Friday, March 14, 2014

Books for Young Children by Jamaican Authors

   In October 2012, I wrote a blog post about Books by JamaicanAuthors for Children aged 8-14. I have at last completed  a follow-up post about books for younger children.  Thanks to members of the Jamaican Author’s Group for their input. All the books listed below have delightful illustrations. Although I've not included the illustrator's names, applause is due to them for adding to the Jamaican flavour of the books.

Probably the best known are Kellie Magnus’s Little Lion books, available on the Jackmandora website   and on Amazon. They are:
She has also published two board books ‘A Book for Baby’ written by herself, and ‘Trixie Triangle’ by Michael Robinson for a Ministry of Education Project.

Jana Bent’s company, Reggae Pickney(TM), has produced a series of CD Storybooks  - the CD's have the full narration and reggae songs to help tell the stories:                

  1. Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band
  2. The Reggae Band Rescues Mama Edda Leatherback
  3. Brave Turtellini and the Reggae Band
Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band’ by Jana Bent and Friends is also available on Amazon.
You can like them on facebook under the name Reggae Pickney

Sharon Martini has written three delightful stories:
  1. ‘Max and Me’;
  2. ‘Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! I Love Bugs!’; and
  3. ‘Uh, Oh! Where Did Baby Go?’
all available on her website

LMH publishers lists 28 children’s books on their website.

The following seem appropriate for young children.
  1. Dale’s Mango Tree by Kim Robinson
  2. Patrick the Proud Parrot (activity book) by Kellee Merchant
  3. Ptolemy Turtle by Melisande Potter Hal
  4. Soon Come by Melisande Potter Hal
  5. The Adventures of Lumi and Twizzy By Gina Harvey Lewis
  6. When the Sun and the Moon Ran Away by Maizle Goulbourne
  7. Saving Joe Louis by Isabel Marvin
  8. The Beautiful Blue Shirt on Barry Street by Isabel Marvin
  9. Lucille Travels at Christmas by Jasmine Ntoutome
  10. Drog: A Dreggen Story Bk 1 by Hazel Campbell
BlueMoon Books has two titles for young children:
  1. Pumpkin Belly and other Stories by Tanya Batson-Savage (who is also the publisher) and
  2. Bolo the Monkey by Jonathan Burke.
Arawak Publications has published several books for children, two of which would appeal to the younger ones. They are:
  1. Little Meeta by Jean Goulbourne and
  2. Every Road Leads to School by Kelly Griller

Olive Senior's Birthday Suit  is a most entertaining picture book, available on Amazon, but unfortunately not in bookshops in Jamaica. They claim that there would be a resistance to the price, hence will not stock it.

Irie the Caterpillar by Latoya Wakefield, an up and coming children's author, living in Montego Bay, is available as an e-book on Amazon. You can link with her on facebook if you would like a hard copy.

Prayers for School Days by Carolien Aiken is also available on Amazon.

Nancy and Grandy Nanny by Rebecca Tortello, published by Stationery and Office Supplies, is the story of our only national heroine, Nanny. Rebecca also wrote "My Jamaican ABC" which is a colouring book with text. This is one of the few books I have seen consistently in bookshops. 
Gwyneth Harold Davidson recommended
Aiden and the Apple Tree by Johnathon Kelly, which she bought as an ebook app on Google Play 
     Most of the above books are designed for adults or older children to read to young children, while they look at the pictures. The reader may also stop and discuss the story with the child. The child who has heard the story many times may begin to point at the words as they are read, or even take up the book and retell the story as though they are reading, all valuable pre-reading experiences.
   However, few of the books can be read independently by emergent readers. Books in that category are carefully written to include vocabulary the readers would be expected to know, or be able to decode. One of my most tricky assignments in a course I took on Writing for Children was to write a story using only the hundred-word list supplied, and words rhyming with words in that list. The Ministry of Education has produced a set of such books in the series Literacy 1-2-3, but these are not available for sale in bookshops.
Also for young children are some books which have gone out of print, a topic worth considering in a future post.
     If you know of any other books for young children by Jamaican authors, please could you let me know. 


Hazel Campbell said...

Thanks for this,Helen

Helen said...

You're welcome!

Mia said...

Thanks for sharing your great lists of books by Jamaican authors with Multicultural Children's Book Day! What a great resource!