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Facelift for the Living the Beach Life Series

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.

 

 

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Tata and the Big Bad Bull author returns home

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 The Old 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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Launch of the Masquerade Dance

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

Making masquerade hats


 

Colouring is fun for adults too!

I want to dance the masquerade!

Mitchell with her collaborator, Saulo

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Not One But Two Spanish Titles from CaribbeanReads

CaribbeanReads’ first Spanish language titles will make their debut at the Miami Book Fair Street Fair November 16-18. The beloved Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which reimagines the true story of an Arctic seal which found itself stranded in the waters off Antigua and Barbuda, is now available in Spanish. Also in Spanish is our most recent title, Sweet Victory (Dulce Victoria). Check them out at online retailers and bookstores near you.

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Write a Winning Novel

The 2019 Burt Award for Caribbean literature aimed at young adults is now open for submissions and you may have written next year’s winner. The competition is getting increasingly tight and so it’s crucial that you submit your strongest and most polished work.

CaribbeanReads, as a part of its mission to provide quality Caribbean literature, is extending its editing services at special rates to qualifying young adult novels.

Services:

100 word review of plot summary and 1000-word sample Free

Skype chat and 250+ word review of plot summary and novel


US$250


Editing of novel



US$750 and up


If you are interested in our services for your Caribbean young adult novel, email us with your novel’s title, its length, and a one page synopsis along with details about your Caribbean nationality and your writing history if any. We will respond with details on the services we can offer.

Note that CaribbeanReads does not have any connections, influence, or special knowledge of the Burt Award, its administrators, or its judges. We cannot guarantee any results, we can simply assist you in submitting your best work.

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Five Months, Twenty Thousand Words

The Burt Award for Caribbean literature is an annual prize given by CODE, a Canadian NGO committed to developing literacy world-wide.  The Caribbean version of the competition is open to Caribbean nationals and submissions should be at least 20,000 words and suitable for readers aged 12-18. This year’s deadline is October 31, 2018.

Previous winners have been clustered around particular islands, with winners from smaller territories, like Antiguan Joanne C  Hillhouse’s Musical Youth, being the exception. I don’t believe that this is a reflection of lack of talent in some islands rather than in others. I do believe the results reflect perhaps, a lack of access to the resources that may be key to producing a polished manuscript that has a shot at winning. With this in mind, we have conceived the special offer presented below.

While it is true that the award accepts manuscripts (work that has not yet been accepted by a publisher) these manuscripts are expected to be at the same level of structural soundness, grammatical and logical accuracy, and thematic relevance as any published manuscripts that may be submitted. So it is important for would-be submitters to ensure their work is in the best possible condition.

If you are planning to submit a novel, there are a few things you should do. If you haven’t already done so, read some of the work of previous winners and of highly acclaimed young adult novels that are similar in theme to yours. This is not so you can copy their plot or style but so that you can get a feel for the type of writing that appeals to young people (and to the judges). If you don’t enjoy reading these books, the young adult genre may not be right for you.

Secondly, if you haven’t started writing it may be too late for this year, but get started anyway, especially if you have a fully formed idea in mind for your novel. You should complete your novel with enough time to let it sit for a while, to have others read it, and ideally to have it edited by someone familiar with the editing process. It is possible to submit a competitive novel right after you’ve typed the last period, but this usually only works for very experienced writers and even those writers understand the value of having a professional editor review their work. If you aren’t finished within a month of the deadline, don’t despair, keep at it. You’ll have a much more polished submission in the following year.

Note also, if you submitted a novel to the Burt Award in the past, you can resubmit IF you have made significant, documentable improvements.

CaribbeanReads is offering a few specially priced editorial service packages to writers considering entering the Burt Award. If you are interested in having editorial comments and perhaps a full edit of your Caribbean young adult novel, email us with your novel’s title, its length, a one page synopsis, along with details about your Caribbean nationality and your writing history if any. We will consider your novel for the offer and send you information about our discounted services.

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Bocas Lit Fest Trinidad Tour – Reading

Danielle Y. C. McClean reading from The Protectors’ Pledge

As a part of the CODE sponsored, Bocas Lit Fest Author tour, the authors, including our own Danielle Y. C. McClean, read and signed books at Nigel R. Khan booksellers Saturday November 11.

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Marvin and Marianne

Kimberly Wallace published an article on Marvin and the Race to the Nest in the Trinidad Express yesterday.
“FLIGHTY, even feisty and adorned with feathers that shine and shimmer like jewels under a hot Caribbean sun — hummingbirds usually don’t have to do much to capture our imagination. Now, these tiny marvels of creation have been transported onto the pages of a one-of-a-kind book Marvin and the Race to the Nest which is specially designed for children ages five to eight….”
Read the full article here.

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Events for Caribbean-American Heritage Month

This month CaribbeanReads authors will be taking part in a few events.
One of them is Saturday June 18th starting at 1 pm at the Waverly Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 East 33rd Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. It features Jewel Amethyst (St. Kitts) Carol Mitchell( St. Kitts-Nevis), Joelle Cohen-Wright (Jamaica), Katia D. Ulysse (Haiti), Pamela K Marshall (Jamaica) and Mirlande Jean-Gilles (Haitian-American) speaking about their works. Come out and enjoy. Visit their website for more details.

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Minister of Education Launches Yerette Readers Series at NALIS

On Tuesday 3rd May, 2016, the Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education in Trinidad and Tobago spoke at the launch of the Yerette Readers Series on Hummingbirds at the National Library and Information System (NALIS) building and pledged to include hummingbirds in the revised Curriculum.
MOE Trinidad Press Release

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