Showing posts from September, 2019

[Interview] Author to Author: A Conversation Between Nadia L. Hohn and Itah Sadu

Caribbean-Canadian children's authors Itah Sadu and Nadia L. Hohn stand at opposite ends of their writing careers— Sadu about to publish her tenth picturebook, Greetings, Leroy, in May 2017 and Hohn still riding the wave of success from her debut picturebook, Malaika's Costume, released in early 2016. Both books are published by Groundwood Books, an independent Canadian children's book publisher, and both tug at the theme of immigration. Born to immigrant parents themselves, Sadu and Hohn inhabit a growing sphere of Canadian literary culture carved out largely by black women writers, many of them with Caribbean roots. They have both created black-owned spaces— a bookstore and a writers network— which serve as vital hubs for their communities. In the spirit of the authors salon, we asked them to dialogue without any planned topic or prompt and let us in on the conversation. Here's what they had to offer.

- Itah Interviews Nadia L. Hohn

Itah Sadu: What is the cooles…

Jamaica's Children's Writers Circle (1983-2006): A Retrospective

Formed by a group of Jamaicans in 1983, the Children's Writer's Circle (CWC) set a blueprint for what community-based children's publishing looks like and can achieve. In the 80s and 90s, their members, mostly women, spearheaded many important initiatives that advanced the enterprise of Jamaican and regional children's literature. We are honoured to share this never-before-published missive from the CWC archives with a current afterword by founding member and long-time children’s book activist Diane Browne.

The Children's Writers Circle: How It All Began

Lorrise DaCosta, Chairman of the Children's Writers Circle

May 2006

More than 20 years ago a journalist, Billy Hall, and a creative preschool teacher, Pat Persaud, got together, collaborated with each other, and became co-founders of The Children's Writers Circle. They encouraged their friends, and others who had a passion for literature to join the group. Those of us whom they recruited caught their vision…

Sock Bugs

When I woke up this morning
there was itching in my socks.
I was fine the night before
when I was playing with my blocks.

Something happened while I slept,
someone has moved in!
Little bugs are living where
once nothing there had been.

At first I was quite angry,
I was positively cross!
They didn't even ask before
deciding they were boss.

But then I noticed something
that I hadn't quite before.
The bugs were lovely company;
I laughed ‘til I was sore!

They offered me some cookies,
they offered me some tea.
My sock bugs were so courteous,
as friendly as can be.

I love my new friends oh so much,
I wish they'd stay forever,
but now my socks just smell so bad,
they’ve moved into Mom's sweater!

About the Author Nicole Steadman is a freelance writer and photographer. She is also a mother, long-distance runner, and aspiring children's book author. Before having kids, she had a previous career in…

Poems by Victoria Krylova

&nbsp    &nbsp    &nbsp    &nbsp Night Owl

While the world is asleep,
         dreaming of busy days,
         in the crystal night
         hides an owl.

         Quiet, the moon’s finger stroking its wings,
         lost deep in thought,
         half-watching the scampering shadows below,
         smarter than the world knows.

         Friend of the misty night,
         sleep will come,
                                                                                       but later, much later.
                                                                                       For the owl, darkness is life.


I once was so sick, was so ill
that I ate a pill and some dill.
I canned my cat
and swallowed my mat
until I got rid of my chill.

About the Author Victoria Krylova is 16 years old although the…

[Book Review] Dancing in the Rain by John Lyons

John Lyons (Author), John Lyons (Illustrator)
Peepal Tree Press, 2015
Poetry collection, ages 9 and up

Dancing in the Rain, a collection of poems for children by John Lyons, moves readers through a plethora of sensory details and experiences associated with the world of the child. Through a thematic focus on the art of dancing, which is maintained throughout the entire collection, Lyons presents a series of childhood events and encounters with the Caribbean’s natural and supernatural worlds. The culture, customs and landscape of Trinidad and Tobago are used as a frame to position the world of the child, but the world of the imagination, as captured through a creative display of sights, sounds, tastes and emotion, can be appreciated by children across the globe.
The poems are organized based on different aspects of Trinbagonian identity and culture, and celebrate and inscribe particular historical traditions and legacies of the Caribbean experience.
The poems can therefore be placed …