Caribbean Thoughts

by Carol Mitchell

Cheat Sheet

I am by no means a scholar in the area of Caribbean Children’s Literature. My qualifications in this field are very simple: I am West Indian, a mother, a lover of books and an author. So I am particularly pleased for this opportunity to get on my soap box.

We promote Caribbean Children’s Literature, encourage our children to read, but do we always remember why reading is necessary? Why do our children need to read books and more importantly, why do they need to read books which tell stories based in the Caribbean?

We need the answer to these questions in our hip pocket ready to hand out to children who find it difficult to sit with a book when there are so many other gadgets clamoring for their attention. The answer also has to be ready for parents who find it easier to give into the children’s complaints than to insist that they read.

So, here is the cheat sheet:

1. READING leads to KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE = POWER

2. READING enhances IMAGINATION; IMAGINATION = INVENTIVENESS = POWER

3. READING leads to increased VOCABULARY and improved language skills; Good VOCABULARY + KNOWLEDGE + IMAGINATION open doors into boardrooms worldwide – POWER

4. READING about the CARIBBEAN leads our children towards greater UNDERSTANDING and RESPECT for our history and for ourselves and fosters a formidable group of young people making a positive impact in the world – POWER!

All of this gained from a half an hour spent reading a good book each day. It is a hard to argue against that formula!

The next step in this discussion is, of course, enhancing the supply of Caribbean books for children so that we can increase the demand. Hopefully Summer will have me back so that I can give my thoughts on this one.

(Originally appeared on Summer Edward’s Caribbean Children’s Literature blog on October 1, 2010)

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