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The Transatlantic Slave Trade

Secondary Fiction

A selection of titles to support the resources produced by The University of Nottingham for the Nottingham Schools and Transatlantic Slavery Project.  Reading fiction can be a great way to learn about racism and equality.

Special collections are available at Radford/Lenton and Hyson Green Libraries.  Titles are also available from other libraries or can be requested through click and collect.


A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Badoe, Yaba

A powerful, haunting, contemporary debut that steps seamlessly from the horrors of people-trafficking to the magic of African folklore, by an award-winning Ghanaian-British filmmaker.

Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea-chest laden with treasure. It seems she is the sole survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying migrants and refugees. Her people.

Fourteen years on she’s a member of Mama Rose’s unique and dazzling circus. But, from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them.

Unheard Voices

Unheard Voices by Blackman, Malorie

Brings together stories and poems which provide a first-hand account of the horrors of slavery, remembering the brutal and long-lasting inflictions which have shaped millions of lives.

Copper Sun

Copper Sun by Draper, Sharon M.

The epic story of a young girl torn from her African village, sold into slavery, and stripped of everything she has ever known – except hope.

Ones that disappeared

The Ones That Disappeared by Fraillon, Zana

Kept by a ruthless gang, three children manage to escape from slavery.  But freedom isn’t just waiting on the outside. Separated, scared and looking after a small child, Esra will do whatever she can to reunite with her friend Miran, who was captured by the police – the police who she mustn’t trust. Hiding in the shadows of the forest, Esra is found by a local boy, a boy with his own story.

Together they will create a man out of mud. A man who will come to life and lead them through a dark labyrinth of tunnels until they finally have the courage the step above ground. Until they finally have the courage to speak their story. Until they finally have the courage to be free.


Freedom by Johnson, Catherine

12-year-old Nat is a slave, sent to England. Life in London is tough and Nat seizes the first opportunity to escape. He hears the story of The Zong, a ship where the crew murdered 133 slaves.

Will the world continue to turn a blind eye to the horrors of slavery? And can Nat really evade his masters forever?

Garbage King

The Garbage King by Laird, Elizabeth

This is the powerful and unforgettable story of children who live on the very edge of destitution. Dani and Mamo, and the gang of street boys that they join, have nothing and share everything.

Their courage, loyalty and determination enable them to survive in the harshest of worlds.

Buffalo Soldier

Buffalo Soldier by Landman, Tanya

At the end of the American Civil War, Charley – a young African-American slave – is ostensibly freed. But then her adopted mother is raped and lynched at the hands of a mob and Charley is left alone.

In a terrifyingly lawless land, where the colour of a person’s skin can bring violent death, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army. Soon, she’s sent to the prairies to fight a whole new war against the ‘savage Indians’.

Trapped in a world of injustice and inequality, it’s only when Charley is posted to Apache territory that she begins to learn what it is to be truly free.

Passing For White

Passing for White by Landman, Tanya

It’s 1848 in the Deep South of America. Rosa is a slave, but her owner is also her father and her fair skin means she can ‘pass for white’.  With the help of her husband Benjamin, she disguises herself as a young southern gentleman – and Benjamin’s master.

In this guise, the couple flee the South, explaining away their lack of literacy, avoiding those they have encountered before and holding their nerve over a thousand miles to freedom.  Inspired by the amazing true story of Ellen Craft who escaped a life of slavery through a daring disguise and won freedom for herself and her husband.


Justice by Ryan, Chris

Child slavery is rife. Hundreds of young people are being forced into lives of slavery by an international trafficking ring based in the jungles of Central Africa.

The cadets are tasked to present themselves as bait for the traffickers. Some of them head to Africa. Some stay in the UK. They are to gather hard intel which the authorities can use to nail the perpetrators of this twisted business.

But the bad guys are one step ahead. The cadets lose contact with their handlers and are taken off grid by some of the most brutal criminals in the world. It will take all their skills to get themselves to safety – and to bring the traffickers to justice.

Discover More

Glossary of terms

Spotlight on Nottingham’s Legacy of Slavery

These resources have been made available to support the teaching of the ‘Nottingham’s Legacies of Slavery’ project, which illuminates and explores the backgrounds of several locally commemorated individuals and prominent places.

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