Friday, March 16, 2012

Island Princess in Brooklyn

Island Princess in Brooklyn, by Diane Browne, is a story about a girl who leaves her beloved Jamaica to go and live with her mother in Brooklyn. She tells of her shocks and challenges, her mistakes and triumphs, and her eventual acceptance of her new life.
   On Friday, March 16, 2012 Mr. Nicklaus Bromfield of Carlong Publishers, Ms. Pauline Shuttleworth of Sangster's Bookstore (Montego Bay, King Street Branch) and I promoted this book, which is a title in Carlong's Sand Pebble Series.
   The promotion was at St. James Parish Library before a select audience of teachers and students from Chetwood Memorial, Howard Cooke and Barracks Road Primary Schools, St. James Prep School and Haughton's Academy. In spite of the fact that the majority of the students were younger than the intended age range, they were most attentive, super-intelligent and well-spoken.
    I began with a discussion of what is meant by fiction and that, although Princess is a fictional character, the location is real. This led into my reading of the first two chapters, followed by questions. Mr. Bromfield then talked about the Sand Pebble Series, mentioning other books such as Bernie and the Captain's Ghost by Hazel Campbell and Every Little Thing Will Be All Right, also by Diane Browne. Then I read part of chapter 18, "What did I miss most?" - Princess's account of the way in which everybody in Jamaica stops what they are doing to watch important international sprint events, and her class-mates' reactions.
    The promotion came to a close with the presentation of prizes to the first students to put up their hands and give the right answers to questions. During refreshment time after the function, I was pleased that several students came to speak to me, including one eight-year-old wanting advice on how to become an author. She is already doing the right thing by writing every day and being a voracious reader!
    We authors tend to get discouraged when publishers reject our manuscripts, and upset when bookshops don't display our published books as prominently as we would like. We sometimes forget that publishing and bookselling are businesses which depend entirely on sales. They are cautious about taking risks with little known writers and titles, fearing having capital locked up for too long in books that don't sell. We have to thank Carlong Publishers and Sangsters bookstores for not only taking that risk, but also for actively promoting the books. I appeal to my readers to make their gamble pay off, by buying Island Princess in Brooklyn when looking for birthday and Christmas gifts for 10-14 year-olds. For Jamaicans abroad, it would be a genuine Jamaican gift to take back from a holiday in Jamaica, (unlike a souvenir made in China).


JAMbooks said...

On behalf of Carlong, thanks Helen. It's not often that we writers take time out of our busy schedules to promote the works of other authors. Really generous of you.

Helen said...

You're welcome. I think we should do more of this.

Pamela K Witte said...

Very cool of you to promote this book!

Cautious about taking risks with little known writers and titles, fearing having capital locked up for too long in books that don't sell... Isn't that the truth! And very well said.

Where Is Island Princess in Brooklyn available?

Helen said...

Island Princess in Brooklyn is as far as I know only available in Jamaica at present. I will have to send you a copy!

Diane Browne said...

Hi Helen, thanks again for promoting my book. I enjopyed your account of the event, and how you approached it. I think that we are beginning to see greater interest in local books. I think together we are making a difference. I do hope that you will also be able to promote "Delroy in the Marog Kingdom". Two persons have asked me for books for boys of Jamaican descent overseas, and I'm delighted to know that I have yours and Hazel's to recommend to them.

Melanie K Wood said...

Look what you sparked in that eight-year-old audience member! Isn't that wonderful, when you see someone inspired by the experience, is brave enough to approach the presenter, and ask how they might be able to do something along the same lines (write! get published! be an author too! stand up for someone else's good work!). And then to be encouraged! That was a seed planted - I wonder how it will bloom in the garden of her life. Thank you for sharing your time at the library, Helen! And with such a great story, too!