May 25, 2013

Take Me Away to Barbados, Baby!

Gorgeous beaches are what many think of when picturing Barbados.

Take Me Books

Take Me Away showcases fiction, nonfiction, and children's books that take place in a specific country and/or within a specific culture.  Take a trip in books!  Look for where we are going next and places we've traveled at the bottom of the post.

This week we are visiting the country of BARBADOS, an island in the Caribbean Sea, near St. Lucia and north of Venezuela.  Barbados is known for sugar cane, rum, beautiful beaches, and 

Map of Barbados in the Caribbean:

Close-up Map of Barbados:

Famous Barbadians:

Author Austin Clarke

Singer-Songwriter Shontelle


William T. Shorey, late 19th century American whaling ship captain
known to his crew as the Black Ahab.

Click to learn more about Barbados here and look at more pictures of Barbados here.

Now, here are some books about this country and culture, organized into a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and children's books. 

Be sure to check out the Take Me Away World Map at the bottom of this post to see where we've traveled to in books so far!


Karen Lord’s debut novel is an intricately woven tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit. Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha—now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones—the djombi— who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.

Bursting with humor and rich in fantastic detail, Redemption in Indigo is a clever, contemporary fairy tale that introduces readers to a dynamic new voice in Caribbean literature. Lord’s world of spider tricksters and indigo immortals is inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale—but Paama’s adventures are fresh, surprising, and utterly original.

Frank Collymore was at the centre of the West Indian literary renaissance of the forties and fifties. He was a master of the short story, bringing together a mordant wit and a sympathetic understanding of human failings to tackle subjects ranging from the eccentric to the psychotic. This collection includes 'Shadows', a sombre depiction of alienation, a satirical dissection of social climbing in 'RSVP to Mrs Bush-Hall', and in 'The Snag' a young boy's growing pains are written about with gentle irony.

It is 1964. Howard lives a hand-to-mouth existence in the small island protectorate of Barbados with his brothers, two aunts, and his grandmother. He is waiting for his parents, who left for England long ago, to send for him. And as the sparks of independence crackle all around them, Howard's life changes forever when Mr. Bradshaw, a black headmaster, is hired for his school. Howard begins to blossom under Bradshaw's guidance, and learns that neither freedom nor knowledge comes without sacrifice, and that even battles won leave victims. In this beautiful, poignant, and ultimately hopeful novel, the fate of one Bajan family rests in the hands of change--change that only liberation and learning can bring.

Austin Clarke’s luminous novel, written in vivid, hypnotic prose, reveals the dislocations of place and the nature of memory and the past. Two elderly Barbadian men, childhood friends who haven’t seen each other in fifty years, collide in a snowstorm on a Toronto street. In the warmth of a nearby bar, through the afternoon and into the night, they relate stories, exchange opinions, and share memories of a past in Barbados when, as children, neither could conceive any other place existed for them. As these two men confess to each other their innermost truths, their exploits and their love affairs, one tells the haunting story of a young Chinese woman, the other of the real reason for his visit to Toronto. Infused with pathos and humour, and with an affecting nostalgia for the idea of home, The Origin of Waves is a stunning and original novel by one of the country’s most gifted writers. 

Caribbean stories are often filled with magic and mysticism. Glenville Lovell immerses readers in all these elements in his debut novel, Fires in the Canes. Lovell brings to life the sleepy West Indian village of Monkey Road, 50 years after the end of slavery. Peata, a sensual and fun-loving woman, arrives with her beautiful teenage daughter, Midra, which starts a chain of events that forever changes their lives and those of the villagers . . . Lovell spins an interesting story, one that will make you think about how one incident can change the future. 

 So the heroine of this evocative novel introduces herself to the tourist-woman lying on the sands of Accra Beach to whom she hopes to sell the dresses she is peddling. It is an unplanned encounter, but Amanda, the African American tourist, is not in Barbados just for a vacation. Nor is Night the simple, easy-going island girl Amanda takes her for. This is a meeting that changes both their lives.


In the late 1630s, lured by the promise of the New World, Andrea Stuart’s earliest known maternal ancestor, George Ashby, set sail from England to settle in Barbados. He fell into the life of a sugar plantation owner by mere chance, but by the time he harvested his first crop, a revolution was fully under way: the farming of sugar cane, and the swiftly increasing demands for sugar worldwide, would not only lift George Ashby from abject poverty and shape the lives of his descendants, but it would also bind together ambitious white entrepreneurs and enslaved black workers in a strangling embrace. Stuart uses her own family story—from the seventeenth century through the present—as the pivot for this epic tale of migration, settlement, survival, slavery and the making of the Americas.

In If a Pirate I Must Be…, Richard Sanders tells the larger-than-life story of Bartholomew Roberts, aka “Black Bart.” Born in a rural town, Roberts rose from third mate on a slave ship to pirate captain in a matter of months. Before long, his combination of audaciousness and cunning won him fame and fortune from the fisheries of Newfoundland to the slave ports of West Africa. Sanders brings to life a fascinating world of theater and ritual, where men (a third of whom were black) lived a close-knit, egalitarian life, democratically electing their officers and sharing their spoils. They were highly (if surreptitiously) popular with many merchants, with whom they struck incredibly lucrative deals. Yet with a fierce team of Royal Navy pirate hunters tracking his every move, Roberts’ heyday would prove a brief one, and with his capture, the Golden Age of pirates would pass into the lore and legend of books and movies. Based on historical records and journal and on writings by Roberts himself, If a Pirate I Must Be…is the true story of the greatest pirate ever to sail the Caribbean.

Here is your passport to a world of distinctive, unforgettable food—125 delicious, authentic vegan recipes that showcase flavors and ingredients from across the Caribbean islands
If “Caribbean cuisine” makes you think of pineapples and coconuts, you’re missing out. The Caribbean islands are home to a rich cooking tradition that combines African, French, Spanish, British, Asian, and Indian influences, adds an unmistakable local flair . . . and tastes like paradise. A real secret is in the herbs and spices—with the right uncooked sauce, cooked sauce, or “wet seasoning” blend, you can transform everyday ingredients into Caribbean delights.
Caribbean Vegan will spice up your vegan diet like no other cookbook. Popular blogger Taymer Mason serves up 125 completely vegan recipes—for breakfast dishes, appetizers, entrĂ©es, sides, soups, desserts, and drinks that are anything but bland. Sample the local flavors of Barbados, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada, and the French West Indies with:
  • Saint Lucian Bakes
  • Eggplant and Seaweed Accras
  • Bajan Soup with Dumplings
  • Rummy Rum and Raisin Ice Cream . . . and much more!
Enticing color photos and Island Tips explain the key ingredients, equipment, and techniques of Caribbean cuisine—so whatever your previous familiarity with Caribbean food, you’ll be cooking like an islander in no time. 


Zizwe is visiting his family in Barbados with his mother for the very first time and his exciting journey as he leaves "rainy England for blue skies and sea" and his first impressions of the beautiful land of the shak shak tree are captured in this evocative story poem by Jade Small.

Children of all ages will enjoy reading about Zizwe's adventures as he eats corn pone and coconut bread at his aunty's house and catches a bus to St James before visiting a grove of pod-laden shak shak trees.

Ages: 10 and up

Jasmine's parents are increasingly worried about the dangers to their precious only daughter in South London so they have decided to move back, after 20 years, to Barbados. Her friends all think it's a wonderful opportunity, but all she knows is that she will miss them and the only life she has known. In Barbados her initial attempts to make friends with local teenagers meet with ridicule and she steals a motor yacht in a foolish attempt to get back to England. Rescued by a fisherman and his son, Jasmine begins school and encounters more prejudice and dislike because she is English, until she is saved from a group of bullies and befriended by the fisherman's son, Devlin. Devlin is fascinated by her stories of England and agrees to help her stowaway on a ship to get back there. This exciting adventure story explores issues involved in migration and feelings of loneliness and being trapped in a place where one doesn't want to be.

Jessica Saint-Cloud didn't set out to fight sharks, blow-up a submarine, or struggle to solve a four hundred year old puzzle left by a Spanish explorer. All she wanted to do was have a quiet vacation of shopping, laying out, and sight-seeing with her two best friends. But when an innocent snorkeling trip thrusts her into a life-or-death adventure to find the Spyglass of the Caribbean, Jessica doesn't back down. What she doesn't know is that her involvement in this adventure is no accident. For Jessica, this isn't about finding treasure, seeking thrills, or solving puzzles. She believes this adventure will lead to clues about her deceased mother's past. She will face deadly sharks, an evil organization, and a riddle with a frightening origin, but ultimately Jessica will have to decide if she is willing to risk everything, including the lives of her friends...

Do you want to recommend/share books that feature Barbados? 
Or do you want to share other thoughts?  
Please leave a note in the comments!

*Leave a meaningful comment and you can also leave a
 link to a book you reviewed about Barbados!*

Where do you want to go next?

Check it out!

Where we've been so far in our literary travels so far:

Australia, Pacific Islands
New ZealandFijiAustralia


  1. Really cool titles-I love the sound of The Man Who Loved Attending Funerals and Other Stories and I think that's the one I'd be most interested in checking out to start with.

  2. Hollaaaaaa, Barbados! I've actually never read a book set in Barbados, so this post was interesting to see what's available. Thanks for the great series. :)

  3. I've been wanting to read Redemption in Indigo forever! And I love Barbados - it's a beautiful country and the people are warm and friendly. I'm from the Caribbean too - we call people from there Bajans - not sure if other people refer to them as Barbadian though.

    Tanya Patrice

  4. What a lovely thread. I am a new follower (located you via the BEA) and will have to look back through your previous destinations.


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