Tag Archives: Best of Books

Best of Books’ picks for children and Young Adults

Best of Books, located on St. Mary’s Street, Antigua, is a long time Wadadli Pen partner. Right in time for the children and young adults on your Christmas list, they’ve put together a list of recommendations that’s a blend of bookstore picks based on demand (i.e. sales) and customer interest (i.e. requests). We’re sharing that list for your interest, and in the hopes that whether you’re in Antigua or not, you’ll check them out (for those not in Antigua, we’re providing online retailer links where available; but remember to support your independent book store wherever you are). I’ll also insert either a review excerpt or little snippet of the selected books where I can find them, just to whet your appetite. That’s it, preamble done; here’re the Best Books Top 12 Caribbean Children’s Books for 2014 (organized by age):

1.

Caribbean Alphabet by Frane’ Lessac w/Mark Greenwood (age 2 – 5)

“Each picture has its own little narrative on this celebratory island tour–fun, fluid and imaginative.” – Publishers Weekly

2.

Tiny Rabbit cover5

Tiny Bird by Iris Josiah (ages 3 – 6)

“I bought this for my great niece, who lives in Brooklyn. It is very well written and the illustrations are so colourful. I’m sure she will enjoy reading it.” – reader review

3.

Best of Books Colouring Book-1Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell with illustrator Edison Liburd (ages 4-8)

“Antigua My Antigua is a colouring and activity book for children. Some have however already described it as a collector’s item for all Antiguans and visitors to Antigua.” – from the book summary

4.

Shadows on the Moon by Jolyon Byerley with illustrator Katie Shears (ages 5 – 8)

“On an island in the Caribbean Sea lives a lizard with an amazing tail… This is an adventure story for both children and adults alike.” – from the book summary

5.

Anancy and Friends by Beulah Richmond (ages 6 – 9)

“…a good read for my 6 year old daughter” – reader review

6.

Adventure at Brimstone Hill by Carol Ottley-Mitchell with illustrator Ann Catherine Loo (ages 7 – 11)

“well-plotted…worthwhile and appealing to its target readership of young persons.” – St. Lucian author and educator Nahdjla Carasco Bailey

7.

CAS

Trapped in Dunston’s Cave by Carol Ottley-Mitchell with illustrator Ann Catherine Loo (ages 8 – 12)

“A fun, informative and action-packed read that brings the island and the characters to vivid life. A valuable addition to the YA library.” – reader review

8.

The Legend of Bat’s Cave by Barbara Arrindell (ages 9 & up)

“I also liked the phrasing, e.g. ‘the Freetown Lakes’; that is such a typical Antiguan thing to say – I love it! Wish the stories were a bit longer though.” – reader review

9.

Cover design by Heather Doram

Cover design by Heather Doram

Boy From Willow Bend by Joanne C. Hillhouse (ages 10 & up)

“Hillhouse has managed not to make this just a ‘boy’ book. I quite enjoyed reading it and I think teenage girls will also enjoy the novel.” – the Trinidad Guardian

10.

Treasure House compiled by Barbara Applin with Veronica Simon and Tim Stevens (ages 11 & up)

“The stories were fun, and the illustrations engaging, and at the same time, I also learned a little more about Caribbean life.” – reader review

11.

cover art by Glenroy Aaron.

cover art by Glenroy Aaron.

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (ages 12 & up)

“I am a teenager myself and I found it very relatable… this book kept me on my toes especially considering (I) finished it within a day!” – reader review

12.

Tales from the West Indies retold by Philip Sherlock (ages 13 & up)

“These colourful tales from the West Indies and Guyana are full of wonderful characters, including Mr Snake, Monkey, Mancrow the bird of darkness, and, of course, Anasi the spider and his old adversary, Tiger.” – from the book summary

Also from the Best of Books – other books that teens and pre-teens may enjoy:

My Father, Sun-Sun Johnson by C. Everard Palmer

“This book has inspired my daughter to read. She sat down and read the entire book. She wanted to know if there was another level to this.” – reader review

A Cow called Boy by C. Everard Palmer

“A Cow Called Boy is a humorous   and dramatic   true-to-life novella or novelette which can be enjoyed as a serialized bed-time story   read to pre-literate tots. It can be read   with enjoyment     by literate six-year olds and by still sprightly or physically challenged ,   bespectacled   nonagenarians.” – Jamaicans.com

The Cloud with the Silver Lining by C. Everard Palmer

“Warmth and colour fill this story of life in the Jamaican countryside before the days of electricity.” – from the book summary

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Emerald Isle of Adventure by Rachel Collis

“Part travelogue, part action-adventure, this debut novel packs a wallop of a good time.’ – from the book summary

Sixty-Five by V.S. Reid

“New Day (1949), reconstructs the history of Jamaica, as narrated by 87-year-old John Campbell, from his childhood days to 1944, when Jamaica gained internal selfgovernment from Britain. The novel is written entirely in a version of Jamaican English, and interweaves episodes from Jamaican history with incidents involving individuals in Campbell’s family.” – Jrank articles

The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace

“Vivid glimpses of a village in anguished transition–stark, bitterly humorous, impassioned.” – Kirkus Reviews

Summer Lightning and other Stories by Olive Senior

“I studied this book for literature when I was in high school and thoroughly enjoyed it.” – reader review

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An Audience with Elaine Spires

Elaine seated, with copies of Singles Holiday, its sequel Sweet Lady, and first book What's Eating Me? laid out before her and from left, me, Marcella Andre and Barbara Arrindell standing alongside.

Elaine seated, with copies of Singles Holiday, its sequel Sweet Lady, and first book What’s Eating Me? laid out before her and from left, me, Nia Comms founder Marcella Andre and Best of Books manager Barbara Arrindell standing alongside.

“I think as a writer, that’s all you can hope for, that you brought something alive for somebody.” – Elaine Spires during a conversation with other writers and book lovers at an event Saturday 7th June 2014 at the Best of Books on St. Mary’s Street.

I think we got caught up, put bibliophiles in a room and say talk books and it be like that. Elaine is a Brit who began her relationship with Antigua as a tour guide for tourists from the UK and now has a home here. Write what you know…her stories explore that terrain. I look forward to reading the first of the Antigua series, Singles Holiday, but Elaine is already readying book three which she says will be out in November.

The discussion went to some interesting places, beyond plotting, characterization, writing techniques and strategies (particularly interesting to me, strategies for writing humour that feels unforced), reading habits, editing, and publishing, to the challenges of writing the Other without stereotyping and of writing fiction that draws from real life without being too literal. I don’t think Elaine anticipated quite so many questions though I believe she rightly took it as a sign that we were all engaged, and certainly handled them well. Her readings, meanwhile, hinted at the humor to be found in situations where you take people out of their natural habitat and let them wander around and bump into things for a while. It also hinted at the allure of Antigua.

Elaine is a patron of Wadadli Pen, her gift, one of time to the winning writer, time to review works in progress and offer advice and direction, a mentorship which assists in fulfilling the Wadadli Pen mandate of assisting with the development of the literary arts. This year’s winner, Asha Graham, has already benefited from her session with Elaine.

It’s been a busy few weeks in Antigua for Elaine who has spent her time here at work on her forthcoming short story collection and the pilot of a TV series based on characters first seen during stagings here of When a Woman Moans, Maisie and Em. She returns to England where she continues work on the adaptation of Singles Holiday for the stage.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad! – also a freelance writer, editor and writing coach and instructor). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

 

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An Evening With Elaine

The following is a press release from the organizers:

BEST OF BOOKS is pleased to announce AN AUDIENCE WITH ELAINE SPIRES to be held on 7th June at 7pm at Best of Books, St Mary’s Street, St John’s.

Elaine is a novelist, playwright and actress.  Her background in education and tourism perfected her eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with her readers.  For nine years she continually brought groups of single tourists to Antigua, which became her ‘home-from-home’.

Spires reading at a her previous Best of Books event.

Spires reading at a her previous Best of Books event.

Elaine is the author of four novels, two of which, Singles’ Holiday and Sweet Lady, are set in Antigua and she will be reading from and taking questions about these two books, plus all aspects of her work during the evening.

Here in Antigua Elaine is also busy filming a pilot episode for TV of The Amazing Adventures of Maisie and Em, with Heather Doram, based on the two characters they introduced in When A Woman Moans, produced by Women of Antigua (2011 & 2012)

Elaine has recently completed two stints on the West End stage (London) in the Ladykillers and is in rehearsal for the world premier of Singles’ Holiday (the Stage-play), which opens at the Brentwood Theatre 13th October, in which she takes the role of Eve.

Elaine is working on her fifth novel; Single All the Way and a book of short stories.  She is a regular blogger: http://www.elainespires.co.uk/journal

…and here ends the press release.

WADADLI PEN SIDEBAR: Both Elaine and the Best of Books have been Wadadli Pen patrons in recent years, and Best of Books a behind-the-scenes partner…so, support.

 

UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! You may remember that Elaine and Heather Doram

Elaine and Heather.

Elaine and Heather.

are the two actresses behind the hilarious Maisie and Em characters first showcased during Women of Antigua’s When a Woman Moans theatrical presentation. Heather and Elaine have been on a mission to bring the crowd favourites to the small screen, and looks like tthey’re making some head way.


Elaine, who divides her time between Antigua and Barbuda informs us that she’ll be filming the pilot June 8th at a church in Glanvilles, from midday. They’ll need extras. Can anybody say, hallelujah! Anyway, check back for more on that when we get it, and kudos, Elaine and Heather…finding funding for arts programming in Antigua and Barbuda isn’t easy so we know it took some doing to get to this point and look forward to seeing the final product.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

 

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Antiguan Authors Day Photo Op

This is from Antiguan Authors Day at the Best of Books. I’ve already shared it on my blog, my facebook page, and my (sorta) personal facebook so you just may have seen it already. But what’s one more time. What can I say, it was a good day.

with Linisa George, Brenda Lee Browne, and Floree Williams at one of two Antiguan Authors table set up at the Best of Books on Dec 14 2013

with Linisa George, Brenda Lee Browne, and Floree Williams at one of two Antiguan Authors table set up at the Best of Books on Dec 14 2013

Okay, so in my ongoing campaign to get tout monde sam and bagai to buy loooocal! especially at this time of year. Let’s see, the books visible on the table are

So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End
Fish Outta Water
The Boy from Willow Bend
Dancing Nude in the Moonlight
Antigua My Antigua
Through the Window
Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses

CoverLayout 1Best of Books Colouring Book-1The Boy from Willow Bend - COVER.p65floreebookcoverBe sure to ask for these at your local bookstore or purchase online and give someone a book written by Antiguans and/or Barbudans this Christmas.

 

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…and now a word from the Best of Books

I hate to hear the constant string of negative comments made about our nation’s youth. In contrast I have a high level of respect for people who identify things around us that can be improved and simply do something, anything positive, to make a difference.

The Best of Books was pleased to be able to offer prizes for the first ever Wadadli Pen Challenge, almost ten years ago. Ten years later we are still here;  For us we have never had any reason to consider not being involved. The primary organizers have always known “how to work with what they have” and for me that is simply practical.  Wadadli pen is not just a competition, it is an opportunity for young writers to flex their writing muscles. They are given the great gift of knowing first hand that Antigua’s write. They know this because they can look in the mirror and see an Antiguan writer.  They are then challenged through Wadadli Pen to become better writers, more creative, to become true artists.

The question is not “what can’t you do?”. The question is “what can you do?”.  This question is left on the table for all the young writers, all the teachers and parents who can encourage the young writers and all those who have a little something to give to the project to reward those who this year rise to the challenge.

This post is written by the Best of Books manager BARBARA ARRINDELL. Relations between the bookstore and me, the bookstore and Wadadli Pen has been so good over time some have wondered if it is an exclusive relationship or if I work there (no and no). But as this post illustrates, we have a mutual passion for supporting youth development and the literary arts, as well as action over talk (and some of the best book discussions ever…Barbara and her staff are bonafide bookworms). Plus they host sister project the Wadadli Pen Open Mic. And so we continue to collaborate.  Much respect to the Best of Books and all the partners and patrons. Couldn’t do it without them. – JCH

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WHO WON IN 2013?

THE WADADLI PEN CHALLENGE 2013 FINALISTS ARE…

ANTIGUA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
ASHA GRAHAM
AVECIA JAMES
CHAMMAIAH AMBROSE
DARYL GEORGE
DENNIKA BASCOM
GARVIN JEFFREY BENJAMIN
JAMIKA NEDD
JAMILA H. K. SALANKEY
MICHAELA HARRIS
ST. JOHN’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY
VEGA ARMSTRONG
ZURI HOLDER

*see all shortlisted writers here.

*re prize split – please note that each shortlisted writer receives a Certificate of Achievement as well as discount cards from the Best of Books; and the overall winner’s name has been emblazoned alongside the name of past winners onto the Challenge plaque – sponsored by the Best of Books.

 

SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST SUBMISSIONS

Primary School – St. John’s Catholic Primary – US$500 worth of books sponsored by Hands Across the Sea

Secondary School – Antigua Girls High School – US$500 worth of books sponsored by Hands Across the Seatop

ASHA GRAHAM

Author of Revelations Tonight and Remembrance
Overall Winner (Revelations Tonight), Winner in the 13 to 17 age category (Revelations Tonight) and Third placed in the 13 to 17 age category (Remembrance)

Total prizes:

Cash

$500 sponsored by Conrad Luke of R. K. Luke and Sons and the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee

Literary Opportunities

Sponsored spot – Just Write writers retreat courtesy Brenda Lee Browne

Books

So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing by Althea Prince

Oh Gad coverOh Gad! by Joanne C. Hillhouse

LiTTscapes: Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and other gifts courtesy the Best of Books

Send out you handSend out you Hand by Dorbrene O’Marde

The Caribbean Writer Volume 26 & the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books – women’s edition contributed by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Huracan by Diana McCaulay

Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne

The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories by Barbara Arrindell

And more

Original one of a kind journal created by Jane Seagull

Pen sponsored by Pam Arthurton of Carib World Travel and the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival

Two tickets on board Barbuda Express

Gift bag from Raw Island Products

Gift courtesy Joanne C. Hillhouse  top

DARYL GEORGE

Author of Ceramic Blues and Julie Drops
Second placed Overall (Ceramic Blues), Winner (Ceramic Blues) and Second Placed (Julie Drops) in the 18 to 35 age category

Total prizes:

Cash

$200 (patron prefers to remain anonymous)

Literary Opportunities

Sponsored spot – Just Write writers retreat courtesy Brenda Lee Browne

Books

Unburnable by Marie Elena JohnunburnableHIRESresized

So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing by Althea Prince

Dog-Heart by Diana McCaulay

Althea Prince’s In the Black: New African Canadian Literature (contributed by Joanne C. Hillhouse)

Send out you Hand by Dorbrene O’Marde

Tides that Bind and the Road to Wadi Halfa by Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis

Sweet Lady by Elaine Spires

Book gift courtesy Silver Lining supermarket

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

And more

2 tickets on board Barbuda Express

Lunch for two at Keyonna Beach

Lunch for two – Bayhouse Restaurant @ Tradewinds Hotel

Gifts courtesy Joanne C. Hillhouse  top

ZURI HOLDER

Author of The Big Event
Third placed overall and first placed in the 12 and younger age category

Total prizes:

Books

So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing by Althea Prince

The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories by Barbara Arrindell

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

And more

$200 Gift certificate – Stephen B. Shoul

2 tickets on board Barbuda Express

Gift courtesy Joanne C. Hillhouse top

JAMILA H. K. SALANKEY

Author of Her Blackest Sin
Third placed in the 18 to 35 age category

Total prizes:

Books

Send out you Hand by Dorbrene O’Marde

So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing

Tides that Bind and the Road to Wadi Halfa by Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis

And More

Gift certificate for Latte, Capuccino or Coffee – Heavenly Java 2 Go.top

MICHAELA HARRIS

Author of Secret of de Mango Tree
Second placed in the 13 to 17 age category

Total prizes:

Books

Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne

Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses by Floree WilliamsFloree Williams bookcover

So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing by Althea Prince

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

And More

$50 book gift certificate – Cushion Club top

VEGA ARMSTRONG

Author of Hide and Seek
Second placed in the 12 and younger age category

Total Prizes:

Books

Caribbean Adventure Series – three pack by Carol Mitchell

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books top

CHAMMAIAH AMBROSE

Author of How Tigers Got Stripes
Third placed in the 12 and younger age category

Total prizes:

Books

The Legend of Bat’s Cave and other stories by Barbara Arrindell

Caribbean Adventure Series – three pack by Carol Mitchell

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books top

DENNIKA BASCOM

Winner in the junior section of 2013 Wadadli Pen Art Challenge

Total Prizes:

Seascapes by Carol Mitchell

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

Gift courtesy Jane Seagull

Gifts courtesy Art at the Ridge top

 

AVECIA JAMES

Second placed in the junior section of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Art Challenge

Total Prizes:

Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

Gifts courtesy Art at the Ridge top

 

JAMIKA NEDD

Third placed in the junior section of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Art Challenge

Total Prizes:

Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

Gifts courtesy Art at the Ridge top

GARVIN JEFFREY BENJAMIN

MissWinner in the young adult section of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Art Challenge

Total Prizes:

Gifts courtesy the Best of Books

Gift courtesy Art at the Ridge

Cash gift courtesy Koren Norton and anonymous donor

That he may have the opportunity to collaborate with writer Barbara Arrindell on her next children’s picture book is something we can all look forward to top

Special thanks as well to all the 2013 partners: Barbara Arrindell and the Best of Books, Floree Williams, Devra Thomas, Linisa George, and Brenda Lee Browne. Thanks as well to our media partners who help get the word out, especially Antigua Nice and 365 Antigua who for several years and ongoing have hosted pages for Wadadli Pen on their very busy hubs.

joanne26I am Joanne C. Hillhouse. I am first and foremost a writer (author of The Boy from Willlow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad! and contributor to other anthologies and journals) who could’ve benefited from this kind of encouragement back in the day. That’s why I do this. Congratulations to all the winners, and remember this is not just a contest; this is our attempt to nurture and showcase Antiguan and Barbudan literary talent. We’ve taken the time over the years to provide feedback to the winning writers, conduct writing workshops including online workshops right here on this site, visit schools, and other activities (such as this site) designed to help young writers hone their skills. As we showcase your best efforts here on https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com we encourage you to keep writing and to remain open to the opportunities to become a better writer.

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…toward Wadadli Pen 2013

I posted this on my facebook earlier today…and now I’m posting it here:

Just got off the phone with Conrad Luke and feeling extremely blessed as he, with no pleading whatsoever from me, pledged a second straight year of patronage to Wadadli Pen and for a few more years as well…all this while I’ve been too busy and bummed with real life to even begin thinking about soliciting or really putting things in place for the 2013 programme. We need all the help we can get  (as stated in this pledge request) so so thankful for those who’ve pledged their support already for 2013 such as Hands Across the Sea, Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay, the Best of Books and now Lukie. Sweet! I might have danced around the living room and sang a little Tammi Faye Baker (“we’re blessed, we’re blessed, we’re blessed..”) after getting off the phone, but there’s no video footage to prove it :-)

 

 

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