Tag Archives: Caribbean children’s books

Antiguan-Barbudan Artist and Children’s Book Featured

Zavian Archibald’s art for Barbara Arrindell’s book Turtle Beach is the cover image for Collins UK Caribbean Schools 2022 catalogue.

It’s a good opportunity to remind you about this Caribbean line of children’s books in the Collins Big Cat series hit the market between 2020 and 2021 – during a pandemic, so no big launch events, but hopefully you’ve had a chance to check them out. Especially given that this is the season for giving and books make great books. They are (with reader or critical reviews sampled where I find them):

The Lost Sketchbook by Imam Baksh (illustrated by Stacey Byer).
Finny the Fairy Fish by Diana McCaulay (illustrated by Stacey Byer)
Turtle Beach by Barbara Arrindell (illustrated by Zavian Archibald)

This is an excellent read for children and adults. It is is informative and keeps the attention of the reader. Even adults can learn much about the early life of the turtle.The illustrations are colorful and inviting and touches on the issue of conservation and preservation of animals.


This is a lovely book and beautifully illustrated.

(sample Amazon reader reviews)

The Wonder of World Leaf by Summer Edward (illustrated by Sayada Ramdial)

The book’s  illustrations capture the joy and vibrancy of life in Trinidad and Tobago as well as the diversity of the people as Trinidad’s two major ethnic groups are  East Indian and African.  Other elements of Trinidad folklore are also touched on throughout the novel and will provide lots of fodder for conversation and further reading…well written, accessible and perhaps most importantly, culturally authentic.

(Nerdy Book Club review)

A lovely heartwarming story featuring authentic Trinidadian characters and dialogue. The book highlights the wholesome family values and powerful folk wisdom that have shaped Caribbean communities, but that aren’t portrayed enough in books and the media. The illustrations are so cute and serve as a mirror for young Caribbean girls and boys to see themselves depicted as loved, loveable and empowered to make a difference in their families and communities. Readers unfamiliar with Trinidad (and Caribbean culture more broadly) will learn a lot about the island’s customs and rich traditions. Highly recommended!


The detail on every page tells you the author takes pride in her work and her country, the explanations or translations for anyone unfamiliar with the words are easy to understand. This would be a great book for schools anywhere wanting to provide and encourage children to learn about a true Caribbean experience. 

(sample Amazon reader reviews)

Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell
The Jungle Outside by Joanne C. Hillhouse (illustrated by Danielle Boodoo Fortune)

The relationship of Dante and his Tanti is warming…The illustrations by Trinidadian Danielle Boodoo-Fortune are glorious. My daughter had a wow moment when she saw the picture of Tanti. The illustrations really bring the story to life. Would recommend to parents who are wanting to support children to discover nature.

(Goodreads reader review)

It was a cute and heartwarming read. Can’t wait to pass it on to my young nephew and niece.

(Amazon reader review)

Colourful illustrations, descriptive writing and relatable Caribbean experiences 

(Instagram reader review)

How to be a Calypsonian by Desryn T. A. Collins (illustrated by Richy Sanchez Ayala)

Would recommend to any readers who love singing and dancing. My daughter composed her own calypso song after reading. We had lots of fun reading this book.

(Goodreads reader review)

The authors of the books are from various Caribbean islands including Guyana, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Trinidad and Tobago; and the illustrators are all Caribbean as well.

As with all content 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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, 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 Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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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):


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


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


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


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


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

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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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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Caribbean Publisher Readies New Titles

This update just in from Caribbean publisher, Mario Picayo (someone definitely worth knowing if you’re interested in writing and publishing Caribbean stories, especially but not exclusively for the children’s market):

We are finishing several projects before the year ends, among them new websites for Campanita Books / Little Bell Caribean and Editorial Campana (adult imprint). By the time we finish it will be 4 websites- two for the adult titles (one in English one in Spanish) and two for the Children’s and Young Adults titles (again, one in Spanish one in English).  It has been a lot of work, but worth it since we will finally be able to give the required space and exposure to the Caribbean Book Project, photo albums, videos, and will also be able to update information a lot faster.  A “News and Events” section, plus a “Featured” section (new books, interviews etc.) will make the page more dynamic and we have also organized archives and books/authors information better. A new “Resource Center” will allow visitors to download coloring pages, study guides and much more.

If all goes as expected, we should launch campanitabooks.com (English edition) by November 1st, and the rest before the end of 2012.

Other projects completed:

We published a two year project for the adult division: Breaking Ground/Abriendo Caminos: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York, 1980-2012. 46 authors, 432 pages and a landmark work. It was produced in collaboration with Boricua College in New York and edited by Myrna Nieves. I included a flyer with some critical blurbs. You can also go to amazon.com and take a look.  It will be officially launched in November, but the book is already out.

We wrapped production on I am the Virgin Islands, the 5th installment in our holiday season book series for the Office of the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands (and 12th book for the Office of the Governor, if we include the Summer Reading Challenge titles).  I have included the casewrap (cover and back cover) so that you can all have a sneak peek at what the children of the USVI will receive at the three parties (December 8- St.Thomas, December 12 St. John, and December 15th St. Croix).

And finally, we sent my new title Fun, Fun, One Crab on the Run to press (see case wrap enclosed), a Caribbean counting board book for small children. The book marks our first collaboration with Grenadian illustrator Stacey Byer.  All the animals and plants depicted in this little book are Caribbean residents.  We hope to see it in many libraries and bookstores in the Caribbean and beyond. Hopefully it will be ready before December 15th. My friend, the talented Summer Edward, helped with the proof reading and making the text, in rhyme, flow better.

Our many Caribbean journeys in 2012 have opened the door to future projects, and we are pursuing each and every one of them. We have met extraordinary illustrators and writers, a deep pool of talent that needs to be introduced to the world. We have also met many librarians, people in government and in the private sector with the drive and vision to guide our efforts. This project belongs to all of you, and should be defined by the particular needs of every community and nation.  My job is to facilitate the task, and to serve as bridge between the islands, but, I repeat, the project is yours.

… lets keep working for the creation of a pan-Caribbean children’s literature movement: books by us, for our children to see themselves in, and for the world to see us as we really are.

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