Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stories written by children for children: Bocas Lit Fest Trinidad & Tobago

You may have wondered when I would get back to the Caribbean. Well here it is. Coming out of the very successful Bocas Literature Festival in Trinidad and Tobago is a collection of stories written by children/adolescents, Children's Stories from the Bocas Lit Fest 2011. The one I’ve seen is from 2011, as you see. I don’t know if there has been any for 2012, but this is a great collection and they are to be congratulated. From the Introduction it seems that this was an initiative in which there were a number of collaborators, including storytellers who helped to motivate the children, and there were also corporate sponsors. The producers expect that these books will be additions to school libraries throughout  Trinidad and Tobago. The book is divided into stories by children ages 6 – 10 and those 11 to 15. I found it interesting that in the latter group there was a story about a girl being kidnapped by  someone whom she perceives to be a taxi driver. She escapes. There is also another with thieves/gun men in a market. I mention these because some of us here have been wondering if/how we could deal with stories which include aspects of violence, which regrettably are part of some of our children’s experience. We have wondered if the ‘gatekeepers’ would not become so concerned about this aspect of a book as to affect its acceptance. So that remains a concern. Perhaps we should ask/do some research.  
I wondered if we  in Jamaica could do a publication like this, stories by children. I discovered that there have been times when some schools have done this for their schools. I also recall when my older daughter was in Prep. School, Operation Friendship (a charitable organization) asked parents to contribute to a book and we did, and each child’s name was written on the inside covers of the book, (but this book was by an adult writer for children.)The fact that  did not happen by the time the my younger daughter was in Prep. School is, I think, by then Operation Friendship was not as viable an organization.  The point is though that parents were the sponsors. Could something like this (stories by children) be done, especially with the competition from  technology in children’s lives. We won’t know till we try. Perhaps technology could be the catalyst/ the engine.
Children writing their own stories and being published. Trinidad and Tobago/Bocas Lit Fest  is to lauded for this publication.

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