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Cane Warriors


Moa, a fourteen-year-old slave, gets caught up in the most significant slave rebellion in Jamaican history, paying homage to freedom fighters all over the world.

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before October 20, 2020.

Forthcoming: 10/20/20

$15.95 $11.97

What people are saying…

“Wheatle brings the struggle of slavery in the Jamaican sugar cane fields to life . . . A refreshing and heartbreaking story that depicts both a real-life uprising against oppression and the innate desire to be free. Highly recommended.”
School Library Journal, STARRED Review

Alex Wheatle is a finalist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature!

“Tension-filled and heart-stopping, a work of edgy brilliance that brims with existential fervor . . . Excellent.”
Kaieteur News (Guyana)

“Black Sheep stands tall with Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle, following Moa, an enslaved 14-year-old in 1760s Jamaica who is recruited by rebels to fight in the slave rebellion called Tacky’s War.”
Publishers Weekly, included in Sneak Previews for Fall 2020

Included in Publishers Weekly‘s Fall 2020 Children’s Announcements

“Alex Wheatle writes from a place of honesty and passion, with the full knowledge and understanding that change can only happen through words and actions.”
—Steve McQueen, Academy Award–winning film director

“This is a vital part of British and Jamaican history brought vividly to life. Alex Wheatle has reclaimed our ancestors and given them the voice they were denied.”
—Catherine Johnson, author and screenwriter

“The importance of this book cannot be overstated. Alex Wheatle takes the truth and creates fiction to illuminate that truth. He too is a warrior—a word warrior. I saw my ancestors in this book, and now I know that Alex and I really are brothers.”
—Benjamin Zephaniah, author of Gangsta Rap

“Though it is a work of fiction, Cane Warriors is rooted in reality, the horrors of colonialism, and the subjugation of a people, which provides an educational experience for the reader with the turning of each crisp page . . . Cane Warriors serves as an inspiring but also sobering reminder that the fight for survival spans across centuries and is very much ongoing. And it is not about the survival of a lone individual, but rather the collective struggle, what that entails, and what it means.”
—Nadine White, news reporter, HuffPost UK

“Alex Wheatle is a master storyteller. He writes with urgency, passion, and the empathy we all need to wrestle with the realities of transatlantic slavery, bringing marginalized narratives straight out of the shadows, right into the frame. Every kid in the country needs to read this book.”
—Jeffrey Boakye, author of Black, Listed

“Terrific. A pacy, provocative ode to an important part of Jamaican history from one of our most versatile, trailblazing authors.”
—Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch

“I love Alex and all he stands for in the world of literature.”
—Kerry Hudson, author of Lowborn

“Alex Wheatle is an inspirer. He sheds light in dark places so that we might see the unseen and hear the unheard. He is a vital writer. He is a prince among men. Long may he reign.”
—Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why


Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before October 20, 2020.

Age level: 12+ | Grade level: High School | Lexile Level: 700L

Part of our Black Sheep imprint for young readers.


Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugarcane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. Time is ticking as the day of the uprising approaches . . .

Irresistible, gripping, and unforgettable, Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky’s War in Jamaica, 1760.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Published: 10/20/20
  • IBSN: 9781617758553
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758737
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617759062


ALEX WHEATLE is the author of several best-selling books including the young adult novel Home Girl, the modern classic Brixton Rock, and the multiaward-winning Crongton series. Wheatle’s body of work is a finalist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature and has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He lives in South London. Cane Warriors is his latest novel.

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