In an article entitled “Overcoming Barriers to Education in Tata and the Big Bad Bull,” Anansesem reviewer, Shanimarie Ogilvie, reviews this CaribbeanReads title by author and poet, Juleus Ghunta. She refers to the book’s protagonist as a “universally relatable character,” and points out how “Ghunta’s use of rhyme…engages the reader.” She describes the narrative as “brisk” and the plot as “spirited.”
When we published Lion Paw and Oliver, An Unlikely Friendship, the first installation of Heidi Fagerberg’s Living the Beach Life Series in 2012, we had no idea that we were at the beginning of a fruitful, collaborative relationship that would bear seven titles by Heidi. Heidi’s contributions to CaribbeanReads have gone far beyond the books w have published together. She is trained in early childhood education and so is an integral part of our team as we work to provide quality titles in our children’s catalog.
Heidi was one of the first authors to trust CaribbeanReads with her ideas and dreams. She chose to write about the animals on Reggae Beach, Lion Paw, Oliver, Wilbur, and Miss Mocha because they were so close and dear to her heart and she wanted to share that joy with others. The downside of working with a small press and a new one at the time, was that she journeyed with us as we navigated the world of publishing and she had to endure our growing pains. While I loved the original covers of the Living the Beach Life Series, the new touches put on them by Kitwana Julius give these books the brilliant shine they deserve.
The Living the Beach Life Series is available in bookstores in the Caribbean, online on Amazon, in kindle, in libraries and schools in the Caribbean, and coming soon in audio. Heidi and the CaribbeanReads team are available for school visits and more.
Internationally recognised poet and Chevening scholar, Juleus Ghunta, returned to his home parish, Hanover, to launch his picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull. The launch took place on May 22 at 10 am at the Hanover Parish Library and was attended by community officials, school representatives, and most importantly school children, some of who performed a dance.
There were activities and crafts for the children and a presentation by the Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI, Mona, Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, along with the Mayor of Lucea, Mr Sheridan Samuels, and the principal of Kendal Primary, Ms Karlene Wallace.
After the formal event, Ghunta led a walk following the route from his childhood home in Pell River to his alma mater, Kendal Primary School. The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness about the negative impact that the almost decade–long closure of the Green Island Branch Library has had on communities in Hanover.
Additionally, the walk provided children with a unique opportunity to engage with the real–life experiences that inspired fictional characters in a book. Although this portion of the event was marred by rain, the children enjoyed the experience of bringing the book to life.
Tata and the Big Bad Bull is a fast–paced narrative poem of a young Jamaican boy overcoming financial challenges and bullying to achieve his goals. The book is loosely based on Ghunta’s childhood. Determined to go to school despite financial constraints, he took a shortcut through a pasture and encountered a fierce bull who charged at him. The story is amusing on the surface, but there is a lot to unpack in the simple rhyming lines. It addresses how to deal with bullying on individual and community levels and encourages children to embrace tolerance and problem solving.
The book has received high praise for its handling of these issues. Jamaican author of Garvey’s Ghost, Geoffrey Philp commented that “in this delightful tale, young readers learn that perseverance is a gift in itself.” The Midwest Review called it “An island wisdom tale with messages of compassion for all,” and TheOld School Magazine said that “There are so many huge life lessons tucked into this small children’s book that it is definitely one you’ll want to read multiple times.”
Publishing Tata is a great triumph for Ghunta who experienced many obstacles during his childhood, including being illiterate up to age twelve. Ghunta is delighted that his book will be launched in the parish of his birth. “This is a profoundly challenging time for Hanover. We need to do all we can to inspire hope in our young people. Tata is a story about hope and our possibilities. I would like to encourage everyone to participate,” he said.
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Children in St. Kitts-Nevis were the first to experience the official launch of the new children’s book by Carol Mitchell, The Masquerade Dance. Mitchell spent the morning of Friday April 12 at the Charles A. Halbert Public Library in Basseterre, St. Kitts reading her book to groups of children who were there attending the Easter summer camp.
Reading to our young readers
Children in the older group were also enthralled by the story.
Something is interesting!
Student Interpretation of the Masquerade Dance
Student Interpretation of the Masquerade Dance
After the library event, Mitchell held a children-focused launch of the book. The launch, held at Splash St. Kitts, featured arts and crafts, a reading, and a demonstration of the masquerade by a local masquerader, Sylvester Huggins.
The calm before the storm
Children colouring on table-sized print outs of pages from the Masquerade Dance
In honor of Women’s History Month, arts’ institutes worldwide are organising events this Saturday (March 23, 2019) to improve Wikipedia entries related to notable women artists and art world figures. We (at CaribbeanReads) have occasionally updated lists of Caribbean writers on Wikipedia just to ensure that some of the more recently established Caribbean writers are represented, however, these writers often do not have pages or their pages are incomplete.
Wikipedia is a great example of a Catch-22. What makes it most useful, the fact that anyone can contribute and edit posts, makes it most dangerous. According to the Pew Research Center, “Wikipedia averages more than 18 billion page views per month, making it one of the most visited websites in the world,” data they extracted from Alexa.com, a Web tracking company owned by Amazon. Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable, but widely used and so it is important that all artists, (but of course our main concerns at CaribbeanReads are Caribbean artists), make sure they are accurately represented on this platform.
And so, while we are not organizing an official “wikipedia editathon” (maybe next year?), we encourage Caribbean artists to join with other artists and set aside some time tomorrow to look up your profile on Wikipedia and make sure you are accurately and effectively represented. Also feel free to post here about what you found and what you changed.
Formed by a group of enslaved men during Trinidad’s British colonial occupation, The Order has maintained the delicate balance between the world’s realms for centuries, preventing the Grey’s occupants from hunting in the Absolute and ensuring that humans remain unaware of the Grey’s existence. But not everyone believes these worlds should be separate. Some long for the days when fear ruled the earth, and The Order finds itself embattled by enemies outside and traitors within who conspire to unite the Absolute and the Grey. With the very essence of human existence under attack, Rohan, the last surviving member of the Stone Chapter of The Order, must act.
Assisted by Katharine, a soucouyant who has lived on the outskirts of a Trinidad swamp for more than a century, Rohan takes up the Order’s mantle, combining Kat’s wits and his fighting prowess to defeat the forces working to bring dangerous creatures across into the Absolute. They are joined by an eclectic group of recruits who risk torture, dismemberment, zombification, and death as they face a growing variety of grave threats and gruesome creatures. About the Author
Trinidadian born Derry Sandy is a corporate lawyer barred in New York and living in Washington DC. He is new to creative writing—his previous writing credentials include articles for the Howard University Hilltop and legal briefs, articles and analyses written at his firm and at New York University School of Law where he received his J.D. Greyborn Rising is his first novel, but there is no doubt, this is what he is meant to do.
Even though we are already looking forward to 2019 and the exciting line up we have scheduled for the new year, we like to take a look back at the accomplishments of the past year. Here are some highlights:
We published five children’s books this year, all launched to high acclaim.
Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse was included on the book list for third-formers in Antigua and Barbuda. It is also on a book list in Trinidad.
Our November 2018 Zing article featured Socamom Eva Greene Wilson whose Caribbean-centered parenting blog is taking the internet by storm, Tracey Baptist’s Minecraft, De Rightest Place by Barbara Jenkins, and How to Love a Jamaican: Stories by Alexia Arthurs