Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Towards a gentler Jamaica: Authors/readers sharing the magic of stories in schools

Why should you consider having a local author come to your school and share the love of reading and writing with your students?
Well it is one of those little things which has a ripple effect that  keeps on giving dividends. It allows the students to recognize that there are Jamaicans who write books, that the writing of literature is not just a gift given to people who are abroad. This then encourages students who  themselves wish to write; but also it encourages the students to appreciate themselves and their environment. This bolsters their self confidence. You cannot develop a positive sense of self, if your sense of self is rooted elsewhere, in other books from other lands. You cannot develop a nation if your sense of self and all things good is located elsewhere, in other books from other lands.

Moreover reading and writing, in this new world of 140 characters, is at risk. Getting the full understanding of what another human being wants to say in this world of abbreviated language, is at risk. OMG! Sharing with an author and fellow students, words, paragraphs chapters, which  may lead to shared opinions, experiences, not only allows for  brain activity,  but also perhaps, perhaps a vision for the future, perhaps for a gentler Jamaica. I think every school should invite at least one author per term (okay per year) to visit their school and share their stories with their students. I think anything that helps us to develop self confidence and a gentler society is essential at this time. We are at a crossroads. So is the rest of the world actually; big, big cross roads! But our focus has be on us at this time.

I read somewhere that some representatives for office no longer have to be able to read and write in English as it was decided that that was a colonial device to belittle us/exclude us, the people. Nobody could have really said that, eh. However, if you believe that having to read and write English, (in a world where English is still an official language) is an imposition put upon you by ‘bad-mind’ people,  you might also be interested in buying an entire big country (not just an island or the Brooklyn Bridge)  at a discounted rate, J$1.00. Always be wary of those who require you to know less, especially when it’s something they have already mastered, or can easily master.

If you’re reading this, I’m reaching to the converted, eh. However, I’m not preaching, just sharing with you  thoughts, and dreams, and hopes which cannot be encapsulated in 140 characters or abbreviated language. LOL! For a long time I thought that meant lots of love, and I was astonished at all the love people were sending around. Personally, I think DWL is more Jamaican, (as in ded wid laugh!)

So I'm sharing with you the experiences of some of our writers who went into our schools and read for the children to celebrate Child Month (under the auspices of the Jamaican Writers Society). You will see from their comments that the children enjoyed their visits immensely. I will also include the bios of the authors/readers (because it’s interesting to see who writes/read and the reasons that motivated them)  and some photos (because photos always make for a more interesting blog). Perhaps you can get  some of them to read at your school if you wish.

Jean Forbes: Reading  in schools for Child Month, 2016
I did two readings for Child Month at Alvernia Prep.  For the pre kindergarten level, I read  The Happiness Dress and Abigail’s Glorious Hair, by Diane Browne, and they were very well received. For the kindergarten and grade one levels, I read Late Again from Little Lennie's Leisure time book (out of print) and Why the Rain Bird Calls the Rain by Jean Forbes, from the new Caribbean Junior Reader. I thought it might have been long but they enjoyed the stories and it generated a lot of discussion. 
On the second day, by request, I read The Happiness Dress and Abigail’s Glorious Hair again and A Right to be Me (audio book).
Bio: Jean is one of the original members of the Children's Writers Circle.

I am a widow and the mother of three boys and grandma to nine. I have won several silver and bronze medals and certificates of merit in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission literary competitions. I have had historical articles and short stories published in The Gleaner, The Observer, Jamaica InterCom (No longer published) . My children's stories have also been aired on the local children's programme, Colgate Cavity fighters programme. In addition, some of my children's stories published in collections by The Children's Writers Circle, are The Ghost in “Double Trouble and other stories” and Lydia in “Just Suppose and other stories”. Selectco published Late Again in Little Lennies Leisure Time Book. 1. Ginn Publishers used Why the Rainbird Calls the Rain in their New Caribbean Reader Book and Carlong Publishers used The Legend of Martha Brae in TeK Mi, Noh TekMi!, one of the books in their Sand Pebbles series. The Ministry of Education uses some of my stories in their print publications. In their audio Books they have used Midnight Earns Friends, Night Blooming Cereus, Toady, None Like Me and Why the Rain Bird Calls the Rain. “Kids Read”, a Canadian Publication has used Midnight Earns Friends in its Summer 2015 collection. The Little Christmas Tree was published as a story colouring book

●I hold a diploma in writing for children from the Institute of Children's and I am Fellow Of The Life Management Institute with specialties in Personnel Management and Administrative Management
●Presenter and Resource person for CARICOM/OAS workshop for new writers held at the Liguanea Club Jamaica in 2000
●Chosen by the JCDC as a Children’s writer to represent Jamaica at the Canadian Caribbean Cultural Exhibition in Toronto Canada in June 2003
More to come or to be continued:


No comments:

Post a Comment