Tag Archives: Children

Lost! Audio Book

My picture book Lost! is now also available as an audio book. Listen to a sample here.

Lost Cover Front 4



Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

Lost! Released

Author, editor, and writing coach Joanne C. Hillhouse releases her latest children’s book, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. Beautifully illustrated by Trinidadian artist Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Lost! is inspired by the story of an Arctic seal which found itself in the Caribbean seas a few years ago. The book pulls children into a fun adventure about […]

via Dolphin, the Arctic Seal, Returns to Antigua and Barbuda in an Inspiring Children’s Book — Repeating Islands

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

These just in!

Lost books

My author copies are here! My author copies are here!

This is my latest book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure.

So now you know what you’ll be winning if you take the quiz I announced here on the Wadadli Pen blog earlier this week. Here’s the link.

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, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress and/or Facebook. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

All the Books

As I may have mentioned here before, my latest book, the children’s picture book With Grace, was selected for the U. S. Virgin Islands’ Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. I thought it’d be cool to post all the selected books – no reason you can’t add them to your or your kids’ summer reading list wherever you are.


Here’s the full 2017 Title Information

Title: Spider in the Rain
Author: Phillis Gershator
Grades: K – 1
Specs: 32 pages, paperback
A small spider happily looks out from a rooftop gutter, admiring the fluffy clouds passing overhead, but the clouds he sees are RAIN clouds.

What should a little creature like him do in the rain? Iguanas, bats, birds, mongooses, butterflies, and bees all give the spider good advice. But it’s too late.

Down comes the rain and washes the poor spider out––down the waterspout and into a pond. What will happen to our spider? Will he survive? If he does, will he return to his old ways, or will he try something new?

Title: When I Grow Up
Author: Rick Grant
Grades: K – 2
Specs: 32 pages, paperback
This poetic and colorful book speaks to the dreamer in all of us
and serves as a reminder that when searching for the best job in
the world, the heart is the first place where we should look.

Title: When the Trees Come Alive
Author: Zayd Saleem
Grades: 2 – 3
Specs: 32 pages, paperback
Malik’s mother asks him to take a bag of fruit to his
grandmother’s house. On his journey, Malik recalls all that his
grandmother has taught him about magnificent trees that can be
found in the Virgin Islands.

Title: Close to Nature: Sea Turtles of the Virgin Islands
Grades: 3-6
Specs: 48 pages, paperback
Meet the amazing sea turtles of the Virgin Islands.
Some can dive two thousand feet underwater, some travel
thousands of miles every year, and others love to eat jellyfish. A
fun and educational book filled with information about one of our
favorite animals.

The book contains beautiful photos by Virgin Islands photographers.

Title: With Grace
Author: Joanne C. Hillhouse
Grades: 4-5
Specs: 48 pages, paperback
Grace, of Grace’s Peak, loves her home above the village, above
the whole island. All her trees are lush and full of ripe fruits,
except for the one at the far end of her land. She hates that tree.
So when the smiling, barefoot girl from the village asks Grace if
she can pick fruits to sell at the market, it is from that sad, bare
tree that Grace “generously” allows her to pick. Little does Grace know that the young girl’s kind, loving heart and her sweet special song will make the impossible happen, and change life at Grace’s Peak forever.

Title: B is for Benye: A Virgin Islands Historical and Cultural
A-Z Book
Author: Charlene Blake-Pemberton
Grades: 6
Specs: 48 pages, paperback
Clarice and Vincent, who live on the island of St. Croix, send a
special package to their grandchildren in Florida. Can you guess
what is in the box? Through the eyes of a Virgin Islands family,
the author describes the culture and cuisine of the US Virgin
Islands. Roots and culture are the underlying themes in B is for
Benye: A Virgin Islands Historical and Cultural A-Z Book


Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Literary Gallery

Mailbox – Children, Teen/YA Caribbean Books Rec’d

Summer Edward, a specialist in the area of children’s books specific to the Caribbean region, recently did a list for Caribbean American Heritage Month in Horn magazine. She shared the link and I thought I’d share with you for your kids’ summer reading adventures, Caribbean or not.

Here it is.


Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love

Cushion Club Resumes

The long hot summer is over and school is back in session, you know what that means – Cushion Club weekends. The children’s reading clubs comes together again this and every Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. You know where, the University of the West Indies Open Campus (Antigua and Barbuda). Let the reading adventure begin. Adult volunteers also welcomed.


Filed under A & B Lit News Plus

Do our children lack the abilty to imagine?

I was asked to present at the public library camp over the summer, as I did last summer.DSC_0346Couldn’t do it. But it provided the opportunity to introduce the children to the writing of one of our Wadadli Pen Challenge winners (or so I hoped).

Margaret Irish - winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish – winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize collects her gifts courtesy Caribbean Reads Publishing and plaque sponsored by Joy Lawrence.

Margaret Irish is the winner of the Lead by Example Teachers Prize 2014, and, from the beginning, the idea behind that was encouraging teachers to write, and getting them to get creative in a way that could inspire their students to do the same, inspire them to share their own stories. The teachers were Challenged to submit entries that they could share with their students. Margaret’s The Skipping Rope is a good example of this and that’s why I thought she’d be a good match for the library programme. She readily agreed to do it (thanks to her for doing that) but as she informed me in a subsequent email (shared with permission) she didn’t share her story after all. Instead, she said, “I took them through an exercise in learning to use their imagination” I’m still disappointed she didn’t share her story but adjusting to the circumstances in the field is perfectly reasonable; matter of fact, absolutely essential. Her adjustment was driven by her observation that “students are unable to write creatively, simply because they cannot, they have not developed their imagination.”

As I write this, I remember one of the judges making a similar comment in her review of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge submissions (a comment that echoed the 2005 judges’ report, in which the judge commented about the writers playing it safe, if I’m remembering correctly). The 2014 judge wrote: “The talent is there but I think they need to be taught a few techniques in story writing. I think they suffer from writing too many structured school stories. It is as though they don’t know they can use their imagination.”

This judge’s comment also has me considering another part of Margaret’s email. When she asked the 80 or so students (campers) how many of them liked writing compositions, only five or six raised their hands; when asked how many hated writing compositions “you should have seen the frustrated looks and defiant hands. It was sad.”

Sad indeed.

Possibly, part the problem is in the phrasing. One of the participants in my summer media training workshop at the Department of Youth Affairs comes to mind. She was distracted and disruptive throughout, but, as our rap sessions revealed, sharp as a tack and quite articulate and opinionated. Like most of them she resisted settling down to the work. I remember when she was required to present her review of the first film we’d watched. She hadn’t written a thing and I know she expected me to skip her but I told her she was still expected to present. And she did; she winged it. Interestingly, she did a pretty good job, there was good recall and clear insights in her ramblings and I couldn’t help thinking she’d have had a pretty good presentation if she’d taken the time to even organize her thoughts into bullet points if she didn’t want to write. I remember my one on one with her to discuss the article that each participant was required to produce at the end of the two weeks. She identified her topic, one of the topics we’d discussed earlier in the week but as I pressed re her action plan, trying to get her to focus and to draw on the tools and techniques I’d been sharing with them, it was clear she had no interest in the assignment or the topic. The assignment I dug in my heels on – I was determined that each person would at least try – but why would you pick a topic you had no interest in? So I threw it out and opened up a conversation with her about her genuine interests; it was a bit like pulling teeth at first but eventually I got her talking about one of her biggest interests and suggested to her how that could be a story. She hadn’t finished by the end of the week, and, frankly, I was doubtful she would, but she’d started. When she showed me her progress, it was primarily structured as responses to the questions I’d thrown out to guide her and I realized she’d need more time learning to structure them into prose. But I counted the baby step of getting her started on something as a win. The connection I’m seeing between that story and Margaret’s observation and the judges’ comments is the way we sometimes get locked into this square way of thinking, everything inside the box. One of the reasons I do Wadadli Pen is to awaken that idea that the stories are right there in their own backyard, in their own lives, not remote from their reality. Sometimes it’s enough to get them thinking and talking about the stuff they actually want to think and talk about, a little difficult to do in a one-off session with 80 people (with anything over, say, 15 – 20 really). Sometimes you have to jump start the conversation with films or songs or really whatever works. And, as I tried to do with the breaks and journaling activities at the DYA workshop, sometimes you need time to just be still within yourself, idle even, let your brain just float.

Because the imagination is key to everything: without the imagination there  is no writing, without the imagination there is no creativity, without the imagination there is no visioning, no seeing beyond where you are to the impossible. This is not just about writing now because seeing beyond where we are is something we need as individuals, period, and as a nation; it is this imagining that guides our feet, and lifts a song of promise and possibility in our souls, staving off stagnation and cynicism. So what is it about our environment that has them so uninspired and how can this be addressed not by way of one-off sessions but consistently?

Questions to ponder. Because it’s not that our kids lack imagination. As author Andre Dubois lll said, “We’re all born with an imagination. Everybody gets one.” And it is the font from which writing flows, and not just writing but everything that’s magical in the world.

During her session at the camp, Margaret read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, instead of her own story (and I still, all said, have some issues with that decision because why not do both). She chose that story though I think to reinforce the idea that “when using one’s imagination, the events do not have to make sense.” It opened up the opportunity for her to engage them in an active exercise in which they would make up a story on what one could find on entering a wardrobe. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t looking for shoes…maybe unless they were ruby red slippers which, clicked three times…conjured up a magic carpet that spirited you away to…Wonderland???

It sounds like she did it as a chain writing exercise, which I do too, as it’s a great way to get everyone involved and a good way to get out of the safe zone as you never know what the person before you is going to add to the story so you can’t over think it, you just have to go with it. Which reminds me of another quote (for you writers still reading this) from the Dubois article: “I love that line from E.L. Doctorow: ‘Writing a novel is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights—‘ but you keep going until you get there. I’ve learned over the years to just report back anything that I see in front of the headlights: Are they yellow stripes or white? What’s on the side of the road? Is there vegetation? What kind? What’s the weather? What are the sounds? If I capture the experience all along the way, the structure starts to reveal itself. My guiding force and principle for shaping the story is to just follow the headlights.” It’s a good way to get out of that zone of what writing is supposed to be and just letting it be, a good way of just imagining where the story could go. It sometimes takes them a minute to warm up to it, to embrace the freedom inherent in the idea that everything doesn’t have to make sense. At least not the first time around; that’s what revisions are for.

To answer the question headlining this piece, no they don’t lack the ability to imagine, though it sometimes needs to be nudged awake, even as we put to sleep this idea that writing is this daunting, insurmountable, dead, and deadly boring thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2014, Wadadli Pen News, Workshop

Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature

I started putting together a list a list of books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors and books about Antigua and Barbuda back in 2005 for the Independence literary arts exhibition at the national Museum; I’ve been editing and updating it ever since. There’s a master list which you can find using the search feature to the right; and sub-lists like this one. It includes books by Antiguan and Barbudan writers, both born and adopted, as well as books by Antiguan descendents born elsewhere; some with non-specific connections to the island who feature Antigua and Barbuda prominently in their writings may also make the cut. I’m just trying to make it as complete as possible. Any errors and/or omissions are unintentional. Just let me know and I’ll do the research and add them. Before you do, though, check the main list ‘Antiguan and Barbudan Writing’ which is the master list.  These lists are works in progress and I’ll never get around to reading all these books but hopefully you’ll find books that you want to read. But this is not a recommendations list, just a list (as complete a list as possible). Some books are traditionally published (i.e. the rights acquired by trade publishers for sale with writers receiving an advance and royalties per contract), published with a small or independent press (still traditional but on a different scale), published via a hybrid press (a mix of traditional publishing and self-publishing), or self-published (including vanity press or any mechanism through which the author pays to publish). Do your own research re the quality of the books listed here and feel free to search the site for reviews of Antiguan and Barbudan books for those books that have received critical treatment. Finally, no problem with people utilizing or sharing the list, but a lot of time went into doing this, so please give credit where due and link back . Thanks.


Name: Sonalli Z. Andrews (illustrator)


children of the soil

Children of the Soil by Karian Christian. Bold Books 268. Antigua and Barbuda. 2021.

Journey to Discovery: Carl’s Summer Adventure by Samantha Dian Samuel. Antigua. 2019.

About the Books:

Children of the Soil – This colouring book includes 100 pages of colouring and fun activities, for boys and girls. Children will be able to spend hours, with fun puzzles, nature pictures and other enjoyable tasks, all while discovering sights and scenes from the beautiful twin island of Antigua and Barbuda.

Journey to Discover – School’s out and Carl can’t wait to get to camp. As a regular kid in 2nd grade, Carl likes to spend time with his family and friends, but this summer is different. Join him as he goes on an adventure that will change his life!

About the Illustrator: Sonalli Andrews is a graphic designer whose other projects include the graphic novel August by Tameka Jarvis-George. See his CREATIVE SPACE feature.


Name: Kishma Anthony


kishmaDylan’s Big Surprise at the Doctor (with illustrator Sherri Molitor). US Virgin Islands. 2013.

About the Book: This book chronicles the thought process of a precocious little boy named Dylan, who was terribly afraid of going to the doctor to get shots. There was a special nurse named Nurse Jennie, who always helped to calm Dylan’s fear about having to get a shot from the doctor. Nurse Jennie genuinely loved children, she played with puppets and made funny animated animal sounds, to help to distract children from the fear of having to get a shot from the doctor. The book also helps to emphasize the importance of nurses in healthcare and the pivotal role that they play in the lives of those they provide care for.

About the Author: Kishma Anthony was born in St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands to Antiguan parents. As a child, Kishma’s love for the arts developed as she participated in several plays as a part of her school’s Communication Arts Showcase program. She enjoys using the creativity of voice in bringing to life the characters in the children’s books that she reads. Her earlier work as a child care provider in the Atlanta area helped to foster the unequivocal love and admiration that she has for children. Kishma is currently working towards a Master of Healthcare Administration degree. Her past experience working with children and her current educational pursuit naturally led to writing a series of books for children that addresses medical concerns. In her spare time, she enjoys having fun, spending quality time with family and close friends, and writing more about Dylan and his experiences.


Name: Zavian Archibald (illustrator)


Turtle Beach (with author Barbara A. Arrindell). Collins. UK. 2021.


Fish Outta Water (with author Joanne C. Hillhouse). Pearson. UK. 2013.

About the Book:

In Turtle Beach, a young girl is excited to be going to a restaurant to celebrate her birthday with her parents. While she’s there, she sees baby turtles trying to find their way to the ocean. It’s a magical event to witness, but she also learns how humans can interfere with the journey of the hatchlings and why they need to take actions to help them reach the water. This beautifully illustrated book is a story that raises awareness of how simple acts can impact vulnerable creatures like turtles. While this is a story set in the Caribbean, it’s one that goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone.

Fish Outta Water – Meet Dolphin, the Arctic seal. Dolphin loves hearing tales of the Caribbean, but how will he fare when he finds himself on his very own Caribbean adventure? Will he finally get to meet a real dolphin? An updated version of this book  (re-published as Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure), with all new illustrations by Trinidad and Tobago artist Danielle Boodoo Fortune and activities is available as of 2017 on the Caribbean Reads imprint.

About the Illustrator: Zavian Archibald is an Antiguan and Barbudan visual arts teacher, and freelance illustrator and concept artist. She studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design.


Name: Barbara Arrindell.


Turtle Beach Turtle Beach (with illustrations by Zavian Archibald). Collins. UK. 2021.

UntitledThe Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Antiguan Stories (with illustrations by Edison Liburd). 2012.

Antigua my Antigua (with illustrations by Edison Liburd). 2011.

About the Books:

In Turtle Beach, a young girl is excited to be going to a restaurant to celebrate her birthday with her parents. While she’s there, she sees baby turtles trying to find their way to the ocean. It’s a magical event to witness, but she also learns how humans can interfere with the journey of the hatchlings and why they need to take actions to help them reach the water. This beautifully illustrated book is a story that raises awareness of how simple acts can impact vulnerable creatures like turtles. While this is a story set in the Caribbean, it’s one that goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone.

The stories in Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Antiguan Stories are fictionalized retellings of Antigua’s legends and stories as told through the eyes of well know historical figures; and Antigua My Antigua is a colouring and activity book featuring sites of interest in Antigua and Barbuda. Barbara Arrindell is responsible for the concept, wording, and original design while the final illustrations and sketches are the work of Artist Edison Liburd.

About the Author: Barbara Arrindell is the manager of the Best of Books bookstore in Antigua, former coordinator of the Independence Literary Arts Committee a playwright, amateur historian, professional Human Resources trainer with her own company, Barbara Arrindell & Associates, former head of Optimist Caribbean, volunteer with numerous organizations like Trees Inc. 2020, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, the Listen to Me Anglican youth group, and more, and as a result a Women of Wadadli 2020 change agent awardee. Arrindell is also a Wadadli Pen patron and partner.


Name: Darlene Beazer-Parker

Book: Summertime Fun. ArchwayPublishing. USA. 2020.

About the Book: Summers on the island of Barbuda can seem like paradise: children play all day long until the sun sets. Darlene Beazer-Parker celebrates the island home where she grew up in this children’s book filled with beautiful photographs. The story starts with a bright blazing sun and children running down to swim in the Codrington lagoon to cool off. There, they are free to play all day. Some children learn how to swim while others watch quietly in the shade. Jumping from a wharf or the side of a boat, the children become fast friends. Swimming styles may differ, but they all celebrate being together in such a beautiful place. At the end of the day, the children plant mangrove seedlings to preserve their lagoon for future children. They go home wishing summer will never end. Join the author as she looks back on an idyllic summer in Barbuda where anything seems possible.

About the Author: 

Darlene Beazer-Parker was born and raised on the island of Barbuda. She pursued her dream of becoming a teacher after graduating high school. Over the years, she realized that one of the most rewarding parts of the job is reading stories to her students and helping them develop their creativity. She shares her love for her island home of Barbuda through poetry and prose. She lives in Virginia, with her husband and two sons.


Name: Victoria Benjamin

Book: Island Girl. XLIBRIS. 2013.

About the Book: Growing up on the island of Antigua in the village of Swetes, with her brothers and sisters and relatives has left lots of memories in Victoria’s mind. Some of the memories are great and there are some that Victoria is uncomfortable with. She shares all in Island Girl.

About the Author: Dr. Victoria Benjamin is a Reading/Literacy Coach. She holds a bachelors degree in Sociology form Lehman College in the Bronx, New York. She also holds a masters degree in Elementary from the City College of New York and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota.


Name: Lisset Bird-Pickens

Book: Sweet Island Side of Me (w/illustrator Josh Vierela). Ignite Inc. 2021.


About the Book: Sweet Island Side of Me tracks the experience of visiting the island of Antigua through a little girl’s eyes as she learns about her Antiguan history. This little girl is guided through this discovery by her mother, who was raised by her parents in Antigua. The story is based loosely on the life of the author through her daughter’s need to complete a school project, the novel builds toward revelations about the country as well as her family, and about the unique relationships of family that persist through time. The story primarily follows Addysen, nicknamed “Sugar”, as she tries to gather information for a school project that at first did not capture her interest. However, as she maneuvers through her time spent in Antigua she comes to realize several truths about her family, the culture and most important of all, herself.

About the Author: Lisset Bird-Pickens is an American/Antiguan writer.


Name: S. Khalilah Brann

Book: The ABCs of the Black Panther Party (w/Chemay Morales-James). Decolonizing Education Publishing. USA. 2017.

About the Book: Decolonizing Education Publishing™ aims to produce literary work that is deliberate in centering black and brown experiences, narratives, history, and cultural contributions. Decolonizing Education Publishing is a collaboration between the founders of Culturally Responsive Education of the African Diaspora (CREAD) – which supports teachers in ensuring positive racial identity development through education – and My Reflections Matters (MRM) – which provides the tools necessary to help combat institutional and internalized racism. The ABCs of the Black Panther Party, the first book from Decolonizing Education Publishing, introduces children 7 to 12 to the Black Panther Party. It supports the expansion of children’s oral and written language while awakening their social consciousness.

About the Author: A daughter of the Caribbean (specifically Antigua and Barbuda), S. Khalilah Brann is an educator, curriculum developer, consultant, coach, a self proclaimed Cultural Ambassador, Researcher and Producer. She received her Masters of Education in Secondary English and her Masters of Educational Leadership from Long Island University. She is the co-founder of Decolonizing Education Publishing and Founder of CREADnyc.com, and spent a decade as an English and History teacher in the NYC Dept of Ed. Project partner Chemay Morales-James is a Nuyorican, by birth, raised in Connecticut by her Puerto Rican born parents. She, too, is a lifelong educator. The pair became friends in 2013 at NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.

Wadadli Pen connection: S. Khalilah Brann, RIP, was a strong contender for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year, 2019.


Name: Byron Braithwaite

Book: Byron B’s Book of Children’s Poetry. 2012.

About the Book: Poetry in the language of young people; organized under the sub-heads of nature, social commentary, and spirituality to help young people navigate life.

About the Author: Guyanese born, Brathwaite has lived in Antigua since 1988.


Name: Deshawn J Browne


Little Rude Boys. littleKindle edition (2nd edition as D. J. Browne with L. Markham). I & I Books. 2016.

The Little Rude Boys/Girls. Dr. Noel Howell (publisher). Antigua.. 2010.

deshawne_brown_md.jpgAbout the Book: When a sick grandmother was forced to take in ten abandoned grandchildren, resentment develops amongst the children. From sibling rivalry to sexism – conflicts arose. As the girls compete against the boys in the various games and challenges, follow them to see who emerges at the top. Dr. Howell has directed a film, released 2017, according to IMDB, based on this book. Seemingly, a revised edition with a new cover, perhaps perceived as more international, was released in 2016..

About the Author:

Deshawn J. Browne was 12, then a student at Golden Grove Primary, when he wrote the book, and attending Antigua Grammar School when it was launched a year later.


Name: Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan, third from left, with, left to right, Edward Albee, Nora Ephron, and Salman Rushdie – co-honourees at a New York Public Library event


I am loved (illustrator with Nikki Giovanni). 2018.

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books).  Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. USA. 2016.

Sail Away, Poems by Langston Hughes (as illustrator). 2015.

By Trolley Past Thimbleton Bridge (author with illustrator Marvin Bileck. Alazar Press. 2015.

Ashley Bryan’s Puppets: Making Something from Everything. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. USA. 2014.

thesunisquietThe Sun is So Quiet. Henry Holt & Co. (BYR) (as illustrator with Nikki Giovanni). USA. 1996 & Square Fish. 2014.

Can’t Scare Me! Atheneum. USA. 2013.

Who Built the Stable? – A Nativity Poem. Atheneum. USA. 2012.

I’m Going to Sing: Black American Spirituals, Volume 2. Atheneum, 1982; Alazar Press, 2012.

all thingsA Nativity Poem. All Things Bright and Beautiful (illustrator with Cecil F. Alexander). Atheneum. USA. 2010.

Ashley Bryan: Poems and Folktales.Audio Bookshelf. USA. 1994, 2007. Findaway World. USA. 2010. 

Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song. Atheneum. USA. 2009.

My America (as illustrator w/Jan Spivey Gilchrist). HarperCollins. USA. 2007.

Let it Shine. Atheneum. USA. 2007.

Painter and Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan (as illustrator with Nikki Giovanni and Darwin Henderson). Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. USA. 2005.

A Nest Full of Stars: Poems (as illustrator with James Berry). Greenwillow Books. USA. 2004.

beautiful blackbirdBeautiful Blackbird (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner). Atheneum. USA. 2003.

All Night, All Day: A Children’s First Book of African American Spirituals. Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing. USA. 2003.

Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African Poetry. Atheneum. USA. 2001.

Salting the Ocean: One Hundred Poems by Young Poets (illustrator with Naomi Shihab Nye). Greenwillow Books. USA. 2000.

I, too, Sing America: 3 Centuries of African American Poetry (as editor and narrator w/Catherine Clinton and Renee Joshua-Porter). Audio Bookshelf. USA. 2000.

How God Fix Jonah (as illustrator with Lorenz Graham). Boyds Mills Press. USA. 2000.

Why Leopard has Spots: Dan Stories from Liberia (World Stories) (w/Margaret H. Lippert and Won-Ldy Paye). Fulcrum Publishing. USA. 1999.

Aneesa Lee and the Weaver’s Gift (as illustrator with Nikki Grimes). HarperCollins. USA. 1999.

Jump Back, Honey: The Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar (editor and co-author of introduction; co-illustrator with Brian Pickney and 4 other illustrators). Disney-Hyperion. 1999.

The Night Has Ears: African Proverbs. Atheneum. USA. 1999.

The Story of Lightening and Thunder. Atheneum. USA. 1993. Aladdin. USA. 1999.

KingCarol of the Brown King (as illustrator with Langston Hughes). Atheneum. USA. 1998.

The House with No Door: African Riddle Poems (as illustrator with Brian Swann). HMH Books for Young Readers. USA. 1998.

Ashley Bryan’s African Tales, Uh-Huh. Atheneum. USA. 1998.

What A Morning: The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals (illustrator with John Langstaff]. USA. Margaret K. McEldery Books. 1987. & Aladdin. 1996.

Lion and the Ostrich Chicks: and Other African Poems. Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster. USA. 1986., (Lion and the Ostrich Chicks audio cassette) Harcourt Brace and Company. USA. 1994., Aladdin. USA. 1996.

What a Wonderful World (as illustrator with George David Weiss and Bob Thiele). Atheneum. USA. 1995.

The Story of the Three Kingdoms (as illustrator with Walter Dean Myers). HarperCollins. USA. 1995.

Christmas Gif’ (as illustrator with Joseph Rollins and Charlemae Rollins). HarperCollins. USA. 1993.

The Ox of the Wonderful Horns and other African Folktales. Atheneum. 1993.

Turtle Knows Your Name. Atheneum. USA. 1989. Aladdin. USA. 1993.

The Cat’s Purr. Atheneum. USA. 1985. Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publication Co. USA. 1993.

Sing to the Sun. HarperCollins. USA. 1992.

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: Heroes of the Bible in African-American Spirituals [as illustrator with John Langstaff]. Margaret K. McElderry Books. USA. 1991.

dancing grannyThe Dancing Granny. Rep ed. 1st Aladdin ed., 1980; Atheneum, 1977. Aladdin, 1987. The Dancing Granny. Caedmon Audio Cassette. USA. 1989.

Pourquoi Tales: The Cat’s Purr, Why Frog and Snake Never Play Together, Fire Bringer. Houghton Mifflin School. USA. 1989.

Sh-Ko and his Eight Wicked Brothers (with illustrator Fumio Yoshimura). 1988.

Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum. Atheneum. USA. 1980, 1987.

Jethro and the Jumbie (w/co-author Susan Cooper). Atheneum. USA. 1979.

Jim Flying High (as illustrator w/Mari Evans). Doubleday. USA. 1979.

I Greet the Dawn: Poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar (as illustrator and editor). Atheneum. USA. 1978.

The Adventures of Aku. Atheneum. USA. 1976.

Fabliaux: Ribald Tales from the Old French (illustrator), (Apollo, Thomas Y. Crowell Co.), 1965, 1966. For the First Time Done into English With Afterword and Notes, by Robert Hellman and Richard O’Gorman (Greenwood Press), 1976.

Black American Spirituals Vol. 1: Walk Together Children. Marcel Dekker, 1974; Atheneum, 1981; Alazar Press, 2012.

Moon, for what do you wait? (Poems by Tagore) (as illustrator with Rabindranath Tagore). Atheneum. USA. 1967.

Black Boy (illustrator), by Richard Wright (World Publishing Company). 1950.

About the Books:

I am loved – There is nothing more important to a child than to feel loved, and this gorgeous gathering of poems written by Nikki Giovanni celebrates exactly that. Hand-selected by Newbery honoree Ashley Bryan, he has, with his masterful flourish of color, shape, and movement, added a visual layering that drums the most important message of all to young, old, parent, child, grandparent, and friend alike: You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. As a bonus, one page is mirrored, so children reading the book can see exactly who is loved—themselves!

Freedom Over Me – Newbery Honor Book; Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book; Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book: Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away. In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess.

Sail Away, Poems by Langston Hughes – a collection of Langston Hughes’ poems of water and the sea. Ashley’s collage illustrations for this book have been compared to works by Matisse and Jacob Lawrence in issue 12 of the quarterly Canadian art journal, Kolaj (2015), by art historian, Dan Kany.

By Trolley Past Thimbleton Bridge – This extraordinary labor of love, thirty years in the making, was illustrated by Ashley’s dear friend, Marvin (Buddy) Bileck—originally intended for a manuscript by Virginia Wolf. When Bileck’s intensely intricate drawings took longer than the publisher’s deadline allowed, the project was withdrawn, and Ashley convinced his friend to keep going, himself writing a new, whimsical poem for Buddy to incorporate into the brilliant, playful drawings. It took another thirty years for this book to reach its audience—finally—thanks to the talent and vision of Ashley’s friends at Alazar Press. Note: Bileck’s drawings are so detailed and playful, they are best enjoyed with a magnifying glass!

Ashley Bryan’s Puppets – Beloved storyteller and creator Ashley Bryan reveals the vibrant spirit of found objects in this magnificent treasury of poetry and puppets. Little Cranberry Island. It’s a small island, with fewer than a hundred inhabitants, but it’s got more than its share of treasures—including the magnificent Ashley Bryan himself, a world-renowned storyteller and author of such classics as All Night, All Day and Beautiful Blackbird. Daily, for decades, Ashley has walked up and down the beach, stopping to pick up sea glass, weathered bones, a tangle of fishing net, an empty bottle, a doorknob. Treasure. And then, with glue and thread and paint and a sprinkling of African folklore, Ashley breathes new life into these materials. Others might consider it beach junk, but Ashley sees worlds of possibilities. Ashley Bryan’s two-foot-tall hand puppets swell with personality and beauty, and in this majestic collection they make their literary debut, each with a poem that tells of their creation and further enlivens their spirit.

The Sun is So Quiet – The quiet and noisy, wintery and sometimes sunny poems in The Sun Is So Quiet will always make you smile. Nikki Giovanni describes riding rainbows, tiptoeing through strawberry patches, licking chocolaty fingers, snuggling under covers, and many other wonderful childhood moments. Ashley Bryan’s warmest, most colorful illustrations make each page look like a bright, beaming smile.Together, they have created a collection that you can linger over like a peppermint candy cane or enjoy as quickly as a snowflake melts on your nose.

Can’t Scare Me! – A cautionary tale of fearlessness and many-headed monsters.

Who Built the Stable? – A Nativity Poem – Riding in an open Jeep across the plains of Africa, Bryan found himself comparing the terrain to Jerusalem, and the bumpy journey to that of Mary’s travel on a donkey. And he came up with a question: Who built the manger where Mary and Joseph found shelter? The answer is conveyed in this beautifully crafted picture book that envisions a young boy, a shepherd and carpenter both, who, out of love and kindness, cleared the way for another shepherd and carpenter to be born on Christmas day.

I’m Going to Sing: Black American Spirituals, Volume Two – Readers will recognize such popular favorites as “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Each song is accompanied by linocut illustrations.

All Things Bright and Beautiful all things– Bryan interprets Cecil F. Alexander’s 19th-century hymn with cut-paper art defined by swirling geometrical shapes in neon hues, contributing to a pervasively jubilant atmosphere.

Ashley Bryan: Poems and Folktales – audio book, audio CD which presents a joyful collection of African poems and folktales selected from several of Bryan’s books.

Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song – Ashley’s autobiography is full of art, photographs, and the poignant never-say-never tale of his rich life, a life that has always included drawing and painting. Even as a boy growing up during the Depression, he painted — finding cast off objects to turn into books and kites and toy and art. Even as a solder in the segregated Army on the beaches of Normandy, he sketched — keeping charcoal crayons and paper in his gasmask to draw with during lulls. Even as a talented, visionary art student who was accepted and then turned away from college upon arrival, the school telling Ashley that to give a scholarship to an African American student would be a waste, he painted — continuing to create art when he could have been discouraged, continuing to polish his talents when his spirit should have been beaten. Ashley went on to become a Hans Christian Anderson Award nominee, a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, and a multiple Coretta Scott King award winner. As you might imagine, his story is powerful, bursting with his creative energy, and a testament to believing in oneself. It’s a book every child in America should have access to and it does what the very best autobiographies do; it inspires!

My America – Ashley Bryan and Jan Spivey Gilchrist remind that America’s strength and beauty come from the diversity of its people, wildlife, and landscape.

Let it Shine – With a kaleidoscope of color and cut paper, Hans Christian Anderson Award nominee and two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Ashley Bryan celebrates three favorite spirituals: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

Painter and Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan -From “Acknowledgments,” by H. Nichols B. Clark:  “Anyone who has met Ashley Bryan will attest that their day has been immeasurably brightened by this encounter. He has touched young and old in so many ways, and his ability to get audiences to chant, stomp, and sing poetry is truly legendary. Ashley’s art is the embodiment of a gesamkunstwerk — where the image, the word, and the music of the word all come to the fore.”

A Nest Full of Stars: Poems – In A Nest Full of Stars, James Berry will take you on a memorable trip through all the startling, humorous, sad, happy, painful, and joyful experiences of growing up.

Beautiful Blackbird – Long ago, Blackbird was voted the most beautiful bird in the forest. The other birds, who were colored red, yellow, blue, and green, were so envious that they begged Blackbird to paint their feathers with a touch of black so they could be beautiful too. Although Black-bird warns them that true beauty comes from within, the other birds persist and soon each is given a ring of black around their neck or a dot of black on their wings — markings that detail birds to this very day. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan’s adaptation of a tale from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia reso-nates both with rhythm and the tale’s universal meanings — appreciating one’s heritage and discovering the beauty within. His cut-paper artwork is a joy.

All Night, All Day: A Children’s First Book of African American Spirituals -Bryan has selected twenty best-known and best-loved African-American spirituals, including the title song, “All Night, All Day,” and such others as “This Little Light of Mine,” “O When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Glorious full-color pictures, piano accompaniment, and guitar chords help capture the spirit and essence of these timeless songs that can be enjoyed by people of every age and every level of musical skill.

Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African Poetry – Beautifully illustrated with his own tempera and gouache paintings, Ashley Bryan’s unique alphabet book will delight readers of any age.

Salting the Ocean: One Hundred Poems by Young Poets -There are 100 poems in this book by 100 poets who wrote their poems when they were in grades one through twelve. These poets are not famous. You have not read their poems before. These poets live anywhere. They are now dentists and dancers and teachers and students and construction workers. They write with fire. They could be you.

I, too, Sing America: 3 Centuries of African American Poetry – From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, TOO, SING AMERICA captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six poems compiled here. The voices of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, W. E. B. Dubois, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, create an energetic blend of tone and tempo, ardor and awe. From lamentations to celebrations, these poems reveal the ironies of black America, juxtaposing themes of resistance and reconciliation, hope and despair. Each poem is further illuminated with notes, a brief biography of the poet, and stunning visual interpretations.

How God Fix Jonah -”Utterly delightful” is how writer Zora Neal Hurston described this classic book when it was first published in 1946. Long out of print, Lorenz Graham’s beautiful collection of Bible stories, told in the idiom of West Africa, is available again in an expanded edition newly illustrated by Ashley Bryan.

Why Leopard has Spots: Dan Stories from Liberia (World Stories) -Discover why Leopard has spots, and what happens when Mrs. Chicken meets a hungry crocodile. These and other Dan tales are engagingly retold with dramatic black-and-white linoleum prints.

Aneesa Lee and the Weaver’s Gift -Thirteen interrelated poems and as many radiant illustrations create not only a celebration of the ancient art of weaving but a joyful exploration of how love and hard work can mesh separate threads–or separate people–into a harmonious whole.

Jump Back, Honey: The Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar – This celebration of early twentieth century poet Paul Laurence Dunbar is brought to life by Ashley and five of his distinguished colleagues: Carole Byard, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney and Faith Ringgold. In the afterward, each illustrator writes a poignant tribute to the ongoing influence and contribution of Dunbar’s poetry to African-American culture.

The Night Has Ears: African Proverbs – Ashley Bryan says, “My mother had a proverb for any situation, attitude, or event.” Having grown up with proverbs, it was no surprise to Mr. Bryan when he began reading African literature to find African proverbs along with African stories. Each proverb here is credited to a specific tribe, yet, as Ashley Bryan explains, most were known in other tribes as well, and are true for people everywhere. This is a book to treasure for its rich universal wisdom and its gloriously evocative illustrations.

The Story of Lightening and Thunder – In this retelling of a West African tale, Ma Sheep Thunder and her impetuous son Ram Lightning are forced to leave their home on Earth because of the trouble Ram causes.

Carol of the Brown King – The ways of telling about the very first Christmas are as many and as varied as the stars in the sky. And so it was for Harlem Renaissance literary star Langston Hughes, who recounted those long-ago events in six different ways — in live poems he wrote and in one he translated from the Spanish. In this memorable book, these six poems are simply and movingly illustrated by Ashley Bryan.

The House with No Door: African Riddle Poems – The succinct poetic images in this delightful and often moving collection have been gathered from various African sources by Brian Swann, a preeminent scholar, poet, and collector of riddles from around the globe. Warm and colorful paintings by renowned author-illustrator Ashley Bryan make this book a treasure. There are twenty-two poetic visions to ponder in this noteworthy collection.

Ashley Bryan’s African Tales, Uh-Huh -The fourteen stories in this collection are some of his favorites, previously published in The Ox of the Wonderful Horns; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum (Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration); and Lion and the Ostrich Chicks (Coretta Scott King Honor Book). Retold with rich, musical narration, and illustrated with Mr. Bryan’s distinctive paintings, these tales are full of fun and magic and a few lessons to be learned. They are tales of tricksters, chieftains, and both wise and foolish creatures. You will learn why Frog and Snake never play together, or why Bush Cow and Elephant are bad friends, or of the problems that a husband has because he likes to count spoonfuls. Although the stories come from many parts of Africa, they are full of the universal human spirit, to be shared and treasured for every generation, uh-huh.

What A Morning: The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals – Five exuberant spirituals, pictured in strong, brilliantly colored paintings, tell the Christmas story chronologically. The music includes simple arrangements for singing and piano and guitar chords. Full-color illustrations.

Lion and the Ostrich Chicks: And Other African Poems – Four folktales from different parts of Africa include the title  story, in which a clever mongoose outwits a foolish lion while rescuing  six ostrich chicks. Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

What a Wonderful World – What simpler way could there be to express to children the beauty and the harmony in the world around them than through the lyrics of this song by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, made famous by the great Louis Armstrong? And what better visual accompaniment than the bright colorful artwork by award-winning Ashley Bryan depicting children of many backgrounds (and Louis Armstrong himself) performing a puppet show that brings the lyrics to life. Here is a book of brightness, wonder, and hope to be shared by all.

The Story of the Three Kingdoms – An original fable about the People, who—through the power of their storytelling—came to live at peace with Elephant, Shark, and Hawk, rulers of the Earth, the Sea, and the Air. Bryan’s swirling pictures in bright colors add liveliness.

Christmas Gif’ – The importance of Christmas in African-American life is affirmed in an anthology of poetry and prose by such writers as Harlem Renaissance stars Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston; rereleased with forty-five linoleum block illustrations.

The Ox of the Wonderful Horns and other African Folktales – “Five lively stories which make delightful reading-aloud. Style and plot provide all kinds of histrionic opportunities for the reader, making it as much fun for him as the listener”.–Publishers Weekly.

Turtle knows Your Name – A young village boy living in the Caribbean has one problem–his name is so long that not one person can remember it. He thinks it is the longest name in the world, until his grandmother asks him to find out her name.

The Cat’s Purr – Cat and Rat are friends, but when Rat tricks Cat and plays the cat drum, which only cats may play, Cat ends up swallowing the drum, and that is how he got his purr.

Sing to the Sun – Ashley Bryan’s his first book of original poetry; 23 poems and dazzling pictures that speak to the heart and the soul.

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder – An illustrated collection of black spirituals about Old Testament heroes.

The Dancing Granny – Spider Ananse gets Granny started dancing so he can raid her garden, but his own trick does him in.

Pourquoi Talespourquoi

Sh-Ko and his Eight Wicked Brothers – Ashley met Japanese sculptor Fumio Yoshimura while the two artists were teaching together at Dartmouth College. After hearing Fumio tell this traditional Japanese folktale, Ashley wrote a retelling of the tale and encouraged his friend to illustrate the story in traditional Japanese ink-wash. In this classic story, Sh-ko is not valued by his eight older wicked brothers, who all think him to be stupid and ugly. But Sh-ko is rewarded for having a kind heart and a desire to help others. Ashley’s beautiful rendition of the universal tale teaches that a good character will always prevail.

Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum – Five traditional Nigerian tales include Hen And Frog, Why Bush Cow And Elephant Are Bad Friends, The Husband Who Counted The Spoonfuls, Why Frog And Snake Never Play Together, and How Animals Got Their Tails.

Jethro and the Jumbie – Angry at his brother for not taking him deep-sea fishing, Jethro stomps off, meets a jumbie, and enlists its help in changing his brother’s mind.

Jim Flying High – A proud flying fish named Jim is rescued from a tree by Olukun, the Chief of the Water.

I Greet the Dawn: Poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar – A brief biography of the poet (born in 1872 and  one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition) precedes a collection of his works, most in standard English rather than dialect, with such themes as love, hate, death, nature, and religion.

The Adventures of Aku – When sent to retrieve their master’s magic ring from Spider Ananse, Okra the cat and Okraman the dog prove their true worth.

Fabliaux: Ribald Tales from the Old French – Fabliaux is a collection of little fables written in thirteenth and fourteenth century France by minstrels, translated by Ashley’s longtime friend, Robert Hellman. This book was the first published work Ashley illustrated in linoleum block illustrations.

Black American Spirituals Vol. 1: Walk Together Children – Ashley Bryan hand-cut the linoleum block prints for the original 1974 publication of this collection of negro spirituals, as well as the staff and notes to aid any child on a C-recorder who might attempt to play them. This collection, with a new color cover and forward, was brought back by Ashley’s friends at Alazar Press, along with its companion volume: I’m Going to Sing—a gorgeous and important testament to the spirit of freedom that resided in the African-American slaves who artfully created and preserved these classic songs.

Moon, for what do you wait? – Short poems reprinted from “Stray Birds” by Rabindranath Tagore, copyright 1916. Tagore is one of India’s greatest poets, and writes about nature. A delightful picture book for children; every page is decorated with colorful block prints. Hardback book, with dust jacket, measures 7.75 x 6.25 inches. “Moon, for what do you wait?” “To salute the sun for whom I must make way.”

Black Boy – Ashley did the drawings for Black Boy during his last semester at Cooper Union, after he returned from WWII. This first illustrated edition of Richard Wright’s famous autobiography was published four years later. It is a very obscure edition, and it can only be purchased through rare book stores and sites.

About the author: Ashley Bryan, who is both an author and illustrator, was born (1923) in NY to Antiguan parents, grew up during the Depression, served in World War II, and has won numerous awards, including two American Library Association career literary awards, the Coretta Scott King award for illustration, several Coretta Scott King Honours, the Arbuthnot Prize, the Wilder Medal, the King-Hamilton Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award from the Pennsylvania State University, the Lupine Award from the Maine Library Association, the Golden Kite Award for nonfiction. and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the Association for Library Service to Children for his contribution to American children’s literature. He was the 2006 US nominee for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. The former Fulbright scholar has also lectured, and lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine. In 2002, the Ashley Bryan Art series was established at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center of the Broward County Library. Bryan submitted 8 original art pieces to the library to serve as the core of the art collection, and the series has attracted award winning authors and illustrators whose work reflects African culture to the library, creating a long lasting effect on the community. In 2012, the series celebrated 10 years of exhibits and programs. A non-profit, the Ashley Bryan Center, has been established to preserve, protect, and care for his art and collections, and to promote his legacy. A film about him ‘I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan’ was released by director Richard Kane in 2016. Adaptations of his work include composer Alvin Singleton’s musical of Sing to the Sun, 1995-1996; the Alliance Theatre in Georgia’s production (composed by Jireh Breon Holder and choreographed by Ameenah Kaplan) Dancing Granny in 2017; and, 2018’s collaboration between Bryan and composer Aaron Robinson on an African-American Requiem titled “A Tender Bridge” celebrating Bryan’s life and career and based on his writings. The production by the teens in Joanne C. Hillhouse’s 2014 Burt Award winning young adult novel Musical Youth was inspired by Bryan’s Dancing Granny.


My article on Meeting Ashley Bryan.


Name: Jolyon Byerly 

Books:Shadows on the Moon: A Lizard and Bungle Adventure (with illustrator Katie Shears). Macmillan. UK.1998.

About the Book: On an island in the Caribbean Sea lives a lizard with an amazing tail. One day while he’s out adventuring with his good friend, the Bungle Bird, a strange object flashes through the sky. What can it be?

About the Author: Jolyon Byerley arrived in Antigua from Norfolk, England in 1957 to work in the yachting industry.


Name: Agnola Charles-Snowball

39159220_687916011556994_7525935506173984768_nBook: What Happens to Number 1 to 10? Let’s Have Fun Counting Numbers. Xlibris. 2016.

About the Book: This book is about numbers. The same numbers repeat over and over from one to ten to teach children numbers. It’s also about friends who are on their way to the zoo. The book is written with the concept of comprehension and retention followed by ten questions.

About the Author: Agnola Charles-Snowball loves writing. She has written many inspirational songs and poems. She is a mother of two and a grandmother of three. She has taught typing, kindergarten, and Sunday school, and wants to make learning fun for children. Antiguan, she lives in the US.


Name: (children of Barbuda)

Book: Voices from the Lagoon. Holy Trinity School. Barbuda. 2010.

About the Book: There are 27 pieces in all built around themes like camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, crab catching, snorkeling, and life in Barbuda. “We know it is young writing,” indicated reading specialist attached to HTS, Fransene Massiah-Headley, in a Daily Observer article ahead of the book’s November 2010 release, “but the great sycamore tree begins with a seed.” School principal, Charlene Harris, meanwhile, said, “My thing is, as you write, you will get better at it; just as, as you read, you will develop the skills that are necessary.” The book project grew out of journaling exercises initiated at the school, a process very much enjoyed by the students, who the teacher indicated were also quite responsive to having an audience for their work. The school did a limited run of the books with hopes to print more. We are not sure if they did.

About the AuthorSee images of the child-authors from the launch.



Name: Karian Christian

children of the soil

Book: Children of the Soil (with illustrator Sonalli Z. Andrews). Bold Books 268. Antigua and Barbuda. 2021.

About the Book: This colouring book includes 100 pages of colouring and fun activities, for boys and girls. Children will be able to spend hours, with fun puzzles, nature pictures and other enjoyable tasks, all while discovering sights and scenes from the beautiful twin island of Antigua and Barbuda.

About the Author: Karian Christian is a former teacher and guidance counselor. She is an independent publisher.


Name: Desryn Collins

Book: 51AOjEvvQUL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_ How to become a Calypsonian (with illustrator Ricky Sanchez Ayata). Harper Collins. UK. 2021.

About the Book: Told through the words of Mighty Glen Glen, a calypso singer, we’re introduced to the world of calypsos and learn what it takes to become a calypsonian. The books takes us through six steps to become a calypsonian, the final one being to perform the calypso in a stunning outfit. Winning the calypso crown would be the ultimate dream!

About the Author: Desryn T. A. Collins is passionate about the power of books to transform lives and help children discover their own voices. She holds an MA in English from UCL, University of London. This gifted writer was born in Guyana but lives in St John’s, Antigua where she has served as the Education Officer for Language Arts since 2017. Before that, 2005-2017, she worked as senior lecturer at the Antigua State College. She has hosted Homeschool 101, a programme on ABS TV in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Antigua and Barbuda.


Name: Rachel Collis 

Book: rachelcollisEmerald Isle of Adventure. Surge. USA. 2008.

About the Book: Part travelogue, part action-adventure, this debut novel is about Michael and his sister Tammy who travel reluctantly with their mother to Montserrat, where she plans to remarry.  When their soon-to-be new family member enchants one sibling, the other sibling is filled with bitterness. It’s a long road to becoming a family and an even longer road to embracing his new home and culture.

About the Author: Poet and short fiction writer Rachel Collis lives in Antigua in the West Indies where she works as an analyst for the Ministry of Tourism. As a former teacher and a tourism planner, Collis first began telling the story of Michael and Tammy in weekly installments in the local newspaper to entertain young persons whose activities were curtailed by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat in 1995. Collis is also a recording artist who released her first CD album of calypsos and ballads entitled “My Montserrat” in 2000.


Name: Ortiz de Silvia

Books: Rhyme Time Stories. 2021.

About the Book: Rhyme Time Stories is a compilation of three Caribbean stories: Our Great Cat Ashe, Frangipani Caterpillars, and Hike to Hercules and Back. These stories in rhyme are “true happenings from the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.” With photography by de Silvia, Onessia Samuel, and Maxime James.


Name: Melinda Fletcher

Books: The Dancing Pyjamas.  AuthorHouse. USA. 2012.

About the Book: The book ‘The Dancing Pyjamas’, was created by Melinda Fletcher to put a friend’s son Dillon to bed. His inability to settle down made her think of a possibility that it may not have been him at all but the pyjamas. Eventually, having formulated the story, she would tell it to him at bed time. She has since told modified versions of ‘The Dancing Pyjamas’ to countless children, all of whom ask for it over and over again.

About the Author: Melinda Fletcher has worked both in the travel and hospitality industry. She was also the co-host of the ABS TV show Keeping it Real.


Name: Faye France


Sunny Dreams of Rainbows (w/Jacquelin Webson, co-author and tullipstudio, illustrator). FigTreeDrive Press. 2018.

When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) (w/Jacquelin Webson , co-author and Jayamini Attanayake, illustrator). FigTreeDrive Press. 2018.Jacquelin Webson

Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1) (w/Jacquelin Webson, co-author and tullipstudio, illustrator). FigTreeDrive Press. 2018.

About the Books:

Sunny Dreams of Rainbows-Left alone by his young owners who are too busy to properly take care of him a young puppy sets out on a search to find a friend. Along the way, he encounters surprises and heartbreak as he tries to make friends with a lot of different animals, but they all turn against him. However, the little dog is tough and never gives up; until finally, he finds friendship in the most unexpected place.

When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) -A family with young children is filled with joy and excitement when they find out that their grandmother is coming to stay with them for a while. As they wait anxiously for her arrival, they reminisce about all the wondrous things they get to do with her when she visits.

Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1)-Left alone by his young owners who are too busy to properly take care of him a young puppy sets out on a search to find a friend. Along the way, he encounters surprises and heartbreak as he tries to make friends with a lot of different animals, but they all turn against him. However, the little dog is tough and never gives up; until finally, he finds friendship in the most unexpected place.


Name: Cray Mahalia Francis


Honey Dew’s Carnival Fever. GoldnLia Publishing. USA. 2014. 2020.

About the Books:

Honey Dew’s Carnival Fever – Ever wonder about the revelry and joy carnival brings to children? Read all about ten-year-old Honey Dew as she explores the rich culture of Antigua and carnival during her summer vacation. When Honey Dew travels back to her native country, Antigua, facing her fears is least on her mind. As carnival draws near, Honey Dew worries that she will not be able to participate in the annual Children’s Carnival due to an unexpected illness. However, through her experiences with sandy shores, mango picking, coal pot baking, and masquerading, inquisitive Honey Dew enjoys a summer vacation that is filled with memorable moments. Above all, she learns to appreciate the people and the land which gives her Carnival Fever. HONEY DEW’S CARNIVAL FEVER is a realistic fiction chapter book written for young readers (ages 7-10) who want to explore themes of culture and diversity, personal narratives, and character traits.

About the Author:

Cray Mahalia Francis, Ed.M. is a native of Antigua and Barbuda, but has lived much of her life in the U.S.A. She’s called The Bronx, in New York, her home for over twenty-five years. There, she has pursued her passions of The Arts through acting and singing, and now, as a writer. She hopes Honey Dew’s Carnival Fever will bring carefree joy to all readers- children and adult alike. Additionally, she wrote this book to serve the purposes of diversity and multi-cultural education- offering a Personal Narrative written from the perspective of an emigrant child. Francis is a graduate of Middlebury College, VT (’05) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Additionally, Francis has earned a Master Degree in Childhood Education from Mercy College, NY (’08), and a Master of Education in School Building Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, NY (’10). A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she has been featured as an education expert in the online periodical, Hot Chalk Education Network. Francis lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.


Name: Carol Faye George

Books: Mari Warner and book 2 Mari Warner and Recycling [w/illustrator Jason Hendrickson]. Antigua and Barbuda. 2009.

About the Book: A series of environmentally themed comic books e.g. in book 2 Mari Warner (whose names sound like a certain weed) and her friend Dave debate the proper way to dispose of a soda can. The bickering is humorous and ultimately good-natured, entertaining while reinforcing how the reader can better benefit the environment. Mari is the conscience of all Antiguans and Dave is the devil’s advocate. Fictional waste recycling plant manager Ms. B makes an appearance reinforcing Mari’s message; the book ends with Dave’s decision to “step up to de plate” and Mari had served the environment for another day and proved to herself that “girls are smarter” as she mused to herself in the last panel. The book series was funded by an anonymous donor.

About the Author: Carol Faye George is known in Antigua and Barbuda for her work as an Environmental Educator. She was at one point the recycling plant manager, and educator with the Environment Division. The books were incorporated in to the Division’s cadet programme and distributed to the 39 schools involved in the programme. In addition to the cadet programme, and its awards ceremony, she was involved in the Division’s environmental camp and Eco Zone TV programme.


Name: Shannon Gilligan

ghost islandBook: Ghost Island (Choose Your Own Adventure Series)* (with illustrator Keith Newton). Chooseco. 2008.

About the Book: You are on a sailing trip with your family. One night you stop on the island of Antigua. Some children who live there tell you that the island is haunted by a ghost. Are you brave enough for Ghost Island?

About the Author: Shannon Gilligan, to the best of my knowledge has no Antiguan roots or ties; she is listed here as a writer of a work in which Antigua features prominently. She is a writer and interactive game designer. In 2003, Shannon formed Chooseco with R. A. Montgomery to re-launch Choose Your Own Adventure to new generations of readers. She lives in Vermont.


Name: Gemma Handy

BookExplore Antigua and Barbuda (with Irene Danic and illustrator Manuel Morgado). Island Books Ltd. China. 2017.

About the Book:

This 50-page colouring book is a companion book to the vividly illustrated book for adults of the same name. It invites readers to engage with Antigua and Barbuda’s rich history and culture – from Amerindians to Carnival – and children especially to learn about the country through activity. The books are the product of two years of research.

About the Author:

Gemma Handy has worked as a ournalist in the UK and the Caribbean, including since the early aught-teens, Antigua and Barbuda where she was for a short time editor of the Daily Observer newspaper. She freelances from Antigua (her mother’s home) where she is a programme host on English Harbour Radio and editor of Luxury Locations. Her co-author Irene Danics is a teacher from Canada who love to travel; she created the initial book in the Explore series, Explore Turks and Caicos. After that book’s success with locals and tourists, she realized it could be created for different islands.

Wadadli Pen connection: Gemma Handy’s Explore Antigua and Barbuda was in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year, 2019.


Name: Anne Harewood George


Delilah the Donkey and the Missing Tooth (w/illustrator Izzy Bean). Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. 2017.

About the Book: Delilah the Donkey is excited for picture day at Animal Academy but disaster strikes when her tooth falls out. What will she do? Can anybody help her?

About the Author: Anne Harewood George is a communications specialist, a criminologist and an educator who has been passionate about writing since she was a child. She was born and raised in Canada but her second home is Antigua and Barbuda which has 365 beautiful beaches and the best carnival in the world.

Wadadli Pen connectionDelilah the Donkey and the Missing Tooth was in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year 2019.


Name: Joanne C. Hillhouse


The Jungle Outside The Jungle Outside. (with illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune). Collins. UK. 2021.

lost spanish cover 2Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe. (with illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune & translators Loudymar Lightfoot and Nneka Edwards). Caribbean Reads Publishing. St. Kitts-Nevis/USA. 2018.

Lost Cover Front 4Lost! A Carib.bean Sea Adventure (with illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune). Caribbean Reads Publishing. St. Kitts-Nevis/USA. 2017.

with-graceWith Grace (with illustrator Cherise Harris). Little Bell Caribbean. New York. 2016.

Breaking with Tradition in Round My Christmas Tree. Caribbean Reads Publishing. St. Kitts-Nevis/USA. 2014.

About the Book:  

Set in the Caribbean, The Jungle Outside tells the story of Dante and his grandmother, Tanti, as they explore Tanti’s garden. At first reluctant, Dante soon comes to realise the adventures that await him outside and we follow them as he climbs trees, tastes fruit, and finally notices the nature around him.
Beautifully illustrated by Danielle Boodoo Fortuné, this book is a visual feast which will feed the imagination of young readers. It encourages children get outside and explore, to look at things differently, and to face their fears.

¡perdida! Una Aventura En El Mar Caribe (Spanish Edition of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure) – Cuando Delfín, la foca ártica se encuentre lejos de su hogar y en las cálidas aguas del Mar Caribe, tiene que depender de nuevos amigos de distintas especies. ¿Volverá a su hogar en el Ártico?

LOST! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – When an Arctic seal named Dolphin finds himself far from home in the warm Caribbean sea, he has to rely on new friends for help. Will he make his way back to his Arctic home? This book, an update of 2013’s Fish Outta Water (illustrated by Zavian Archibald), includes a short story, all new illustrations by Danielle Boodoo Fortune, and a puzzle.

With Grace. Grace leads a carefree life in Grace’s Peak, and looks down upon the rest of the villagers who are not as fortunate as she, but when a young girl comes in search of assistance, both lives are forever changed as truths about love, family and community are unearthed.

Round My Christmas Tree. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas in the Caribbean? Do you know what’s Anansi’s favourite Christmas treat? Have you ever tried stilt-walking? Eaten green carrot cake? Picked sorrel ’til your fingers turned red? In ‘Round My Christmas Tree you’ll find a little bit of everything that makes Christmas Christmas in the Caribbean. Stories, poems, recipes, and art that range from the sacred to irreverent and from heart-warming to just down-right funny. Joanne’s story is about two sisters growing up and growing apart, and how the younger sister’s melancholy over this taints their usual Christmas traditions; while an unexpected gift delivers a happy ending.

Fish Outta Water. Meet Dolphin, the Arctic seal. Dolphin loves hearing tales of the Caribbean, but how will he fare when he finds himself on his very own Caribbean adventure? Will he finally get to meet a real dolphin?

About the Author: Joanne C. Hillhouse, born in Ottos Antigua, is also the author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth (a Burt award winning teen/young adult novel). Her writing also appears in several anthologies and various international publications (fiction, poetry, non-fiction). Two of her books – The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth – have been official selections for the secondary schools reading lists in Antigua and Barbuda, and other Caribbean islands. She freelances as a writer, editor, writing coach, and course/workshop coordinator. She is the founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and the resident blogger at Wadadli Pen.

For more visit the fiction pages and/or http://jhohadli.wordpress.com


Name: Carel Hodge


ChristmasChristmas Carnival in Round My Christmas Tree. Caribbean Reads Publishing. St. Kitts-Nevis/USA. 2014.

About the Book:

Round My Christmas Tree. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas in the Caribbean? Do you know what’s Anansi’s favourite Christmas treat? Have you ever tried stilt-walking? Eaten green carrot cake? Picked sorrel ’til your fingers turned red? In ‘Round My Christmas Tree you’ll find a little bit of everything that makes Christmas Christmas in the Caribbean. Stories, poems, recipes, and art that range from the sacred to irreverent and from heart-warming to just down-right funny. Carel’s contribution is a short story called Christmas Carnival about an Antiguan young lady who goes to St. Kitts for Christmas and learns to stilt walk. She wants to take part in the New Year’s parade but her dad won’t allow it.

About the Author: Carel Hodge is a communications professional with an interest in social change – specifically finding innovative ways of engaging society and the media in addressing developmental, health and social concerns among younger populations within the Caribbean.


Name: The Humane Society

Book: All Creatures Great and Small Colouring Book. 2021.

About the Book: A Colouring Book designed as a fun learning tool for parents and educators to teach children about the importance of empathy and being kind to animals.

About the Author: Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society Inc is a registered non-profit animal welfare organization that promotes prevention of cruelty and protection of animals.


Name: Margaret Irish


A is for Arawak. 2021.

About the Book:  “The inspiration behind it started with a question, …why do we begin to learn by using objects from cultures outside of the Caribbean? Why can’t we learn by utilizing objects, the history and parts of our lives that we are quite used to? So I decided that I wanted to create a book that would help young people in the Caribbean, in particular Antigua nd Barbuda to  be proud of their identity… I wanted to start with the alphabet.” (Irish in ABS TV interview)

About the Author:

Margaret Irish is Jamaica-born and resident in Antigua where she works as a 3rd to 5th form English teacher at St. Anthony’s Secondary School. She holds an Msc in material cultures and history of the book from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She is the winner of two Wadadli Pen prizes – the 2014 Lead by Example Teachers Prize for The Skipping Rope and the 2015 flash fiction prize for Justice. She has since become a volunteer with and core Wadadli Pen team member.


Name: Farida Isaac-Carr


cover activityCalypso Princess: Colouring and Activity Book (w/illustrator Aminata Joseph). 2019.

bookcovaCalypso Princess: The Grand Celebration (w/illustrator Aminata Joseph). 2018.

About the Book:

Calypso Princess: Colouring and Activity Book – inspired by Calypso Princess: the Grand Celebration and the music and scenery of Caribbean carnivals, the book features over 20 pages of mazes, word puzzles, and pictures of costumes and steel pan.

Calypso Princess: The Grand Celebration – September is Jel’s favorite time of the year for three reasons; It is Carnival time in the Island of Redonda, her favorite flowers are in bloom, and most importantly, it’s her birthday. Find out how Jel becomes the first Calypso Princess. This children’s book is filled with Caribbean culture but would be a joy for all princesses in the making.

About the Author:

Antigua-born Farida Isaac-Carr graduated from Skidmore College in the United States with a bachelor’s degree in human services. She is, at this writing (2019), employed as a senior welfare officer with the Antigua and Barbuda government. She was the 2018-2019 VP of Membership at the Antigua Toastmasters Club, which she credits in her book for building her confidence to become a children’s author. You can also find her reading, dancing zumba, and coaching or playing volleyball. Her debut children’s book Calypso Princess, The Grand Celebration and accompanying Calypso Princess Coloring and Activity Book seek to share the beauty of the Caribbean culture and promote positive self-identity.


Name: Laura James (illustrator)


Boonoonoonous Hair (with author Olive Senior). Tradewinds. 2019.

Anna Carries Water (with author Olive Senior).  Tradewinds. 2014.

About the Books:

Boonoonoonous Hair – in this vibrant and exquisitely illustrated picture book, written by Commonwealth Prize-winning Jamaican-Canadian Olive Senior, and with pictures by the acclaimed artist Laura James (the team that created Anna Carries Water), a young girl learns to love her difficult-to-manage, voluminous and boonoonoonous hair.

Anna Carries Water, set in Jamaica, is about a girl learning to balance water from the spring on her head.

About the illustrator: Laura James has been working as a professional artist and illustrator for over twenty years. In addition to painting sacred images from various religions, she portrays women, families, and scenes of everyday life; blending intricate patterns, text, vibrant colors and sometimes surreal imagery into what she calls “art for the people.” Laura is best known for her illustrations (34 painting rendered in the Ethiopian Christian Art style) in the award winning Book of the Gospels lectionary published in 2000 by Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago, Illinois. Her other projects include Nannies and Other Mothers where she attempts to shed light on a subject long neglected by popular culture. The Nanny Series – A Post-colonial Reading incorporates a paper and slide presentation around this project, and was first presented at the 2nd ISA Forum of Sociology in Buenos Aires, Argentina in August 2012. James’ work is widely collected and exhibited, and she has also organized many exhibitions and special events. She lives and works in the Bronx, NY.


Name: S. E. James


carlong publishers

Forest Fever. Carlong Publishers. Jamaica. 2014.

(with illustrator Lyndell Benjamin):

Kidnapped at the Beach.  Sharon Publications. Antigua. 2003.

A Narrow Escape. Sharon Publications. Antigua. 2003.

Tragedy on Emerald Island. Sharon Publications. Antigua. 2002.

About the Books: 

Forest Fever – Jerry from the Caribbean island of Dominica was on his first class trip into the forest at Boiling Lake. Disaster struck when they got caught in a storm and Jerry lost his way in the darkness and fell into a hole. He woke up weak and sick in a secluded village far up in the mountains. He wondered if he was a victim of Forest Fever. He realized that some of the men who had rescued him from death, thought that he had been sent to spy on them. He would not be allowed to leave. In desperation he decided to fi nd a way to escape, even if he had to travel through the treacherous mountains. Would he make it?

Tragedy on Emerald Island, A Narrow Escape, Kidnapped at the Beach – The saga begins in Tragedy on Emerald Island when the Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat, long dormant, wakes up after hundreds of years. Jamie’s life was torn apart. His parents decided to stay in Montserrat but to send the children and their grandmother, to live with an aunt on the neighbouring island of Antigua. In Antigua, though, there was more trouble brewing, as a hurricane blew in. In A Narrow Escape, the boys get trapped in the unsafe zone of the volcano plagued island. Kidnapped at the Beach picks up with Jamie recovering from burns received in book two, and witness to a series of odd incidents which lands him in the cross hairs of a band of criminals. Captured and thrown into a cell where his only cell mate is a rat, does he have any hope of escape?

About the Author: Sharon James, born in Dominica of Antiguan parents, is a Human Resources Development Manager.  She writes fiction primarily for children between the ages of 8 and 12 and all of her books are based in the Caribbean.

Wadadli Pen connection: S. E. James participated in the Wadadli Pen fundraiser and literary showcase Word Up! 2006. She also donated copies of her books – Tragedy on Emerald Island, A Narrow Escape, and Kidnapped at the Beach – to the first Wadadli Pen Challenge, 2004.


Name: Tameka Jarvis-George


genesis 2A Day in the Life of Genesis: Wash the Dog (with illustrator Anson Henry). 2014.

About the Books: The Adventures of Genesis, is a series of short rhyming stories written through the eyes of the author’s daughter Genesis, when she was five years old. “Being pregnant for a second time, made me so much more aware of how fast she was growing up, that I started to jot down details about every little thing she did… Eventually, I turned my observations/journal entries into animated snippets of her precocious five year old self.”

About the author: Tameka Jarvis-George is an Antiguan writer, who currently resides on the island. She has been writing creatively for over 20 years, publishing 3 books of poetry and most recently, her first novel, Unexpected in 2010. Since becoming a parent, she has dabbled in drafting stories for her own children, never thinking beyond doing something that was entertaining for them. Then, a friend who’d read one of her children’s pieces, encouraged her to add children’s fiction to her resume’.


Name: Omari Jeremiah

Books (with illustrator Bernie Rollins):

Paperboy 4. 2007. 

Paperboy 3: The School of Doom. 2006. 

Paperboy II: Overwhelming Odds. 2005. Morton Books. New Jersey.

Paperboy. 2004. Morton Books. New Jersey.

About the Books and Author: The Paperboy series is a children’s book actually written by a child.  Omari, New York born but of Antiguan descent, wrote the first book when he was only 12. Paperboy is the story of an ordinary 11-year-old boy (Michael Wood) who becomes a superhero (Paperboy), by defending other students and standing up to bullies.


Name: Aminata Joseph (illustrator)


cover activityCalypso Princess: Colouring and Activity Book (w/author Farida Isaac-Carr). 2019.

bookcovaCalypso Princess: The Grand Celebration (w/author Farida Isaac-Carr). 2018.

About the Book:

Calypso Princess: Colouring and Activity Book – inspired by Calypso Princess: the Grand Celebration and the music and scenery of Caribbean carnivals, the book features over 20 pages of mazes, word puzzles, and pictures of costumes and steel pan.

Calypso Princess: The Grand Celebration – September is Jel’s favorite time of the year for three reasons; It is Carnival time in the Island of Redonda, her favorite flowers are in bloom, and most importantly, it’s her birthday. Find out how Jel becomes the first Calypso Princess. This children’s book is filled with Caribbean culture but would be a joy for all princesses in the making.

About the Illustrator:

Aminata Joseph is a visual arts educator.


Name: Iris Josiah


Tiny Pig’s Alphabet Book (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2015.

Tiny Goat’s Alphabet Book (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2015.

51EvZnfLNHL__SY498_BO1,204,203,200_Tiny Hen’s Alphabet Book (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2015.

Tiny Bird’s Alphabet Book (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2015.

Tiny Rabbit cover5Tiny Bird (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2012.

Tiny Goat  (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2012.

Tiny Hen (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2012.

Tiny Rabbit cover2Tiny Pig (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2012.

Tiny Rabbit (Tiny Island Stories). Tiny Island Press. UK. 2012.

About the Books: On Tiny Island, far, far away lived Tiny Rabbit, Tiny Pig, Tiny Goat, Tiny Bird, Tiny Hen and many other tiny animals.  A series of fun stories with bright, lively and colourful narrative that feed the imagination of young children.  This beautifully told and illustrated story about Tiny Bird is ideal for the home, primary schools, libraries, playgroups, nurseries and bedtime reading.

About the Author: Iris was born in Antigua and Barbuda where she grew up in a tiny village on the south side of the island. As a child, she tended to the village’s animals and would often be seen helping her grandmother hoe and plough the land.  At the age of twelve, Iris immigrated to the United Kingdom where she attended secondary school.  A graduate in Philosophy of the London University with a Post- Graduate Certificate in Education from Greenwich University, her first job was a play leader in which she worked with primary school and younger children.  It was then that she wrote Tiny Rabbit and Tiny Pig; others would follow in the years to come. Iris has taught English for many years and has given her time generously to public service.


Name: Jamaica Kincaid

Book: Party: a Mystery (w/illustrator Ricardo Cortes). Black Sheep. USA. 2019.

About the Book:

Three girls–Pam, Beth, and Sue–attend a party to celebrate the publication of the first of the Nancy Drew mystery books. There are many distractions at the fancy affair: flower arrangements, partygoers, refreshments, and lots and lots of marble. Suddenly, the oldest girl, Pam, sees what can only be described as something truly…bilious…not good! Beth sees it too. The youngest, Sue, does not, and as usual she has a hard time getting anyone to tell her anything. Party: A Mystery is a beautifully drawn adventure story that promises questions that will grab children, but does not guarantee an answer.

About the Author:

Jamaica Kincaid is an Antiguan-American novelist, essayist, gardener, and gardening writer. She was born in St John’s, Antigua. She lives in North Bennington, Vermont, during the summers, and is Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University during the academic year.


Name: Sara Louise Kras 


Antigua and Barbuda (Cultures of the World). Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Singapore. 2008.

About the Book: The highly regarded Cultures of the World series celebrates the diversity of other cultures. An abundance of vibrant photographs stimulate the imaginations of young readers as they travel the globe.

About the Author: Sara Louise Kras was born in Washington, where she spent a childhood exploring and reading books. She turned her love of reading and adventure to writing after years travelling abroad as an adult. Her first published book was Giant Lizards and she has published 28 books since, continuing to travel for for research and fun. She has no specific roots or ties that I am aware of; she is listed here as an author of a work in which Antigua and Barbuda features prominently.


Name: Alscess Lewis-Brown.


Footprints into the Sunrise: Alexander Hamilton’s Life Through the Eyes of a Young Boy. Little Bell Caribbean. 2014.

moko3Moko Jumbi Majorette (with illustrators Wayne Bully Peterson and Cynthia Hattfield). Little Bell Caribbean. USVI. 2013.

Moko2Promise of the Pomegranate (Book Two of the Moko Jumbie Majorette Series) (with illustrators Wayne Bully Peterson and Cynthia Hattfield). Little Bell Caribbean. USVI. 2012.

moko 1Moko Jumbi Dreams (with illustrators Wayne Bully Peterson and Cynthia Hattfield). Little Bell Caribbean. USVI. 2012.

Efa and the Mosquito. (with illustrator Cynthia Hattfield). Little Bell Caribbean. USVI. 2010.

Tamarind Bear’s Dream. USVI. 1985.

About the Books:

Moko Jumbi Majorette is the tale of Lexi who continues to work towards her goal of becoming the first ever moko jumbi majorette in the Carnival parade. In this third and final installment of the Moko Jumbi Majorette series, Lexi must face the challenge of believing in herself, even when not everyone else does.

Promise of the Pomegranate (book two of the Moko Jumbi Majorette series) finds 10-year-old Lexi finds herself closer to her dream when her brother agrees to teach her the hard moves needed to become a Moko Jumbi Majorette; however, life becomes a roller coaster for our young heroine as she learns that getting what you want comes with a price.

Moko Jumbi Dreams is the story of Lexi who dreams of being a majorette in the Carnival parade; and not just a usual majorette but a majorette on stilts, a moko jumbi.

Efa and the Mosquito is the story of Efa who one day rescues a smart, fast talking mosquito trapped in a net. For her kindness she is granted a wish…and so her adventure begins. It is the story of a curious girl, her music loving family, a very special mosquito, and their unforgettable adventure together.

About the Author: Alscess Lewis-Brown was born in Antigua and educated in the USVI. A life long educator, she has taught in Japan, Antigua and the USVI where she has also served as a board member and editor of the esteemed Caribbean Writer literary journal. She is a part time instructor at the University of the Virgin Islands in addition to being a human resources professional, mother, and grandmother.


Name: Edison Liburd (illustrator)


Light of Inspiration for Children [as writer and illustrator]. 2019.

Best of Books Colouring Book-1Antigua My Antigua (as illustrator w/author Barbara Arrindell). Antigua. 2011.

Balloons (as illustrator w/author Dr. John Calvin Alberty). Alberty. USA. 1999.

About the Books:

Light of Inspiration for Children is Volume 2 of the Light of Inspiration series.

Antigua My Antigua is a colouring book featuring sites of interest in Antigua and Barbuda.

About the Illustrator: Edison Liburd is an Antiguan artist well known for the vibrancy and fluidity of his pieces. He’s also created a series of inspirational books for adults.

Wadadli Pen connection: Edison gave two scholarships to his arts camp to Wadadli Pen, 2011.


Name: Diana J. A. Molyneaux


The Rollercoaster Rainbow: Rainbow Fun Ride. AuthorHouse. 2014.

About the Book:  Journey on a roller coaster ride with Mother Nature’s friendly rainbow. Watch as Elijah’s rainbow pal comes alive and allows him to enjoy nature and friends from far above. Elijah lives far away from everyone but on one rainy day he goes on an exciting journey with his new found pal. Depending on the weather, from that day onwards, the Roller Coaster Rainbow takes him to play as often as he can. Elijah never has another lonely day at his house on the steep hill again.

About the Author: Diana J. A. Molyneaux likes to write about nature, the Earth’s natural resources, and natural disasters in creative ways for the enjoyment of young readers. Born in Antigua and Barbuda, she enjoys sailing, hiking, and nature walks. She hopes to pass on her love for beautiful, tropical scenes in her writing.


Name: Amos Morrill

Book: augusta andAugusta and Elliott. Island Nation Press LLC/Turtles Too Limited. 2007.

About the book: A charming, richly illustrated book about Augusta and Elliott’s efforts to keep the ocean clean. Written and illustrated by Amos Morrill, a native New Yorker, who brings his unique sense of whimsy to this simply written message for children of all ages.

About the author: (excerpted from his obituary in the 8th October 2014 Daily Observer): “Amos Morrill lX, 90, died Friday, September 26th, 2014 at his home in Coolidge, Antigua, following a long illness…born in New York City and raised in Paris, France and New Canaan, Connecticut…he lived his entire adult life in Antigua. He is a graduate of the Hotchkiss School and Yale University. He served as a weatherman in the U.S. Army during World War ll. In 1948, Mr. Morrill moved to Antigua to assist his mother and stepfather design and build the Mill Reef Club. By the time the Club was finished, Mr. Morrill fell in love with Antigua and he never left…he was a charter captain…cofounder of the Coco Shop, founder of the Turtle Gate Inn and the Schooner café …he worked as an interior designer and architectural consultant…as well as co-manager of the Coco Shop. In 2000, he wrote and illustrated a children’s book Augusta and Elliott, devoted to environmental awareness and the importance of keeping our ocean clean. In 2000, he was made an honorary Antiguan citizen, which was a most joyous occasion for Mr. Morrill. He spent many years happily designing stage sets and floats for Carnival, and he designed and constructed the games for the Sunnyside School fetes …He was a voracious reader, an imaginative storyteller, a wonderful cook, and a lover of theatre and cinema.”


Name:  Dr.Althea Prince (as Althea Trotman)


how the starfishHow the Starfish got to the Sea [with illustrations by Sasso]. 1992. Sister Vision. Canada.

how the east pondHow the East Pond got its Flowers. 1991. Sister Vision. Canada.

About the Books:

How the Starfish got to the Sea is a Caribbean story set in 1800s Antigua. It features characters like the elder Papa Biggis and the healer Mother Sillah. The story is about a star that lost its ability to shine after falling to earth.

How the East Pond got its Flowers is also set in Antigua; it is the story of Mother Sillah and Tullah, a young girl destined to do great things despite being enslaved in colonial era Antigua.

About the Author: Antiguan born, Canada-based, Althea Prince is the award winning author of several books, making her one of the most prolific and profound authors coming out of Antigua and Barbuda. She’s also been an educator, publisher, editor and mentor to several Antiguan writers. In 2007, she received the first Antigua and Barbuda International Writers’ Festival Award for Literary Excellence.


Name: Samantha Dian Samuel


78701317_505966469990997_8899231885817806848_oJourney to Discovery: Carl’s Summer Adventure (w/illustrator Sonalli Andrew). Antigua. 2019.

About the Book:

School’s out and Carl can’t wait to get to camp. As a regular kid in 2nd grade, Carl likes to spend time with his family and friends, but this summer is different. Join him as he goes on an adventure that will change his life!


Name: Bridget Samuel Charles

Book: Grandma’s Kisses. VMichelle Publishing. 2013.

About the Book: Christina is a little girl who loves her grandma. They share lots of hugs and kisses. But what will happen when Christina decides she is too big for her grandma. A story about the love between a little girl and her grandma.

About the Author: Bridget Samuel Charles was born and raised in Antigua. She emigrated to the United States and has devoted most of her life to being an educator, mostly in the middle school grades, as well as a lay minister. She has taught all grades from First Grade to High School, and was an adjunct professor. Mrs. Charles has written a novel entitled No Regrets: The Story of Elline Merle Derene and several plays, including The Urgency of Now and Complications. Mrs. Charles lives in New Jersey with her husband.


Name: Naomi Smith

Book: SM73147-250x250Aunt Mazie’s Secret  w/Dylan Smith (illustrator).  Edan’s Publishers. Canada. 2009.

About the Book: N/A

About the Authors: N/A. The internet says this book is set in Antigua but I don’t know anymore; if you do, either about the book or the author, hit me up in the comments or email wadadlipen@gmail.com


Name: Jenny Stow

Book: the house that jack builtThe House that Jack Built. Frances Lincoln. 2009.

About the Book: A fresh take on the timeless tale of “the dog that worried the cat” and “the rat that ate the malt” in Jack’s house with paint, ink, and crayon collage technique using sponges and rollers that renders the lush vegetation, bright colors, and blazing skies of the Caribbean as the perfect setting for this irresistible rhyme. The book was shortlisted for the shortlisted for The State of Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Picture Book Award.

About the Author: Author and illustrator Jenny Stow is American and has lived in Antigua.


Name: Calesia Thibou

Book: cadrielCadriel and Jadiel: A Day at the Beach (with illustrator Gail M. Nelson). Steuben Press, Second Edition 2010.

About the Book: The warmth of the Caribbean sea awaits you as you read the pages of this picturesque story. Come along with Cadriel and Jadiel – two lovable children – as they explore the beautiful Fort James Beach and enjoy the sights around them. Go on a Caribbean vacation as you read the pages of this book.

About the Author: Calesia Thibou was born on the beautiful Island of Antigua were she stills lives with her husband and daughter. Calesia enjoys writing poems and short stories. She also enjoys going to the beach with her family. She wrote this book in order that she may share her love for the beach and reading with others.


Name: Lolette Thomas


Mermaid Janine (with illustrator Jennifer Northway). Scholastic. 1993.

Janine and the New Baby (with illustrator Jennifer Northway). Mammoth (re-issue edition). 1993.

Janine and the Carnival (with illustrator Jennifer Northway). Egmont Children’s Books. 1989.

About the Books:

Mermaid Janine – Janine wants to be able to swim like her relatives in Antigua, so she takes swimming lessons and tries very hard to swim the length of the pool and pass the course.


Name: Jacquelin Webson


Sunny Dreams of Rainbows (w/Faye France, co-author and tullipstudio, illustrator). FigTreeDrive Press. 2018.

When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) (w/Faye France, co-author and Jayamini Attanayake, illustrator). FigTreeDrive Press. 2018.

Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1) (w/Faye France, co-author and tullipstudio, illustrator). FigTreeDrive Press. 2018.

About the Books:

Sunny Dreams of Rainbows-Left alone by his young owners who are too busy to properly take care of him a young puppy sets out on a search to find a friend. Along the way, he encounters surprises and heartbreak as he tries to make friends with a lot of different animals, but they all turn against him. However, the little dog is tough and never gives up; until finally, he finds friendship in the most unexpected place.

When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) -A family with young children is filled with joy and excitement when they find out that their grandmother is coming to stay with them for a while. As they wait anxiously for her arrival, they reminisce about all the wondrous things they get to do with her when she visits.

Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1)-Left alone by his young owners who are too busy to properly take care of him a young puppy sets out on a search to find a friend. Along the way, he encounters surprises and heartbreak as he tries to make friends with a lot of different animals, but they all turn against him. However, the little dog is tough and never gives up; until finally, he finds friendship in the most unexpected place.

Wadadli Pen connection – her books Sunny Dreams of Rainbows, When Grandma comes to stay, and Will you be my Friend were in the running for the Wadadli Pen 2019 Readers Choice Book of the Year.


Name: Juneth Webson

Book: 51582lJTKoL__SY346_Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures)(w/illustrator Ros Webb). Fig Tree Drive Press/Amazon Digital Services. 2018.

About the Book: Milo’s First Winter is a picture book for children between the ages of three and eight years of age. It tells the enchanted tale of Milo, a black and white kitten, that got out of the house while it was snowing. It was Milo’s first time seeing the snow and he was in such awe of the snowflakes that he kept trying to catch them. This chasing after snowflakes took Milo on an unforgettable adventure.

About the Author: A former student of the TOR Memorial, Webson is an Antiguan and Barbudan resident in New York, from where she finds ways to give back to Antigua and Barbuda – from books to Villa Junior Secondary School to prizes for the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge. She is a tax professional, and a cultural activist who has been involved in artist and event development and promotion.

Wadadli Pen connection –Juneth’s book, Milo’s First Winter, was in the running for the Wadadli Pen Readers’ Choice Book of the Year, 2019. She also contributed prizes to the Wadadli Pen Challenge, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018.


Name: Floree Williams Whyte


cover Dance on the Moon. Moondancer Books. Antigua. 2021.

The Wonderful World of Yohan (with illustrator Stoogeco). Moondancer Books. Antigua. 2017.

About the Book:

Dance On The Moon, Whyte’s first fully illustrated book, is set in Antigua and targeted at children ages 3 – 7. The story book features main character Lula, a 7 year old, who has big, overwhelming emotions which often make her want to stay at home. Lula learns to overcome her strong feelings of anxiety, nervousness and shyness by taking some special advice from her Antiguan grandmother. Floree was inspired to write this book based on her mantra ‘Never let fear stop you from dancing on the moon’, to help encourage children who already experience anxiety and fear at a young age.

Welcome to The Wonderful World of Yohan! Yohan’s world is a creation of his vivid imagination. This series of short stories follow Yohan’s imagination-inspired adventures. From day to day his adventures transform his reality and often lead him into accidental mischief.

About the Author: Floree Williams Whyte is a Wadadli Pen partner. She has two previous books Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses and Through a Window. In 2017, she founded the independent press Moondancer Books. Read and view her in discussion about her books in CREATIVE SPACE.


Name: Ladesa Williams

Book: 130307258_1989904141152082_6929267860440525066_o Zane visits Costa Rica (with illustrator Rahana Dariah). Bumpkin Books. St. Lucia. 2020.

About the Book: Zane Visits Costa Rica takes the reader on a fun and colorful journey with Zane and his family as they visit Costa Rica. They learn Spanish, see the sights, taste the food, and immerse themselves in the beautiful culture of Costa Rica! The author has perfectly captured the wonder and excitement from the young protagonist’s point of view. Illustrated beautifully by Rahana Dariah, the scenes seem to jump from the book with every turn of the page. Children who read this book will certainly feel the scenes as they immerse themselves in the Costa Rica experience through Zane’s eyes.

About the Author: Ladesa is a banking executive in Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, she was named in 2020 as CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Director, Retail Sales OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) and Country Head, Antigua and Barbuda, the first Antiguan-born woman to attain this position.. This is her first book. It is a 2020 pandemic project written with her son Zane who went with his dad’s on a boy’s trip to Costa Rica in 2018. We refer to it as a pandemic project because it is a book (per her facebook live with her publisher – Bumpkins, an indie press in Jamaica) that she wrote after asking herself, during the early days of lockdown, what she would be disappointed not to have done if the world ended: her answers, write a children’s book and learn to swim. Needless to say, she’s since done both and is thinking of writing more books.

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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.


Filed under A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen News

Report on the Antigua Public Library Summer Reading Programme 2013

This year, the Antigua Public Library 2013 Summer Reading Program was not just a blast, but an educational experience for the staff, children and volunteers. The program hosted from 08 July to 02 August 2013, was held at the Antigua Grammar School.  This year’s theme was “DIG INTO READING” with the theme song “D.I.G DIG INTO READING”.  Being an avenue for learning, the program centred on many aspects of reading: Praise and worship, USSR and DEAR reading times, question and answer, poetry, drama, singing, hiking, scavenger hunting, beach activities, movies, field trips, and craft making. Guest speakers included Pastors, a Policeman, Authors, Ministry of Health Officials, Craft educators, a representative from the Coast Guard and an Entrepreneur.

The Children were taught the Dewey Decimal System by which School Libraries, as well as the Public Library operate. Dewey activities were held on a daily basis to include a Dewey scavenger hunt and creating original drama, songs and poems from the various Dewey categories. Other excitement boosters were winning daily prizes;  puppet performances; field trips to the Nelson’s Dockyard, the Interpretation Centre, Wadadli Nature Park and the Jones Trail – a rather exciting, exhausting, but exhilarating hike. This was indeed one of the highlights of the program. Trips to the Deluxe cinema and the making of books, bookmarks and craft items to express creativity were all a part of this exhilarating experience.

The last Thursday of the program showcased an exhibition, where the children’s work was displayed. The program closed on Friday 02 August, 2013 with the first ever Dewey Group Competition sponsored by American Airlines, and an awards ceremony. Prizes were awarded in the following competitive areas and age categories:

Question and Answer


Winner: Janecia St.Hill

2nd place: Dominique Primus

3rd Place: Sara Darroux



Winner: Malachi Melfor

2nd Place: Kevon Tonge

3rd Place: Jabez Payne



Winner:  Sheaheda Frederick

2nd Place: Nehemiah Nesbitt

3rd Place: Jayden Joyce


Everything Dewey


Winner: Jahrel pelle

2nd Place: Janecia St.Hill

3rd Place: Dominique Primus



Winner: Nathania Silston

2nd Place: Denicea Spencer

3rd Place: Aaron Abbott


Best Journal

(5-7) Jaheim Smith

(8-10) Blessyn Williams

(11-14) Teneil Thomas


Impromptu Reading


Winner: Ashley Joshua

2nd Place: Janecia St. Hill

3rd Place: Arion Anthony



Winner: Jeante’ Browne

2nd Place: Kevon Tonge

3rd Place: Kyle Mason



Winner: Zahire Jeremy

2nd Place: Destiny Simon

3rd Place: Tashwana Gloade


Special Awards

Best Behaved: Shemar Bejai

Early Bird: Denelia Joseph

Attendance: Chakyra Jackson


First ever American Airlines sponsored Dewey Group Competition

Winner: Arts

2nd place: Biography

3rd Place: Technology

4th Place: Philosophy

5th Place: Language

6th Place: General Knowledge


Most outstanding individual and winner of the BIG prize (sponsored by BSS): Janecia St.Hill.

Many of the children walked away with lucrative prizes such as a printer, trophies and school packages, contributed and sponsored by Friends of the Antigua Public Library (FOAPL),  Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB), CIBC First Caribbean, American Airlines, Business System and Supplies (BSS), Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), DIGICEL Antigua, Paper Clips Ltd. and Best of Books Ltd.

The Director and Staff express great appreciation to these businesses for their contribution to the development of education in Antigua/Barbuda, through the services of the Antigua Public Library and for allowing the 2013 Summer Reading Program to be extremely successful.

Profound thanks must also be expressed to the following persons, businesses/organizations for their unwavering contribution. May God continue to bless you all.

Occasions Party Rentals

Happy Kids

Billy’s Food Mart

LMR Signs

Chase Distributors

Joe Mike’s Hotel Plaza

Antigua Home and Office Depot

The Deluxe Cinema

The Louis Brothers

Pastor Mauline Browne

Pastor Charlesworth Browne

Mrs. Paula Lee

Mr. Lesney Benjamin

Mr. Vere Mannix

Ms. Joanne C. Hillhouse

Mr. Glen Toussaint

Mr. Joseph Prosper

Ms. Andrea Otto

Ms. Natasha Punter

Sergeant Timothy Drew (DARE)

Camp Micash & Jolly Beach

The AntiguaGrammar School

All the Volunteers

The great Chefs who provided the sumptuous luncheon

The Antigua Public Library 2013 Summer Reading Program catered for 240 children. We thank the Parents for their support and hope to have an even bigger, better and more successful program in 2014, filled with fun and learning as we continue to boost reading as an educational experience in Antigua and Barbuda.


Ryllis Mannix

Director Antigua Public Library

August 2013


Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS

What if?

So a publication asked me to submit a piece on writing tailored to kids to coincide with the release of Fish Outta Water. I was stumped but decided to give it a go. Just as I was submitting it, though, they said, never mind. Seems I’d missed the deadline I hadn’t been informed about. Needless to say I was pissed because time is not something I have a lot of; but then I remembered I have this blog for sharing things like this (and hadn’t had time to blog all week). So I won’t count it as time wasted but as the blog I didn’t know I was going to write. And you know what’d be really cool: if kids, especially kids 10 and younger, responded with their own response to the what if prompt in the comments section below.

How to Write Your Own Adventure

What if? …

That question can send the imagination on an exciting adventure.

What if an Arctic seal got lost in the Caribbean?

That’s the question that jump started my new book Fish Outta Water.


In the real world, we learned that this is not such a far-fetched what if when Wadadli, the Arctic seal, was helped home by scientists after somehow ending up in our waters.

But what if the stranded seal had been befriended by a creature from the Caribbean Sea? What kind of creature would that be? Would it be friendly? Would it help the stranded seal find his way home? What kind of adventures would they have?

For each question, I imagined answers until the world of the story was filled with characters; and how the seal got lost to how he got home became the challenge driving the plot, as surely as the growing friendship between the adventurous twosome.

As for the world of the story, before the illustrator (Zavian Archibald) could draw it, I had to imagine it. I refreshed memories of being on or under the water with online images of our vibrant Caribbean underwater life and the creatures that inhabit it. Plus, I found inspiration in unexpected places, like watching the sway of grass in a brisk breeze as I tried to write the fluid world of the sea.

Because it’s the world of your imagination, you can bend the rules. So yes, the seal and other sea creatures in Fish Outta Water do talk, just like Nemo.

As for how it feels to be lost, to make new friends or to go on adventures, I have only to search my own experiences; and use the echo of those emotions to imagine how the characters might feel.

Of course, in the story, the adventure eventually comes to an end. To find out if the seal who daydreams of dolphins finds his way home, you’ll have to read the story; I don’t want to spoil it for you.

But, know this, you too can write your stories; your story can take anything on any kind of adventure. You only have to ask yourself, what if?


Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS