This one used to be on the reading list for 5th grade - I read it a few times coz it was one of my fav books in childhood - and later I read it to my kids, together with the sequel.Tumbo from the Cape of Good Hope
is a story about an African boy who has to escape racist persecution in the RSA. He illegally boards a ship which he thinks sails to Dakkar where his aunt lives but in fact it is a cargo ship with an international crew which supplies provisions to Antarctic stations. Tumbo gradually becomes a part of the crew, yet not without some racial problems. He is protected and taken care of by sailors from Europe who reject racial discrimination. But he is also abused and hated by sailors from the southern United States - confirmed racists ( around the times of racial segregation in the USA). Tumbo, who works as a chef`s assistant or kitchen boy, has multiple amazing adventures during his trip when he sails across the southern seas - he escapes from a rogue cook who plans to kidnap him into slave labour, takes part in an air crash and greatly contributes to the success of the rescue mission, boards a whaling ship and kills a whale (I never liked that part coz I have always loved animals.).
When we read books, we usually imagine we are the good characters. No, I didn`t imagine I was Tumbo. hahaha But I always imagined I was Olaf from a Scandinavian country - Sweden or Norway - who whole-heartedly takes care of Tumbo on the cargo ship and defends him against racial attacks by those villain Americans coz he is a simple, sympathetic, decent man. He has always been my role model.
Now you know everything about me.
Olaf takes care of Tumbo after the boy has been found on the ship
Tumbo escapes from the rogue cook at the whaling station
Tumbo climbs the mast chased by furious sailors who accuse him of adding poison to their meal