What season is it where you are?
It’s mango season in Antigua where I live. I’ve got one in my mouth as I type this. Because here in the sun-blessed Caribbean we tear in to the orange mango with our teeth until nothing’s left but the whitened seed. E bang good (translation: it tastes so, so good).
Seriously, there’s no such thing as a bad mango. Too soft, too hard, it’s all just right. Unless it’s picked too soon, in which case you have to set it; setting means sticking the not-quite-ripe mango in a brown paper bag and literally setting it aside until it ripens. Why do we sometimes pick it before it has fully ripened? Well, the birds, the dogs, the mongoose, and the lizards might get them before we do. They love mangoes too. And can you blame them?
Bananas, oranges, they’re all good but the mango is, as we say in Antigua, sweet bad – that means very sweet. Though, like anything, it can also be bad for you if you eat too much…and the mango does tempt you to do that.
We love the mango so much, we even have a mango festival, with ice cream and mango eating contests, in the summer. The only summer festival bigger than that is Carnival and Carnival is pretty epic – costumes and music and parades and fireworks.
Why am I writing about mangoes? Ah, mangoes…because I wanted to share one of my favourite things. There is no best fruit, of course; they’re all good. *whispers ‘but mangoes are better’* I write about mangoes because I love them, maybe more than I should. I even have a poem about the mango and a book in which a girl sings to a mango tree and, unbeknownst to her, a fairy that lives there. Here it is:
See how pretty the mangoes are? Bet they taste good too.
*waving from Antigua* ~ Joanne
This letter was The Rumpus’ September 2017 Letter for Kids (I think it’s safe to share it here now). I wanted to make it fun for the kids and tie-in with the book, mangoes made sense. None of these pictures were used in The Rumpus letter.
ABOUT The Rumpus’ Letter for Kids: The Rumpus.com has been sending letters from authors to kids around the world since 2012. I found out about this through one of the social media writers’ networks I belong to and pitched. The letters can be any thing – handwritten, typed, with hand drawings, doodles, photos, or without; as long as they are a personal note from the author to the children in the Rumpus’ mailing network. Thanks to them for scheduling this author from Ottos, Antigua in the series.
ABOUT With Grace: With Grace is a fairytale filled with magic, enchantment, and lots of heart. Also mangoes, lots of mangoes. And a mango tree faerie.
ABOUT Grace’s Merrymakers: a micro troupe with a couple of my friends designed and built by my friends, inspired by and interpreting the mango tree faerie in With Grace, my children’s picture book. The troupe participated in Antigua’s Carnival parade in early August.
Links to research papers about my work, articles, reviews, interviews, reports, guest posts, shout-outs, and extras like this can be found in the Media room.