Last week the renowned Jamaican writer of children’s books, C. Everard Palmer, passed away in Canada where he had been living. For many of us he was the consummate Caribbean and Jamaican children’s writer in that he had succeeded in entering the imagination of our children of successive generations. In a country, Jamaica, where reading is not considered a viable use of time, he had entered the lives of many children. I suspect that some of them will remember, for example, A Cow Called Boy or The Cloud with a Silver Lining. My favourite was My Father, Sun-Sun Johnson. Was Everard Palmer an influence in my wanting to write for children? I don’t know, but I do know that when I would sit and stare adoringly at my shelves of books ( I am inclined to look at my books as one might look at collections of exquisite jewels), the sight of that particular book, My Father, Sun-Sun Johnson, filled my heart. I know that the work of any writer encourages other writers, especially when it comes to children’s writing. He has left behind a strong legacy. Nuff respect C. Everard Palmer! I hope that you know how much you were loved and admired.
And since we must go on, it is good to celebrate Tanya Batson-Savage winning the first prize for Best Storyboard/Script at the Kingst00n Animation Festival. Congratulations to Tanya, whose publishing house Blue Moon had a launch of a children’s book (my previous post) last weekend. Multitalented young lady! The judges for this festival included big names in animation in the world, so clearly it was no ‘little, little festival’. (See report in The Gleaner for June 25).
And so in a way, as we mark the passing of a giant in children’s literature, we also welcome the future. The future is not just books and publishing by young writers and entrepreneurs, but the new technologies like animation. Yes, animation has always been with us courtesy of Walt Disney , but it appears that more and more we might be seeing a marriage between books and animation. The future awaits us.
Photo of Tanya Batson-Savage taken by Emma Lewis at launch of Bolo the Monkey