Best friends Sirus and Bubba fit together like salt fish and bakes. That is until Charlie Sand moves into town. All of a sudden Bubba is having adventures with his new friend and Sirus doesn’t fit in. Can he find a way to share Bubba’s friendship with Charlie Sand?
Set in Trinidad and aimed at children aged 6-10, the Blessing of Charlie Sand is a heart-warming story of friendship author, Amanda Smyth and illustrated by Colin Bootman.
Praise for The Blessing of Charlie Sand
“Kids will love both story and pictures in this warm tale of friendship and magic.” —Olive Senior, author of Anna Carries Water and many other titles.
“The Blessing of Charlie Sand will inspire children to trust in the wisdom that comes from both beyond and within. The emotionally measured text and the immediacy of Bootman’s understated illustrations draw the reader in.” —Summer Edward, children’s book editor and founder of Anansesem
Amanda Smyth is Irish-Trinidadian. Her award winning first novel, Black Rock (Serpent’s Tail), was chosen for Oprah’s Summer Reads for 2009. Amanda’s second novel, A Kind of Eden was published in July 2013. She teaches Creative Writing at Arvon and Skyros. The Blessing of Charlie Sand is her first children’s book.
Colin Bootman is the Trinidadian illustrator of many children’s books and the recipient of the 2004 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his illustration of Almost to Freedom, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Enter to win a free copy of this book. The second edition of The Blessing of Charlie Sand will be on sale on March 16.
Publishers make mistakes. My daughter takes great pride in pointing out errors in the books that she reads and there are many, regardless of whether the book is published by large, medium, or small presses. I won’t get into the fact that small presses are held to a much higher standard than large ones so even the most minute of errors are highlighted as an indication of ineptitude. This post is not about that particular soapbox.
We have made errors at CaribbeanReads, not many, but they have existed. I remember publishing my first book, Adventure at Brimstone Hill and going back and forth with the printers about having a spine on the book although it was less than 100 pages. I was so focused on the existence of the spine that I did not notice a spelling error on it until after the first run.
Luckily there has not been anything quite as dramatic since, or at least none that we care to mention. That is up until the publication of The Blessing of Charlie Sand. We loved this story by Amanda Smyth right away, hunted down and hired the incredibly talented illustrator, Colin Bootman to do the illustrations, but for various reasons the execution of the first edition was not up to our usually high standards.
My dad used to tell the story of a Mercedes Benz breaking down and Mercedes replacing the car immediately and disavowing any knowledge of the incident whatsoever. We would love to do the same. We will be releasing the second edition of Charlie Sand in a few days, replacing all book store copies of the first edition, and obliterating the memory of edition one.
So, what about the free stuff? We’ll be hosting a giveaway in March for Charlie Sand. All you have to do is enter the contest, visit our FaceBook page and you will be entered to win a copy of the book. The giveaway starts on March 1 so keep a look out for more information.
This February, Musical Youth author Joanne Hillhouse has been on tour, visiting high schools in Antigua and sharing her book. The reception was wonderful and we look forward to supporting her efforts to do much more to introduce that all-important love of reading to as many students as possible.
We are so excited that Zapped! authors, Jewel and Lynelle have been invited by the Port Discovery Museum to take part in their STEM in Spring initiative designed to encourage children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is quite an honor and a challenge. The challenge? To turn a 12ft by 12 ft. room into a cell! Read more about it and make a contribution to this effort here.
This lovely colouring and activity book features drawings by Joan Mallalieu. Here is just one of the fifty plus drawings.
The Colouring Book Tour of St. Kitts and Nevis is available at several outlets in St. Kitts including Beauty Essentials, Harpers Office Depot, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Ram’s Supermarket, Valumart Supermarket, and others. It’s also available on Amazon.
“All-in-all Musical Youth is an entertaining read that reminds teenagers that they will survive their troubles. The writing is vivid; the characters are credible; the idea of using music as a thread to tie the characters together is brilliant.” This is just a small part of the Debbie Jacob’s review in the Trinidad Guardian. She goes on to hail the book as a “Compelling read” that will engage a wide range of readers from 14-22 years old.
The official launch of the young adult novel Musical Youth was held at Best of Books in Antigua on Friday 21 November. Author Joanne Hillhouse read an excerpt of the book. In the passage that she read, Shaka, one of the main characters hears a song, Melanin, that he has written play on the radio for the first time.
Musical Youth Excerpt
Joanne C. Hillhouse reading at the Best of Books Musical Youth launch
“The first time he heard his song on the radio, he was doing the dishes after dinner while his mother moved around their small kitchen, putting things away. Pappy was in his chair in the living room, radio turned up on the news, about the only reason he put on the radio since he couldn’t stand modern music or chatty DJs.
Zahara complained that her Granny Linda always changed the station when music came on; must be an old people thing because as soon as the news presenter signed off, Pappy started making getting up noises. That’s when “Melanin” cut in and though he’d given the CD to Diva himself, Shaka’s body seized up in shock. It was noticeable enough for his mother to ask, “Something wrong? Wha’ happen?”
And he screamed, he wasn’t even ashamed to say it, he screamed, and ran into the living room, pushing past Pappy to turn up the radio as loud as it could go.
“You bwoy!” Pappy chastised.
“That’s my song, that’s my song,” he shouted, and that shut up both Pappy and his mother who had come out from the kitchen with more questions.
He couldn’t stand still; dashed to his room, got his phone and started texting everybody. Zahara first, then the Crew.
Put on the radio. Melanninnn!!!!“
Want to read more? As always, check out our book store here.
CaribbeanReads participated in the Baltimore Book Festival in October. It was on the beautiful Inner Harbor in Baltimore, a promenade that attracts a lot of people, so in addition to people who came to the festival, there were many others just wandering by.
Build a Cell From Candy
Many of these people stopped to take a look at the CaribbeanReads booth. We had a display put on by Zapped! author, Jewel Daniel. We invited children to make a model of the cell using candy. This drew a big crowd, but most of the people who stopped just to ask questions about the books were people with Caribbean roots. One elderly couple drifted near the booth and as they moved away I overheard the woman say:
“Oh, those are books for people who want their children to go to the beach.”
“These are books for people who would like to expose their kids to Caribbean culture,” I retorted. Perhaps not the most professional approach, but my aim is to educate.
She kept walking.
I wish that I could convince myself that her attitude was a minority one, but the evidence did not bear this out. People who took our cards and flyers were sure to promise to pass the information on to their Caribbean contacts. Why not to their American, European, African, and Asian friends? I really hope that our customers can break the mold, share Caribbean books with their non-Caribbean friends and bring a little Caribbean warmth into the lives of the rest of the world.
On November 20, 2014 Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), Professor Errol Morrison delivered the address at the 12th Annual Distinguished Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Lecture in Antigua. As a part of the event, the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Award was presented to CaribbeanReads author, Joanne C. Hillhouse, for her perennial and exemplary contributions to the advancement of Antigus, especially in areas of journalism, literary arts, and the development of our youth.
The late Leonard Tim Hector is described as an Antiguan writer, publisher, politician, educator, culturalist, journalist, historian and cricketeer. He published the newspaper The Outlet and the online column “Fan the Flame”. Some of his writings express views very much in line with the CaribbeanReads mission to produce books that tell the stories of Caribbean people.
“When I was younger, and at university my friends used to tell me that West Indian poetry and novels were too real, “too full of the emptiness of life around us” one wrote and “giving little by way of hope” another friend wrote to me. I replied we grew up on the alien “daffodils” which we knew not, on cowboys’ rustlers and assorted crooks in the wild, wild west, so literature always seemed distant. And nothing enhances the view like distance. Our own story near at hand and familiar did not seem like a story worth telling for we thought of ourselves as of little worth in the global scheme of the young and the restless or the bold and the beautiful.”
West Indian literature has evolved and expanded beyond the type of writing that Mr. Hector’s friends described. But we must continue to challenge ourselves and to see ourselves, our thoughts, and experiences as worthy and interesting of being recorded and read not only by our own people by worldwide.