Tag Archives: Musical Youth

Kirkus Review of Musical Youth

Kirkus Review of Musical Youth

Receiving reviews is always a bit nerve-wracking. When you publish in a niche, there is always the chance that the reviewer completely misses the point of the book. That said, when we received notification that a Kirkus Review of Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse was available, we were excited to open it up. Continue reading

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First CaribbeanReads’ Reading Guide

Just in time for your next reading club, we have a discussion guide for Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse. This is a YA novel, but it’s enjoyed by adults as well. So whether you are a teen or an adult, your reading club will love this multi-cultural musical romance. The free reading guide contains a list of discussion questions for your book club and guidelines for using Musical Youth in the classroom.

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Musical Youth Second Edition Releases (with Bonus Author Information Revealed)

Be the first to know!
In November 2014, CaribbeanReads was tremendously proud to publish the Burt Award prize-winning title Musical Youth #musicalyouthbook by Joanne C. Hillhouse. We printed 4000 copies of the book, and today, thanks to the support of Code, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, schools, bookstores such as Best of Books in Antigua and Paperbased in Trinidad, and book festivals in Brooklyn, St. Martin, USVI, Barbados, Anguilla, and Miami, we are all sold out!

With the second printing, we made a few changes to the cover (still maintaining the beautiful artwork of Glenroy Aaron) and the acknowledgements in which Hillhouse speaks of her own gratefulness and thanks “readers everywhere—tout monde sam and baggai, as we say in Antigua and Barbuda—who bought and/or took the time to recommend the book; and specifically, Caribbean readers and young people who have told me how much they love Zahara, and how Zahara and Shaka are #relationshipgoals.”

Inside, the second edition of Musical Youth contains the same content that has prompted the incredible support the book has received. Zahara and Shaka pop off the page with the same intensity that keeps teens talking about them long after they’ve read the last word. Read reviews of the book here.

In commemoration of the new edition, author Joanne C. Hillhouse has put together a candid discussion about her writing process, her vision of the characters, and more in this study guide: author’s edition.

Musical Youth is the first of two Burt Award winners published by CaribbeanReads, the second being The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y. C. McClean. The success of these titles speaks to the fact that we need Caribbean books and, more generally, #weneeddiversebooks.

Where to buy it? The new edition is available from the publisher, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and select bookstores. Ask your local bookstores and schools for your copy of the new edition. Copies of the OG (original version of) Musical Youth are still available at select bookstores. It’s may become a collectors’ item, so get yours quickly.

Share the news, let’s make this hashtag go viral. #musicalyouthbook. As Caribbean schoolchildren (of old?) might say, we glad bag bus’!

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2019 (to date) Books in Reviews

It’s July, and while it seems like just yesterday we heralded in an infant 2019 with fireworks and fanfare, it’s almost grown and already has more time behind it than in front.

CaribbeanReads books have received some love from our readers this year and we wanted to share some of the comments with you.

Musical Youth (about to enter its second edition) has a five star rating on Amazon and GoodReads, but its reach is growing beyond those well-trodden paths to include reviews on Instagram and on personal web pages including foreign language pages. Here are two of our favorites:
*Read more on Joanne’s blog. We were kind of blown away by all the great feedback.

  • “I first recognized the weight of her work by the response of the teens to her book, Musical Youth , in the Grenada Community Library. It remains one of the most popular books with teens, despite their tendency to shun Caribbean literature when they have a choice because they are required to read it in schools.” – Oonya Kempadoo, author of Buxton Spice
  • In April we came across a review in French from a blog titled myinsaeng. You can read the french review here and the English translation here, but this is the last paragraph: “To my knowledge, there is no French translation available, much less Creole, but I hope that “Musical Youth” will become a classic of literature for generations to come. And why not an audiovisual adaptation to immortalize this illustration of our time?”
  • “I love the little loving details that go into making a book that much more special, like the musical staff here on every new chapter of #MusicalYouth by @jhohadli . If you’re looking for a great YA summer read that’s also got some depth, check this one out. It’s all about learning to work together, the effects of colourism, coming out of your shell, and embracing your own self worth. I will read this one again at some point!…It’s a heart-warming Antiguan YA that’s pretty quick and easy to get through. 🌴🌺🌊📖Would highly recommend!” –beauty.on.the.bookshelf  on Instagram

Greyborn Rising, released in May 2019 has received a lot of reader praise. The main theme seemed to be that the book is impossible to put down.

  • An excellent read that I would highly recommend. Well researched and artfully written. I learned a lot while being entertained. Characters are well developed and you will not be able to put this book down. 
  • Greyborn Rising is a book I truly enjoyed.  From the first pages I felt captivated and entertained. The more I read the more I became interested in the characters and their challenges and successes. My favorite character is Katharine the soucouyant and once you read the book you will see why. 

Tata and the Big Bad Bull has received great praise from key educators and authors, and also from publications such as the Midwest Review and the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. The review love continued in 2019…

  • In an article entitled “Overcoming Barriers to Education in Tata and the Big Bad Bull,” Anansesem contributor, 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.”
    Read the full review in the beautifully designed full color PDF edition of the May 2019 Anansesem book review issue.

The Masquerade Dance released in April 2019. Reviews are still in coming in, but we loved this one from one of our own, Joanne C. Hillhouse.

  • In summary, Joanne C. Hillhouse comments: “Nicely done; quick (and colourful) read overall and good for classroom or reading club story time.” Read her entire review here.

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Why YA?

ya-coversCaribbeanReads will be publishing two YA novels in 2017, bringing our total YA offerings to four. Since CR is a small publisher, this is significant. Three of the four books have been recognised by the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, Musical Youth was a 2014 winner, The Protector’s Pledge was a 2016 winner, and Barberry Hill was one of six finalists in 2016. So why is YA literature being given such a spotlight on the Caribbean front?

The term “young adult literature” can be hard to define. One would think that it means books that appeal mainly to a particular age range-teenagers. However, with adults being the most prolific readers of YA, it is clear that YA is more than a target age. Young Adult literature has come to mean ‘coming of age’ literature in which the central characters-usually teenagers-are impacted by the events in the book in a way that leaves them a step closer to adulthood.

YA books typically handle issues that are not addressed in the same way in books for younger children or adult literature for that matter. They tackle life complexities with which most teenagers are having their first experiences such as romantic love, fitting in, abandonment, family breakdown, drugs, sex, politics, and more. Often these themes are wrapped within a larger story, but whether the protagonists are embroiled in a fight with mystical creatures (as in The Protector’s Pledge) or in a true-to-life setting (as in Musical Youth, Another Day, and Barberry Hill), when you strip the book down to its bare minimum you should find a teen struggling against adversity to become more.

So, are these books important beyond their pure entertainment value? Definitely. They can play a key developmental role in a teen’s life.

  • Having these new experiences vicariously through books can be a safe way for teens to learn about life and to be inspired by the way that other teens overcome challenges.
  • Reading these stories can engender empathy for others, a very important skill in our day-to-day lives.
  • For children who may be in the midst of situations similar to those being faced by the protagonist, a YA book may provide a sense of comfort and a jumping-off point for discussing their problems with friends and an adult. It is much easier for a teen to present a book to an adult and say: “This is what is happening to me” than to find the words to describe how they are hurting.
  • Caribbean YA novels are important to our young people because, while the challenges of growing up are ubiquitous, every culture has a particular spin. Caribbean teens need support in their particular brand of coming-of-age. One example is colourism, a theme addressed in Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Musical Youth. While this problem may be endemic to the Caribbean or to people of African descent, being rated based on a physical feature is a concept with which all teens are familiar.

The world needs to read about how life impacts Caribbean teens and to understand that the Caribbean is a part of the global scene. Books, even fictional ones, play a key role in how the past is viewed. The Caribbean voice must be part of the collection of stories being told.

So how do we adults help this important movement? Write YA novels and share YA novels not just with Caribbean teens but with teens worldwide.

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Read and Win! Summer competition

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Antiguan and Barbudan teens have a great opportunity to get creative this summer and a chance to win prizes.

Teens in Antigua and Barbuda, this one’s for you! As part of the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading Challenge, Antiguan and Barbudan teens, 12 to 18, are being invited to read Musical Youth, a Best of Books’ teen summer pick, post a musical or otherwise creative review to the social media platform of your choice, and send the link to submissions@caribbeanreads.com

Here’s what you do:

  1. Read Musical Youth (available at local bookstores)
  2. Review the book in your most creative way – write an essay, a poem, a song, create a video, however you love to express yourself best.
  3. Post your review on your favorite social media site, using the hashtags #musicalyouth #caribbeanreads
  4. Email your name, age, contact information, and a link to the review to submissions@caribbeanreads.com
  5. Possibly Win a prize!

Rules:

  • Submissions must be received by August 31, 2015.
  • Open to residents of Antigua and Barbuda aged 12-18 only.
  • Winners will be announced in September 2015 and the top three chosen entries will receive prizes courtesy of CaribbeanReads Publishing and Joanne C. Hillhouse.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries that one teen can submit.
  • Original entries only. By entering you are indicating that the submission is your own original work.
  • Each participant submitting an entry agrees to use of his/her name and/or entry by CaribbeanReads for promotional purposes in any medium without additional compensation.

More Information

This is a challenge within a challenge.

You don’t know about the original Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading challenge?

Here it is in 50 words or less: Read as many books as you want, write a really-really-really short review of each book read, email your list of books completed and reviews to cushionclub@yahoo.com at the end of August. Maybe win a prize. There are discounts and minimum requirements; search “reading challenge” at the Wadadli Pen website (http://wadadlipen.wordpress.com) for details.

The Map Shop and the Best of Books helped compile the reading lists, so you know the books can be sourced in Antigua and Barbuda. The Best of Books and Cindy’s Bookstore are offering 20 percent discounts to anyone “taking the challenge”. Now, Caribbean Reads Publishing and Joanne C. Hillhouse – publisher and author, respectively – have made the challenge just a little more “Musical”. As Musical Youth, second placed for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in 2014, is targeted at teens; they want to know what teens think of this book. This additional prize – sponsored by the publisher and author of Musical Youth – will go to the most creative review.

 

 

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Zahara like Sahara

Zahara like Sahara.

This is the first line of Joanne C. Hillhouse’s new young adult novel Musical Youth.

Zahara is the name of the female protagonist and this is the rhyme taught to her when she was a child. The name is lovely, intriguing. It has an African feel to it and a distinct musical lilt, which is fitting. Musical Youth’s Zahara shares her name with a South African singer-songwriter, poet, and brand ambassador for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. Perhaps young Zahara’s mother was a fan of the South African musician. Whether this was the case or not, the name is fitting as Zahara turns out to be a boss guitarist, singer, and song writer even as a teenager.

The name is fitting on a more basic level. Apparently it is of Arabic and Hebrew origin, and means “flowering; shining”. Readers will judge for themselves, but when you read Musical Youth and you are swept along on Zahara’s journey from wall flower to stunning guitarist, those words, “flowering and shining” may seem like the perfect description for this intriguing young lady.

What do you think of the name? Any questions for the author on her choice?

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Joanne talks about the characters in Musical Youth

Still from ABS InterviewIn a recent interview with ABS News, Joanne C. Hillhouse, author of Musical Youth, promotes the upcoming CODE sponsored writers’ workshop and talks about Zahara, the main protagonist in the book.

Watch the interview here.

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