characters and storylines. The Sunshine Simpson series is particularly inspired by G.M.’s parents, who arrived in Britain, from Jamaica, as part of the Windrush generation, in the 1950s.