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Kemosha of the Caribbean


In 1668, a young Jamaican girl, Kemosha, secures her freedom from enslavement and finds her true self while sailing to Panama with the legendary Captain Morgan.

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$15.95 $11.96

What people are saying…

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Kemosha of the Caribbean is easily the best pirate tale I have ever encountered. If that seems a bold statement, its boldness pales in comparison to Kemosha’s enduring bravery and steadfastness.”
The Plot Thickens (Black Girls Create)

“Readers are in for a wild ride through this rich mix of cultures, lifestyles [and] languages.”
Children’s Literature (CLCD)

“While Kemosha may be a product of her times, her dreams, thoughts, and emotional reactions are ones to which modern readers will readily relate.”
Pirates and Privateers

“A stunning historical adventure that upends stereotypes.”
The Times (UK)

“Kemosha’s indomitable spirit, determination and wit make for an unforgettable heroine.”
The Guardian (UK)

“Inspired by accounts of women pirates, this fantastical tale represents the era’s cruelty without romanticizing it. Kemosha’s love and persistence combine with forceful action, the terror of harsh racism and passionate, colourful language.”
The Toronto Star

“Kemosha’s heart and tenacity are endearing.”
Kirkus Reviews

Included in Publishers Weekly‘s Spring 2022 Children’s Sneak Previews

“Wheatle’s swashbuckling latest blends adventure, history, and poignancy . . . Well written and full of thrills, this cross between Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers and L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack Adventures series will inspire hope and spark admiration.”

Included in Booklist‘s Fall Youth Preview 2021

A Booklist Recommended Read-alike for fans of Our Flag Means Death

Critical praise for Cane Warriors:

“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 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

“Alex Wheatle departs from his award-winning contemporary novels for a superb foray into historical fiction . . . Wheatle’s characteristic kennings and coinages . . . heighten this intense, affecting story of courage, bloodshed and commitment to freedom at all costs.”
The Guardian (UK)

“I read it in one sitting. I simply could not put it down. Cane Warriors is such a powerful narrative of trauma and triumph . . . Wheatle celebrates the heroism that Tacky inspires. He tells the riveting story of 14-year-old Moa who bravely joins Tacky’s army.”
The Gleaner (Jamaica)

“Set in 1760, Cane Warriors, the latest young adult novel by Alex Wheatle, is a fictional account of a key but often overlooked event in Jamaican history: Tacky’s Rebellion, a major revolt by enslaved Africans, planned via an island-wide conspiracy. In Wheatle’s narrative, a 14-year-old named Moa is caught up in the growing revolt, driven by a fierce desire for freedom and self-determination.”
Saturday Express (Trinidad & Tobago)

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

Critical praise for Home Girl:

“With a tough exterior and brash attitude, Naomi is an authentic character in an unfortunate yet accurate picture of modern-day foster care in the UK . . . The ending is neither predictable nor sugarcoated, leaving readers rooting for this determined heroine.”
School Library Journal

“Wheatle returns to the world of his award-winning Crongton books with what [his publisher] Atom is calling his most powerful and personal novel yet. Naomi Brisset is a teenage girl growing up too fast in the UK care system. Her journey through a series of foster homes exposes the unsettling, often heartwrenching truth of this life. Yet despite the grit, Wheatle’s writing is as rich and warm as ever, bringing courage and hope to an unforgettable heroine’s story.”
Bookseller (UK), Editors’ Choice

“Teenager Naomi, old before her time and as vulnerable as she is fierce, is growing up in the care system. Foster homes and pupil referral units revealing the unsettling, often bewildering reality of this existence. Wheatle’s empathy, authentic characters, and rich dialogue illuminate the dark.”
Observer Magazine (UK)

“Another powerful and poignant novel deftly created by one of the most prolific master novelists on either side of the pond. Home Girl is a page-turner, with not a dull moment. Loved it from the rooter to the tooter.”
—Eric Jerome Dickey, New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Wicked


Age level: 12+ | Grade level: 7 – 12+ | Lexile Level: HL610L | F&P level: Z+

Part of our Black Sheep imprint for young readers.

In 1668, fifteen-year-old Kemosha is sold by a slave owner to a tavern keeper in Port Royal, Jamaica—the “wickedest city on earth.” She soon flees from a brutal assault and finds herself in the company of a mysterious free Black man, Ravenhide, who teaches her the fine art of swordplay, introduces her to her soul mate, Isabella, and helps her win her freedom.

Ravenhide is a privateer for the notorious Captain Morgan aboard his infamous ship, the Satisfaction. At Ravenhide’s encouragement, Morgan invites Kemosha to join them on a pillaging voyage to Panama. As her swashbuckling legend grows, she realizes she has the chance to earn enough to buy the freedom of her loved ones—if she can escape with her life . . .

Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 2/1/22
  • IBSN: 9781617759826
  • e-IBSN: 9781617759949
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781636140001


ALEX WHEATLE is the author of several best-selling books including the young adult novels Kemosha of the Caribbean, Cane Warriors, and Home Girl, the modern classic Brixton Rock, and the award-winning Crongton series. He is the subject of the historical drama film Alex Wheatle, which is part of filmmaker Steve McQueen’s lauded Small Axe anthology series. His body of work was a finalist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature and has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. His latest work is Sufferah: The Memoir of a Brixton Reggae-Head.

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