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[Book Review] Malaika's Costume by Nadia L. Hohn

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Nadia L. Hohn (Author), Irene Luxbacher (Illustrator)
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2016
Picturebook, ages 3-7 years




Jamaican-Canadian author Nadia L. Hohn’s picturebook debut, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, is a welcome addition to Caribbean children’s literature. Set in Trinidad, the story begins with Malaika confronted by an experience common to many children– feeling left out. Unlike her friends, she is without a costume for the Kiddies Carnival. To make matters worse, her mother is away in Canada and hasn’t sent the money for the costume of her dreams.
Malaika becomes more upset when Granny tries to make amends by offering her a costume she herself wore as a child. She runs off to pout, but cheers up when she has an idea to use what she has to make something new. This is considered, especially by older folks, to be a commendable skill. Her efforts are successful and she is able to take part in the Carnival.
The charm of this story lies as much in how it is told as in…

[Fiction] Clara in the New World, 2492 A.D.

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Clara's brother grabbed the new stone from her and she acted without mercy, slapping his wrist and knocking it free. He was smaller and faster, so he dove to the floor before she could bend down. She leaped off the couch and shoulder-slammed him five feet away. The reactive floor rose up and cushioned his fall, but he yelled, "Aaoohwh!" anyway, the big crybaby.

Clara picked up the fist-sized stone. It was silvery, almost like a mirror, but had the rough shape of something natural.

Eustace stood with an accusing look while he rubbed his hip. "Ever since you turn giant, is like you don't care 'bout people feelings."

"Daddy," Clara pleaded, looking over at where her father was tinkering with an assembly of pipe-y looking things, "tell Eustace to stop calling me giant. Is just puberty and he making me sound like I's some freak."

Eustace pointed. "You's a freak yes. You chest alone look like somebody inflate it with—"…

[Self-Publishing Journeys] Gregory Skeete

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A Pelican, A Publisher, Potential and Possibilities
It is September 2016 and I am preparing to leave the shores of Barbados as one of four young leaders and entrepreneurs who will represent the island at President Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship. I am joining a group of two hundred and fifty fellows from thirty-six countries in the Western Hemisphere. I was selected based on the impact and potential of the Pilly the Pelican children’s book series, which I have been writing and publishing since 2013, along with my work in the development of people and organizations under my Life Engineer coaching practice.
One year ago, I left my manufacturing job in Process and Operations Engineering to begin the full-time pursuit of this dream of becoming a successful author, publisher and professional coach. It has been a tough year mentally filled with uncertainty and a major reduction in personal income. Simultaneously, there have been times of great satisfaction …

[Self-Publishing Journeys] Marjuan Canady

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Creating Callaloo from Scratch: Finding my Power through Self-Publishing
I never dreamed of becoming a writer or self-publishing a children’s book series. It may seem like my children’s brand Callaloo has been an overnight success but it has taken years of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, self-exploration and a relentless pursuit to leave my mark on the world.
My unique background has heavily influenced my work as a children’s book author. I spent years of study as a classically trained actress in New York and Los Angeles. As a child, I dreamt of performing on Broadway and in Hollywood, like many of my friends. But as I grew out of my adolescent dreams, I began to truly accept my path as not solely an actress but as an artist. Through creating my original work, I found power in my own creativity as a means to speak out against the world’s injustice and to leave a legacy far beyond my physical life. I’ve always had an incredible curiosity about the world, a passion for entrepreneurship…

[Self-Publishing Journeys] Gail Morong

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A Bucket List Item Crossed Off: Write a Children’s Storybook
I have been a secondary school and university educator for over thirty-six years, both in Trinidad and Tobago and in Canada where I now live in Kamloops, BC. Back in 1988, I wrote my first children's storybook, Lost at Carnival, primarily because the local bookstores carried mainly foreign books that did not reflect my three young daughters' culture. In 1990, I asked well-known local Trinidadian water-colour artist, Jackie Hinkson, the father of one of my students at Bishop Anstey High School in Port-of-Spain, to do the illustrations for the book.
It was not my intention at first to become a writer, but I wanted to make a small contribution to the preservation of our culture. I realized many children knew little about our traditional carnival characters, such as the Moko Jumbie and the Fancy Sailor, so I decided to write a book about a children’s carnival band called “Ole Time Mas.” As a self-proclaimed "culture-…