Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Reading, a vehicle for safe adventures during the COVID-19 pandemic



Reading is a medium through which we can travel to places far removed from where we actually exist.

Reading is educational, reading is aspirational and inspirational.

Reading is fun!

With COVID-19 still wreaking havoc globally, for many reading offers a welcome reprieve from daily stressors.

It’s an opportunity to escape reality if only momentarily by embarking on adventures hidden in the pages.

For children in the Caribbean schools have been closed for months and will be for the foreseeable future.

Social interaction is discouraged, in many territories team, sports and group gatherings have been banned as restrictions are being enforced to slow the spread of COVID-19.

With most of their usual jaunts now prohibited, what are these children to do?

Reading is an option!

Researchers say early exposure to books and reading stimulates the brain, boosts cognitive development and leads to early language acquisition and literacy skills.

Here we’ve compiled a list of Caribbean authors whose books cater to the specific and diverse literary needs of children.

Yolanda T. Marshall is a Guyanese-born Canadian author.

She’s extremely proud of her Caribbean heritage and has written four children's books which explore different facets of its culture.

Keman’s First Carnival was inspired by the birth of her son.

This publication was followed by:

  • A Piece of Black Cake for Santa
  • Sweet Sorrel Stand- This story follows Rose and Nicholas who so loved sorrel, a Caribbean Christmas drink, they decided to erect a stand and sell it to the people in their neighbourhood.
  • Miles Away in the Caribbean follows a Canadian boy named Miles who travels to several Caribbean islands in his magical spaceship. During his adventure, Miles highlights magnificent landmarks found in the places he's visited.

Yolanda’s fourth children’s book- My Soca Birthday Party- is set to be released later this month.

Is That My Granny, Jennylynd James

This book explores the phases of Alzheimer's as observed through the eyes of a young boy.

Chronicles of Coryn: 7 Days of Fun, Coryn Clarke

This book allows readers to go along for the ride as 4-year-old Coryn embarks on daily adventures. This easy-to-read picture book is the first in a series of informative and inspiring books through which the young author gives readers insight into her daily life while sharing the lessons she's learnt along the way.

Timeless Love, Julie Thompson 

This tells the story of a young mixed-race boy who holds everything in until one day, things explode and he releases all his pent-up emotions in a dramatic meltdown.

Jazey Wallace has been writing poems and short stories for as long as she could remember.

While working as a dental assistant in St Vincent and the Grenadines, she was inspired to pen Smile Bright.

Readers are taken on an adventure as Molly and her friend's journey to Dr All Smiles Dental Clinic where they hope to get answers that’ll help Molly feel better.

Petra and the Poui, Philip Simon

 highlights the similarities and differences between the culture of Japan and Trinidad and Tobago.

Just Like you, Athina Gordon

This book can be used as a tool to teach children about equality and diversity. It encourages children to look beyond physical similarities or differences.

Peanut and the Bully, A.L Dawn French

This story explores the causes and effects of bullying among school children.

The Inside Book, Matthew Griffiths

This book was written to help us understand why we’re stuck inside while there’s a virus outside that’s making people sick.

A Calypso Story, Timothy Teemal

Machel and Kuer journey through Calypsoland with their guide Onika, learning its rich history. They eventually find a commonality that will forever bind them, even beyond death.

Bake The Cocoa Cookie With Lola; Lola And The Magic Sticks Mary Cuffy

Join Lola and learn to make your very own cocoa cookies. Readers also get to sing along with Lola while she mixes the batter and bakes the cookie. Don’t forget to put the cocoa in!

The Nutmeg Princess, Richardo Keens-Douglas

A powerful modern fable about friendship and faith. This story is set in Grenada and centres around the Nutmeg Princess who is said to live in a nutmeg grove close to a lake. The princess only appears when its time for harvest and the sweet smell of the spice-filled the air. If you were lucky, you might see her, but to do so you had to rise at 4 a.m. and sit just so by the edge of the lake. Two children are determined to do just that, and the townspeople follow along. Only the two children are gifted with a vision of her and her wisdom "Go now, follow your dreams, and if you believe in yourselves, all things are possible." And then she was gone, never to reappear.

Egypt’s Everyday Superheroes, Egypt Bush

While exploring the world around her 5-year-old Egypt discovers that there are countless superheroes in her community, doing all they can to make the world a better place. This book is one of three which highlights the work of superheroes that young Egypt encounters in different facets of her life. These books encourage readers to acknowledge and appreciate the everyday superheroes in their lives.

The Adventures of Jada, Sherwyn Williams

Jada is taken on an adventure when her moms tiny cold turns into a raging monster. Using her imagination Jada always manages to get herself into crazy situations that often require creative solutions.

Tata and the Big Bad Bull, Juleus Ghunta

Tata loves going to school, but the only way he can get there is through Pellken Pasture which is fiercely guarded by the big bad bull. Can Tata figure out how to get past the angry bull and make it to school on time?

Anansi: An Unusual Experience, Gillena Cox

This story is about Anansi, an unusually grumpy and selfish spider who through a series of experiences, learns the real meaning of Christmas.

Where are you from? Candice Jones

This book allows readers to follow Tolu as she explores diversity and the meaning of strength.

Fury on Soufriere Hills, Carol Ottley-Mitchell

Best friends Mark and Kyle are thrown into an exciting adventure as they travel to Montserrat. With the help of Matts monkey Chee Chee they must try to save the Carib people from being destroyed by a volcanic eruption.


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