Jamaica Journal is a prestigious publication from the Institute of Jamaica. Vol. 34 Nos.1-2, Jamaica Gone Abroad - Part Three: To the World, was launched just before Christmas. The cover has a great picture of Usain Bolt, and as you’d expect, inside, more on athletes over the years. There are other wonderful offerings, including Musgrave Medalists for 2012 (my friend and fellow author Hazel Campbell with her Silver Medal amongst them).
The section on books has an excerpt from my book, Island Princess in Brooklyn, (Carlong Publishers) in which the protagonist describes the emotion of Jamaicans watching our athletes race. So we see the connection between the cover title and athletics and also that of migration. I am delighted that the editorial committee saw fit to include a children’s/YA book. Of course I’m delighted that my book was the one which fit into their theme for this issue. Coincidentally, years ago, one of my earliest stories, Gammon and the Woman’s Tongue Trees which had won a Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Gold Medal was printed in the Journal. So it’s almost full circle.
There’s another book mentioned in the Journal which I think would interest you, my readers, and that is Valerie Wint’s The Longer Run - A Daughter’s Story of Arthur Wint (Ian Randle Publishers). Arthur Wint was one of our great athletes of the past, and on the shoulders of these early athletes stand all our athletes since then. This book should be in all school libraries. This is why it is an important part of this blog. Students in secondary schools should read this book, not only as an account of our ‘near history’ ( I think I may have created this term, but perhaps not) as a story of human endeavour, valour and success.
It’s time also to think about school libraries as a significant aspect of Caribbean Children’s Literature. Therefore, should not the Jamaica Journal, a treasure in itself, and with brilliant articles, not also be in school libraries? Every post primary institution should have a subscription. The Jamaica Journal has had many prestigious editors, and the present one is Dr. Kim Robinson-Walcott, herself an outstanding writer and editor. Alumni of the various education institutions, what about it? Sixth from teachers of current affairs, history, whatever subject (choose) could we not ask students to give a report on one article, or have a debate based on the information in an article (so as to encourage them to read it). A dream, you say. Well, I dream of an educated Jamaica, a well-read Jamaica. I dream a dream.