Tag Archives: fairytale

Have You Seen Bajan Cinderella? (Fairytale Remix)

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#WeNeedDiverseBooks Author Re-Writes the Fairytale

That’s the headline of a piece published to Wandering Educators (thanks, Dr. Jessica Voigts) about my last picture book With Grace. It begins…

Once I realized that With Grace was turning out to be a fairytale, I did not resist it…but I did do my best to subvert the tropes of the genre.

Why didn’t I resist, though not strictly speaking a children’s writer (I had only one previous children’s book among five to my credit)? Because as a writer, I enjoy wrestling with genres I’ve never attempted before – even if that cage match is to be within the deceptively simple and straightforward world of ‘once upon a time’ where they ‘all lived happily ever after’. Also, as a long time dreamer and reader, it was joyful to revisit the genre that helped me fall in love with stories in the first place.

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So, why subvert? Because for all the ways it helped open up my imaginative pathways, the fairytales of my childhood did their share of inadvertent damage, as well. While every race and culture has its own fairytales, as a black girl coming of age in the Caribbean, in the retellings that were popular in my part of the world, I was never a part of the story nor was anyone who looked like me. Also, unlike the women I saw in real life, the girls in the fairytales were invariably in need of rescuing, usually by a Prince (or the Prince was in some way the pathway to happiness). I’m not going to do a deep dive in to feminist and racial and cultural and problematic in many other ways readings of Western fairytales, but I will say that as With Grace, my own Caribbean faerie tale, revealed itself to me, I wanted to tell a different story. I say revealed because, let me be clear, it was never my intention to be heavy-handed; whatever rebellion was to happen had to happen naturally. My primary goal was to tell a good and engaging children’s story. I hope I’ve done that. But a writer can have secondary goals.

READ the full thing here.

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Press Release – With Grace, a Caribbean Faerie Tale, Lands Just in Time for Christmas

jay-2On Wednesday 21st December 2016, the Best of Books bookstore on St. Mary’s Street hosted the launch of the latest book by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse. The book, With Grace, a Caribbean faerie tale, is the sixth book and second children’s picture book by the local writer.

“In With Grace, Joanne has shared a magical story set in familiar Caribbean places,” said Best of Books manager Barbara Arrindell. “I enjoyed reading it to myself and I can’t wait to read it to some of the little people in my life.”

The book, in summary, is the story of Grace who leads a carefree life in Grace’s Peak, looking down on the villagers, until a little girl comes in search of assistance, changing both of their lives forever.
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Hillhouse said, at the launch, that she was happy to create a book in which young Caribbean children could see themselves reflected – see someone, a girl and a faerie/fairy who looks like so many of them – as this is rare in the fairytale sub-genre.
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Among those who’ve submitted endorsements of the book are Alscess Lewis-Brown, editor of the Caribbean Writer, published by the University of the Virgin Islands, who’s written on the book jacket, “With Grace explores a Caribbean space richly woven with magic, mystery, and fantasy – an engaging fable not only for young readers but any reader poised for a new reading experience that twists and turns on a suggestion of allegory.”

With Grace is published by Little Bell Caribbean and Mario Picayo, publisher and children’s author in his own right, described the book on the jacket as “beautiful, well thought, and meaningful.”
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At the launch, excerpts from With Grace were read by Tamare Banis and Anya Hull of the Cushion Club reading club for kids, with which Hillhouse served as a longtime volunteer, and by the author herself. She also fielded questions about the book and her writing career. Absent from the launch but celebrated for the quality of her illustrations in the book was Barbadian artist Cherise Harris.

While the kids were entertained at the launch with colouring sheets, adults had a chance to win as a door prize an earlier Hillhouse book, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings. This prize was claimed by Agnes Meeker.

The formalities were followed by the purchasing and signing of With Grace, now available at the Best of Books and soon to be in other bookshops and markets – regionally and internationally.

The launch event was emceed by Best of Books supervisor Glen Toussaint.

For more pictures from the launch, go here.

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