Tag Archives: children’s books

On becoming an author of children’s books (but not a children’s books author)

Below is an excerpt from my guest post at Women Writers, Women Books.

Ironically enough, when my first book

The Boy from Willow Bend (a story about a boy though not written as a children’s book) dropped, I got hung with the children’s author label (even after my second book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight

dropped).  It felt confining to my publishing brand and my creative spirit. Publishing loves its categories and I wrote everything, as my writing and publishing record since continues to illustrate. And yet I was excited to receive recently an invitation to participate in a children’s book panel at a major American book fair. The publishing gods have a sense of humor because here I am embracing a label I worked for years to shake.

Part of the reason I wrote my first children’s story

was so that I could have a story of my own to read when I attended events (‘children’s author’ Joanne C. Hillhouse had no age appropriate material) – it was a branding (or rather lack-of-branding) issue. Reading an early draft of that first children’s story to children (once during a school visit, once at the children’s reading club with which I volunteered) and editing it based on their reaction actually helped me get it to a pretty publishable place (children at that impulse st/age don’t know to be polite, they just react). So that when I saw a publisher call for material for new children’s books I had something to submit.

To read the whole thing, go here.


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Good Tips for Parents of Young Children re Building Language Skills and More

Listed tips for building language skills pulled out below but read the whole post, also re what it says about reading aloud with children on subjects that hold their interest, I’m sure you can find something on this list of children’s books from and/or set in Antigua and Barbuda.


  • Talk with children while doing activities together to help them learn new words and ideas.
  • Give them practice in following simple directions. They learn to listen and remember what they hear.
  • Read with children daily. Read books, magazines, cereal boxes, or signs. Talk about print.
  • Let them tell you what happened in a story or television program.
  • Give children the chances to colour, cut and paint. These activities prepare them for writing, drawing and using computers.

As a parent, you are your child’s most important teacher. In fact, you have been preparing your child for school from the day that they were born. Everything you have done so far provided the foundation for your child to grow and learn throughout their lives! As a speech language pathologist, I understand the value […]

via Ready for School? Language and literacy can help — ACCESS Inclusion Newsletter

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Best of Books’ picks for children and Young Adults

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


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

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


Tiny Rabbit cover5

Tiny Bird by Iris Josiah (ages 3 – 6)

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



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

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


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

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


Cover design by Heather Doram

Cover design by Heather Doram

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

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


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

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


cover art by Glenroy Aaron.

cover art by Glenroy Aaron.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A Cow called Boy by C. Everard Palmer

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

The Cloud with the Silver Lining by C. Everard Palmer

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


Emerald Isle of Adventure by Rachel Collis

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

Sixty-Five by V.S. Reid

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

The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace

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

Summer Lightning and other Stories by Olive Senior

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

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Mario says…


“what I’m trying to do…is write books that are fun, enjoyable, colourful (and) relevant…teach lessons that are applicable to everyday life.” – Mario Picayo

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