These lists, highlighting books by people of colour or otherwise outside of the mainstream will remain necessary as long as books by people of colour or otherwise outside of the mainstream (e.g. Caribbean books even in the Caribbean) remain in the margins. And I’ll keep sharing them even as I hope to see my books on those lists, as more people with the power to put them in the conversation become aware of them.
If those images and the title of this post haven’t given it away, this post is about children’s books specifically (i.e. the people not yet in double digits, give or take a pre-teen or two). And we return for that list to the greatest resource I’ve found online for Black books, the African American Literary Book Club which polled industry professionals for its 150 Recommended African American Children’s Books. I’m not sharing the full list, you can view that here, but I thought I’d pull out the Caribbean creatives I found on the list (apologies if I missed anyone).
Boonoonoonous Hair and Anna Carries Water by Canada-based Jamaican writer Olive Senior collaborating with Laura James, a US illustrator with Antiguan-Barbudan roots.
I am Loved for which he illustrated the words of Nikki Giovanni and his own written and illustrated Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan who is also American of Antiguan descent.
I am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais, former star of the Jamie Foxx show, born in Haiti; Jamaica’s Cedella Marley, daughter of late reggae icon Bob Marley, doing a book inspired by his song One Love; US based Canadian born Zetta Elliott who has Kittitian roots and her book Bird; and Jamaican Kellie Magnus’ independent juggernaut Little Lion goes to School.
I want to also do some picks (a personal list) spotlighting Caribbean and Antiguan-Barbudan children’s books. For the Caribbean, I’ll mention 7 (3 I heard excerpted when I shared a panel with the authors from the Miami Book Fair last year, 3 read and liked previously, and 1 extra because I liked the cover and the author is always generously boosting other writers on her blog as I’m trying to do here).
And six from Antigua and Barbuda that I’ve read and liked or in the case of Jamaica Kincaid’s want to read.
Okay, the last one is Kittitian and Trinidadian not Antiguan but she does have Antigua connections.
As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.