Monday, June 6, 2022

A Quick Guide: Discover Secrets of Caribbean Folklore in Danielle McClean's latest Children's Book

 


Book: Secrets of Oscuros: The Whisperer’s Warning 

Author: Danielle Y. C. McClean

Social Media: 

Website: www.daniellemcclean.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DanielleY.C.McClean
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dani_yc_mcclean/
YouTube: Danielle Y. C. McClean  https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCptFPeMLjYZY3oZykAoFFnQ

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Dani_YC_McClean

Illustrator: Cover and illustrations by Rachel Moss. Website: rachelmossillustration.com.

Publisher: Caribbean

 Reads Publishing. Website: caribbeanreads.com.

 Age Recommendation: 8-12 (and above)

What’s It About?

Gutsy 12-year-old JV is back to face the world of the supernatural in Danielle McClean’s fantasy novel Secrets of Oscuros: The Whisperer's Warning
Geared toward older children, this sequel to McClean’s first book Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge 
continues JV’s story in his home the quiet village of Alcavere which is located on the outskirts of the uncanny Oscuros Forest.

Having discovered the other-worldly dimensions of the world around him, JV has found that he must shoulder the responsibility of being one of the chosen tasked to preserve the balance between the natural and unnatural realms. If that wasn’t enough, he is also committed to finding his birth parents. At the same time, he and his friends are launched into a race against time to solve a mystery of the Oscuros Forest and save a villager in peril. Will they succeed?

McClean has set out to write a series for children which is full of adventure, Caribbean folklore and mythology, action, suspense, and mystery.  Her world has already been well received. The Protectors’ Pledge won the third place Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature in 2016, and the response to this sequel is promising. Lisa Allen-Agostini, Trinidadian author of Home Home and The Bread the Devil Knead calls it “A fast-paced, entertaining story with a very satisfying resolution; this book is full of folklore and traditional folk knowledge in a relatable tale for young readers.”

McClean describes her work as a celebration of her love for her Caribbean culture, and she anticipates that the local and cultural setting will also draw in international readers. She has woven elements into her story which should captivate young adventure enthusiasts. “I hope that readers will immerse themselves in JV’s adventures and find the story gripping, the characters entertaining and relatable, and the themes of bravery, friendship, love, family, kindness, perseverance, and self-discovery uplifting,” she explains.

Purchase Information

lInternational 

    - order from Amazon - Paperback $9.99US+shipping

    - order from Barnes and Noble-                   Paperback $9.99US+shipping

    - order from Books-A-Million- Paperback $9.99US+shipping

lLocal 

      -Charran's Book Store, Trincity Mall- Paperback $80.00TT

    -  order from My Reflection Children's Book Store (online) - $80.00 TT

       - Upcoming availability at other select stores in Trinidad and Tobago will be announced via McClean’s website and Facebook page: daniellemcclean.com; facebook.com/DanielleY.C.McClean

lBulk purchases can also be made from Caribbean Reads Publishing caribbeanreads.com

 

 

 


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

"Awesome Father": A Quick Guide to this Joyous Children's Book which Celebrates Trinidad and Tobago!

 Book: Awesome Father

Author: Charisse J. Broome

Social Media: 
Author's Facebook: @srabroome 
Instagram: @srabroome 

Awesome Father Facebook page  

Illustrator: Pandalific Graphic Design Studio

Publisher: Self published

Age Recommendation: 5-7 years

What’s it about:

Charisse J. Broome celebrates her homeland of Trinidad and Tobago in this unique children’s picture book. Through the rhyming poem Awesome Fathe
r
, Broome aims to showcase Trinidad and Tobago's idyllic, natural habitat and to teach children to be proud of their tropical environment. She explains that she hopes her readers will learn to value the beauty within themselves and to honour God, the Father”. Broome describes her work as “a colourful, giddy and delightful story about love...perfect love”.


Broome aspires to bring the culture and language of her home country to curious, young readers and adults locally and internationally. She has a Spanish version of Awesome Father in the works and is endeavouring to make it part of the Trinidad and Tobago school syllabus. I hope readers the world over - children as well as parents, aunts as well as uncles - will be inspired, re-ignited and impassioned to fall in love with their awesome surroundings, with their awesome selves and with each awesome other”.  

It seems she is already achieving her goal with Amazon reviews from the United States, Canada and Australia. “This is a great book for children,” notes one reviewer. “It teaches them to be grateful for who they are and everything else around them". Another reader exclaims at the vibrant colours. “I found this book an adventurous wonder.."

 

● International - order from Amazon - Paperback -US$14.35 + shipping; Kindle - US $4.97 https://www.amazon.com/AWESOME-FATHER-Charisse-J-BROOME-ebook/dp/B09LC95RH5/

● Trinidad and Tobago - Christian Literature Crusade bookstores - TT$120

https://clcttbookstores.com/products/AWESOME-FATHER-by-Charisse-J-BROOME-Paperback-5-7yrs-p427423952

● Trinidad and Tobago - My Reflection TT - TT$130 https://myreflectiontt.com/product/awesome-father/ 

● Trinidad and Tobago - Bold Book Print - TT$120

https://boldprintbookshop.com/

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Spotlight: “Endless Possibilities” - A Look Into the Mind of Children’s Author Sherwyn Williams


 

When local children’s author Sherwyn Williams was little, his mother always made sure to carry a pad and pencil around when they went anywhere because her son would get caught up in a daydream and start doodling.  She wanted to make sure he had a creative outlet for his fantasies.

 Maybe she had  a vision herself of what Sherwyn would achieve in the years to come. Her son kept doodling and dreaming and trying to bring his ideas to life. When I made friends with Sherwyn a few years ago, he was well along his way to developing his visual style; now one of his most vivid ideas has come to life in his vibrant children’s books starring the precocious Jada. Sherwyn writes and illustrates the colourful stories of this adventurous, little girl with a big imagination. 

I asked Sherwyn some questions about what inspires his work, his creative process and his writing goals.


Related: Six Books by Trinidad and Tobago Authors for Your Favourite Young Bookworms!

What books did you enjoy when you were a child? 

Reading was not on my agenda until my mother introduced me to  the Moby illustrated classics collection, those books that were made in the 80s and had really cool illustrations. I read Tom SawyerThe War of the Worlds, Oliver Twist and so many more.  If i’m being honest, I wasn’t much of a reader until then. My mother was the one that was really big on reading and expanding her knowledge. It’s been one of the things I’ve admired most about her. You had to capture me visually first, and she found just the thing.  

What inspired you to start writing?

So many factors that got me into writing. I’d always been involved in story-telling in many, many forms. I’ve been a photographer. I’ve done theatre, music, and I’m also trained in fine arts. There was also a time where I had the crazy idea to create my own Saturday morning cartoon, so I started practicing my character designs, and one day it hit me! Picture books! It just felt really natural honestly.

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration for your own writing?

Many places honestly. Ever since my childhood, I’ve always gotten lost in a daydream where my seemingly boring surroundings turned into a massive adventure. My mother always carried a pencil and notepad with her because I’d just stare into space and doodle. It’s carried over into my adult life and really has fueled my creative process. Anything around me can be turned into inspiration. A great example is the common cold - a simple illness is now my best-selling book and antagonist.

What have you found the most gratifying about the response to your books?

 At the beginning of this journey, I hadn’t really thought about representation in the way I do now. What really changed that for me were the moments children and parents had said things like “Jada looks just like me/ my child.” Can’t describe the feeling to you, but it’s beyond gratifying. It’s a moment where you feel like you’re doing exactly what you’re meant to.

What are your inspirations for your illustrations?  

All of my characters are based on or inspired in some way by the people in my life. I’m one of those creators that annoyingly makes you a funny cartoon, and my siblings are probably over it at this point.

What do you hope your illustrations bring to your work? 

 I want my illustrations to connect with my viewers and be a form of escapism. I try to create characters that inspire that feeling of endless possibilities. I really want to spark that childlike sense of wonder and exploration.

Who are your current writing inspirations? What do you admire about their work? If you could ask them any advice, what would it be?

My biggest inspirations right now are individuals that write for TV. Gennedy Tartakovsky for instance is a literal genius. His way of storytelling and using simple forms is really inspiring to me. I’d definitely ask him what’s his formula for storytelling.

What do you know now that you wish that you had known when you started writing?

If you know me personally, you know that I’m passionate and a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my work. I wish I knew I could relax a bit more and have fun. Kids are really forgiving, and they give you room to get better. They’re also very honest, and that’s what’ll teach you what works and what doesn’t.

What is your writing routine? 

It really depends on how the inspiration comes. Sometimes I’d put on a good playlist and flesh out my ideas in a notepad; other times, I draw little storyboards of what I see in my head as I’m really visual. I can definitely say 90% of my process happens in a notepad.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Sometimes “the big lesson” doesn’t always come to me immediately. Most times I’m sketching or writing something that’s really fun and imaginative, but the challenge comes when I consider what I want my little readers to learn. That part gets a little lost at times, and I have to refocus and adjust.

Do you ever suffer from writers block? How do you overcome it?

 I used to beat myself up about it, but now I really believe in timing. I just take a break or a nap, but mostly I’m patient. Other times I’m seeking inspiration by consuming content from my favorite creators or food.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to write a children’s book?

Dive in and welcome to the no sleep club! Think about what you want to say and how it’ll translate within a lifetime. You’re writing for kids, and there’s a chance what you present to them may stay. Do right by them. Make it worth it and have fun.

You chose to self publish. Why?

 I was discouraged from creating a children’s book and advised to create a textbook instead by a few local publishers. I respect their business, but it’s not what I wanted to do, so I went the way of self publishing. 2020 really caused a surge in books locally and across the region. It was pretty special to be a part of, and it’s all mostly self published.

Do you have any thoughts on the publishing industry in Trinidad and Tobago?

I don’t know enough about it as I’m not with a publisher but that remains to be the problem. There isn’t enough transparency on who or what they are as a publisher. Many stories aren’t being published because the writers don’t know where to go or how to attain publication. Now more than ever is the time for publishers that are able to take works international to be created or discovered. 

What is your next project?

Currently I’m creating a new Adventures of Jada book that focuses on individuality and self confidence. I’m excited about it actually. I think it’s a special one. 

Also, Little Tony! I’m aiming to make Little Tony a new series about a little boy who is very curious about life and what the world has to offer. He’s just as ambitious as Jada, but he’s younger so that gives a lot more room for discovery. Little guy with big ideas.



Do you have any writing resolutions/goals for this year? What are they?

I want to add more dimension in my illustrating and writing. I’m putting a lot more time into the content I create. Not only do I want my work to be impactful, but I want it to be lasting and special to my readers. How special would it be for a little boy or girl to be excited about tackling something they’re passionate about because of one of my books? The dream.

What are your ultimate goals for your writing career?

When I started this journey, I honestly didn’t think past just creating something I wanted to see and now I’m excited about creating long term. I want to continue writing, creating new titles, series and content. I also want to travel and experience more of our world, so I can put that into my books. I want a really fruitful, fun and life-changing career. I’m also hoping to give children like myself a reflection. If they can see themselves in the work, then I’ve done my part.


 Find out more about Sherwyn's books on his social media Facebook: @adventuresofjada Instagram: @adventuresofjada

Purchase Information: 

  • Local - contact the author Sherwyn Williams on Facebook @adventuresofjada, Instagram: @adventuresofjada or by email: adventuresofjadashop@gmail.com for paperback copies - $60TT +. $25.00 shipping
  • Local  - order paperback copies from myexcellentstores.com - $62.95 plus shipping
  • International - order on Amazon - paperback $14.00US + shipping, ebook $4.99US

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Six Books by Trinidad and Tobago Authors for Your Favourite Young Bookworms!

 It’s that time of the year again!

The time when parents, uncle, aunts and god parents find themselves agonizing over just the right present for the little tikes in their lives.

There’s lots of options of course but deciding on something which would really delight their young recipients can give the givers some anxiety.

If it hasn’t occurred to you, might I suggest a good book? American author and humorist Garrison Keillor once said, "A book is a gift you can open again and again”, and any reader knows how true this is. A loved book is a treasure that can be enjoyed many times over years. Sometimes each reading can be a fresh source of pleasure. For a child it can be an investment in their future. If it sparks or cultivates a love of reading, it can nurture an appreciation which can only enrich their lives.

If you were on the fence before, I assume by now I have convinced you, but now what book to choose? Picking the actual book might be harrowing for some. Selecting one you enjoyed in your own childhood is a great first choice, but another option you might want to explore is buying a book by a local author.

Why? Well for one, it’s a great opportunity to support local writers. From my observations, in recent times, the range of choice has grown, or at least, these books have been gaining a bit more recognition. There seems to be a flourishing crop of children's books by authors from Trinidad and Tobago, and their work spans many topics and genres. Once you delve in, you will find yourself with a whole library worth of options. Even this can be a little overwhelming, but don't worry, I’m here to offer some suggestions.

Below you will find six Trinidad and Tobago authors whose books you might want to give your favourite young ones (or not so young ones) for Christmas, for birthdays, for rewards or just because. Full disclosure, I know some of these authors personally, or I have provided proof reading services for their work, but I think this is a great place to start in discovering some of the options in my country's children’s literature.

I have listed them roughly in order of reading age levels to help you choose what might work best for your young reader, and I have included information on how to buy hard copy and digital copies of the books both locally and internationally.

If you are familiar with any of these books, let me know in the comments and share what you think of them! Also what other local children's books would you recommend and why?


1) Duck in the Red Boots 

Author: Marsha Gomes-Mickie

Illustrator: Marsha Gomes-Mickie

Publisher: Self published

Website: https://marshagomes.wordpress.com/childrens-books/

Age Recommendation: 3-7 years

What’s it about:

In Duck in the Red Boots, Marsha Gomes-Mickie writes and illustrates the warm and colourful story of Duck who is rather different from the other ducklings around him.

Unlike other little ducklings, Duck is quite particular about staying clean,” notes the book description. Sometime Duck’s goals get him in trouble, but “he stands firm for what he believes in.” Little children will enjoy following Duck’s story as he thinks about the best way to play every day.

Marsha hopes “that children will see that Duck is different and wonderful at the same time”. She explains that the book is perfect for little readers and for parents to read to their children.

This book has an excellent message for children that is cleverly shown with ducks,” says one Amazon reviewer. “I recommend it for children of any age for bedtime stories and children who are learning to read.”

Purchase Information:

  • International - order from Amazon - Paperback - $9.50US + shipping; Kindle - $1.99US 
  • Local - order from Digitalcanopi - Paperback $1.50US + shipping 


2) The Adventures of Jada: Attack of the Common Cold Monster

Author: Sherwyn Williams 

Illustrator: Sherwyn Williams

Publisher: Self-published

Social Media: Facebook: @adventuresofjada Instagram: @adventuresofjada

Age Recommendation: 5-10


What’s It About:

Little Jada is back in Sherwyn Williams’ newest book The Adventures of Jada: Attack of the Common Cold Monster. Our intrepid heroine Jada is drawn into another adventure when her mother’s little cold turns into a big, scary monster. Will Jada prevail? As usual she’s more than up to the task.

With his own bold, fun illustrations, Williams takes young readers on a brilliant romp with Jada and her friends. According to the book description, “Using her imagination, Jada always manages to get herself into crazy situations that often require creative solutions.” 

Williams explains, "My main goal with any of my books is to spark creativity within the readers. I want them to feel that sense of adventure and possibility, really ignite passion and drive within them.

In an Amazon review, one parent praises the tale’s timely approach to teaching children about personal hygiene. “My daughter absolutely loved this book. She asks me to read it to her all the time. Great message to teach the little ones in this flu season. Vitamin C all the way!”

This book is perfect for creative, adventurous children who love surprises and cartoons.

Follow the link for a free Jada activity and colouring book or scan the code below. https://mailchi.mp/cac683b410f6/adventures-of-jada-subscribe

Purchase Information:

  • Local - contact the author Sherwyn Williams on Facebook @adventuresofjada, Instagram: @adventuresofjada or by email: adventuresofjadashop@gmail.com for paperback copies - $60TT +. $25.00 shipping
  • Local  - order paperback copies from myexcellentstores.com - $62.95 plus shipping
  • International - order on Amazon - paperback $14.00US + shipping, ebook $4.99US


3) Fishing in the Drain

Author: Nadira Green 

Illustrator: Anietha Charles

Publisher: Self Published

Social Media:  Instagram: 
@nadiragreen

Age Recommendation: 6-8

What's it About: 

All Taz wants to do is catch some fish in the drain near her house, so she can put in them in a glass bowl. She sets out hopefully one bright morning to try her luck. Her plans do not quite go as she expected, but a little help from her dad can make a big difference.

With her lyrical prose and comforting illustrations by Anietha Charles, Nadira Green weaves the tale of Taz in her book Fishing in the Drain. “This fun, poetic book will hook you on a journey to reel in the answer,” states the book description.

This story will appeal to children who love outdoor activities and adventures. “Great Caribbean content which anyone can read to their kids,” says one reviewer. Green hopes her audience can relate to Taz’s difficulties and her eventual triumph. “ I hope readers can experience the character’s frustration and celebration as she is guided by her father,” she says.

Purchase Information:

  • Local - contact the author @NadiraGreen on Instagram
  • International - order on Amazon - Paperback $6.17US + Shipping; Kindle $5.98US
  • Current Special - Local orders of the books will be signed and will include a whole package for your child with additional learning items to enhance the reading experience. 

4) Honeybee and Nectarine 

Author: Vearna Argualine Gloster

Illustrator: Kwame Hinds

Publisher: Trinity Hills Publishing

Website:  www.vearnagloster.com

Age Recommendation: 6-99

What’s It About:

One day a little bee sets out for the first time to gather honey and nectar for her hive. Little 

does she know that she will face many obstacles during her journey, and she will also make a new friend.

In Honeybee and Nectarine, environmentalist and beekeeper, Vearna Argualine Gloster, creates a fable she hopes will educate young readers about the importance of honey bees and kindle their interest in the natural world. My inspiration for Honeybee and Nectarine came from the need to see both children and adults become more aware of honeybees,” she explains.

Not only will readers learn about a day in the life of a honeybee, they will also be drawn in by the friendship the little bee forges with a flower named Nectarine. All this is brought to life with local spray paint artist Kwame Hinds’ cute and quirky illustrations.

This book was such a delight. The honeybee and flowers are adorable. An extremely powerful and educational story…” says one online review.

This is a good book for children and adults who love nature stories.  

Purchase Information:

  • Local - contact the author Vearna Gloster on Whatsapp at 2746677 or e-mail: vearnagloster@gmail.com - $150TT + Free Shipping
  • International - order on Amazon - paperback $11.01US+shipping, ebook $7.99US
  • Current Special - Local orders will be signed by the author


5) Ky’s Magical Adventures

Author: Sian Cuffy-Young

Illustrator:  Daniel Aiers

Social Media: Instagram @kysmagicaladventures

Publisher: Self Published

Illustrator:  Daniel Aiers

Age Recommendation: 7-10

What’s It About:

Sometimes adventure can blossom in the most unlikely ways. In Sian Cuffy-Young’s picture book Ky’s Magical Adventures, little Ky is worried about her snack wrapper that blew away at school that day. She knows that littering is wrong, and she wonders where the garbage goes. That night Ky has a dream that the errant wrapper is transformed into a magic carpet named Wendy, and together they’re off on a fantastical journey to learn where garbage goes.

As an environmentalist, Sian sees her book as “a conversation starter” for a child who loves nature, is curious and adventurous and wants to take care of the environment. Ky’s journey with Wendy, portrayed in warm, colourful illustrations by Daniel Aiers, is designed to educate them in a fun way through the eyes of this intrepid and curious little girl.  Sian hopes her youthful readers “will be inspired to become eco heroes, like Ky.” 

Fellow Trinidad and Tobago born children’s author Reea Rodney notes, “I love this book even more because it is written by a woman in the waste industry with the main character being a girl. Too often this industry is marketed for little boys only. Girls like to learn about all things as well, trash included!"

 

Ky’s Magical Adventures has an audio version read by voice over artist Victoria Wright. Anyone purchasing the book can send Cuffy-Young their proof of purchase to get a copy of the audio sent to their e-mail.

 

Purchase Information:

  • Local - Book Stores - All R.I.K. locations; Excellent Stores (C3,  Movietowne and Price Plaza); Scribbles & Quills, Chaguanas; Paper-Based Bookstore, Hotel Normandie; Academics Plus, Curepe; My beach, my water, Couva; My Reflections TT, St James - $120.00US
  •  International - order on Amazon or CaribbeanBaby.com - Paperback - $15.99 + shipping US
  •  Current Special: If you buy the book, you get the audio book for free read by Victoria Wright and valued at 12.99US 


6) The Land Below

Author: Aarti Gosine

Illustrator: Teja Loutoo

Publisher: Jav Publishing House

Website: www.javpublishingtt.com, www.aartigosine.com

Age Recommendation: 7-10 

What’s it about:

What happens when a family of underground giants crosses paths with a human girl and the people of her Amazonian tribe? Author of the Magic Cave series, Aarti Gosine explores this new fantasy story based on legends of the Macuxi people in her latest book The Land Below.

Young giants, Carlos and Pedro, dwell beneath the Amazon rainforest in Brazil with their mother while Juanita of the Macuxi Amazon tribe lives above them. Each family contentedly lives their separate lives unknowing of the other, until chance brings the two groups together, sparking the potential for destructive discord or a lasting friendship.

“My daughter enjoyed it so much she is taking her own savings to buy copies for her friends,” says one parent  who reviewed this fantasy adventure.

Second year university student Teja Loutoo captures this otherworldly tale in dream-like black and white drawings. The cover art is by graphic artist, Keston Ayoung.

“I would like my young readers to enjoy the book so much that they realise the joy of reading and continue to find other books to read,” says Gosine.

Purchase Information:

  •  Local - order from Java Publishing www.javpublishingtt.com - Paperback - $60TT
  •  Local - order from the author Aarti Gosine on Facebook: or Instagram:  or send               her   a message on Whatsapp: 1 868 681 7308
  •  Local - order from DigitalCanopi - Paperback - $5.99US + shipping
  •  International - order from Amazon - Paperback - $5.99US + shipping; Kindle - $1.99US