Saturday, May 15, 2010

To be quaint or not to be quaint...

... that is the question. My friend and fellow writer, Hazel Campbell ( Read her new book Bernie and the Captain's Ghost) and I have been asking ourselves this. Does Caribbean Children's Literature have to be quaint, the folktale, the folktale rewritten, the Caribbean alphabet book ... A is for ackee, the Caribbean fruit book, Caribbean festivals, etc. for it to be accepted abroad? Does it have to be like this for us also, explaining ourselves to ourselves, or just recording a way of life before it disappears? (something which I think is very important and which I have done in many of my books). Or can it be about 'real life children' in a real life word we know, or even more unbelievable, can it be a fantasy that does not involve Caribbean folk heroes, malevolent or otherwise?

Are we allowed to soar out of 'the wicker basket or hamper' ?(Remember the wicker basket to go to market and the hampers on either side of the donkey coming to town)

1 comment:

  1. Diane, great questions! I too am concerned about the plethora of 'Caribbean counting books,'Caribbean fruit books' etc. They are quaint yes, but reductionistic and perpetuate a monolithic view of Caribbean cultures. With Anansesem, I've explicitly asked contributors to avoid those stereotypical approaches as much as possible. Glad to know I am not the only one who sees the need for more children's books about real life Caribbean children.