Images from the launch of the GSRC 2017 at Lockhart Elementary School on St. Thomas.
My latest book – the children’s picture book and Caribbean fairytale, With Grace – has been selected for 9th Annual Virgin Islands Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. It is one of six titles among this year’s picks for the programme, which exclusively spotlights books by Virgin Island and Caribbean authors. As explained in The St. Thomas Source , “The annual activity challenges students from kindergarten to sixth grade to read five or more books during the summer months in an effort to boost students’ literacy. The national initiative enjoys participation from governors of all 50 states and territories… students receive a packet containing two books, tracking sheets and a letter offering motivational words from the governor.”
Mario Picayo, who heads Little Bell Caribbean, also the publisher of With Grace, indicated that the book which has an Antiguan author (me, Joanne C. Hillhouse) and a Barbadian illustrator (Cherise Harris) was presented for consideration for the programme to Commissioner of Education, Dr. Sharon A McCollum, and the superintendents “read it, loved the book”. A special edition of With Grace, including on the cover a golden seal that says “Compliments of Governor Kenneth E. Mapp 2017 Virgin Islands Department of Education”, has been presented to 4th and 5th graders in the Territory.
Other books picked for summer 2017 are Spider in the Rain by Phillis Gershator, When I grow up by Rick Grant, When the Trees come Alive by Zayd Saleem, Close to Nature: Sea Turtles of the Virgin Islands (part of the Caribbean Natural History series and featuring images by photographers from the Virgin Islands), and B is for Benye: a Virgin Islands Historical and Cultural A-Z Book by Charlene Blake-Pemberton. With Grace tells the story of what happens when “Grace, of Grace’s Peak, who loves her home above the village, with its lush trees full of ripe fruits, all except one, agrees to a deal with a barefoot girl from the village. She ‘generously’ allows the girl to pick from her stingiest of trees, and the girl’s kind, loving heart and sweet special song makes the impossible happen, changing life at Grace’s Peak forever.”
As the author of With Grace, I am delighted at this development and hope With Grace continues to find its way in to the hands of children across the Caribbean and around the world.
I hope you’ll help me share this exciting news.
Here’s a video link about the 2017 Challenge:
Do you have a summer read programme in your community? If so, With Grace and the other picks on this list are options worth considering.
Read more about my other books here.