Featured Illustrators

Spotlight

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle






We are delighted and incredibly honoured to bring you the exclusive cover reveal for Anansesem advisory board member Margarita Engle's upcoming verse memoir, Soaring Earth, the companion book to her childhood verse memoir Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, which was a 2016 Pura Belpré Award winner. Engle has done so much to support Anansesem and we couldn't be more thrilled to share her work and continued success.

Watch the video below, then keep reading to learn more about the book.


Margarita Engle on Soaring Earth:
When I wrote my childhood verse memoir, Enchanted Air, my goal was to tell my personal story before all the people who lived through the Cuban revolution and Cold War era are gone. Once our generation passes, others will feel free to oversimplify our complex experience. In fact, the absurd process of romanticizing Cuban history has already begun, with books about the island written by outsiders whose only viewpoint is tourism.

Enchanted Air met its goal of communicating one Cuban-American child’s experience, but I never imagined that I would write a sequel. Soaring Earth is a companion book, showing how I alternately coped and failed to cope with the loss of travel rights that followed the Missile Crisis. Soaring Earth is about my high school and college years. I wrote it because I heard a literacy expert cite drastic statistics regarding the current college dropout rate. I hope that my story of protests, dreams, discouragement, and hopes will resonate with teenagers today, as they face another era of conflict.

I started college at U.C. Berkeley in 1968, dropped out during riots, hitchhiked across the country, became briefly homeless, tried to volunteer to cut sugarcane in Cuba, and when that effort failed, I eventually returned to school, where I found a refuge in studying agriculture, and a source of hope in poetry.

Soaring Earth will be released by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in February, 2019.




About the Author

Margarita Engle is the 2017-2019 national Young People’s Poet Laureate, and a USBBY 2019 Astrid Lindgren Award nominee. She is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Lightning Dreamer, a PEN USA Award recipient. Her verse memoir, Enchanted Air, received the Pura Belpré Award, Golden Kite Award, Walter Dean Myers Honor, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and Arnold Adoff Poetry Award, among others. Drum Dream Girl received the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text. Her newest books are The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar, and Jazz Owls, a Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots. Pending publication in September is a picture book titled A Dog Named Haku, A Holiday Story From Nepal, co-authored with Amish and Nicole Karanjit. Soaring Earth, a sequel to Enchanted Air, will be published by Atheneum in February, 2019. Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives. She studied agronomy and botany along with creative writing. She lives in central California with her husband and his wilderness search and rescue dogs. Visit her on the Web at Margarita Engle and on Twitter at @YPPLaureate.

Read More

The Caribbean Children's and YA Writers Survey






In an effort to examine, understand and bring to light the unique challenges Caribbean children's and young adult writers face in getting their work published (either traditionally or self-published), we created The Caribbean Children's and YA Writers Survey. This anonymous questionnaire is for Caribbean writers for young audiences. It doesn't matter if you haven't yet published a book; as long as you're writing for young audiences and identify as a person of Caribbean heritage/ancestry, we want to hear from you.

Click here for a direct link to the survey, or you can fill it out right here on our site by scrolling down to the end of this page. The survey closes on June 30th, 2018.

In private circles, in one-off conversations, our writers tell countless stories of the unique challenges they face trying to break into publishing, but their experiences have not yet been collectively publicized. This has led to a culture of silence surrounding the exclusion of Caribbean narratives in children's/YA publishing. We aim to disrupt this culture of silence and widen the window of discourse. We seek to document as much as possible the range of experiences and views of Caribbean writers for young audiences who have been trying to get their work published—some of them for decades—as well as those who have already published a book.

The information collected via this questionnaire will be made available to publishers and literary agencies (both in the Caribbean and elsewhere) who express interest in acquiring work by, and successfully working with, Caribbean children's and young adult writers. We will also report our findings on our website. We will use this information to characterize the particular struggles Caribbean children's and young adult writers face in selling and translating their work to publishing houses, literary agents and editors in the publishing establishment (in the USA, UK etc.).

We hope that responses to the questionnaire will open up conversations about what is needed to make the children's/YA publishing industry more receptive to Caribbean voices, stories, and ways of telling them. Your participation is greatly appreciated and will make an important contribution to the industry. Completing this survey should take approximately 15-30 mins. Thanks for your participation and please share this widely!



Read More

[Event] Healing Through Children's Stories with Summer Edward




April 13 and 14, 2018 @ various times


On Friday April 13, 2018, our editor-in-chief Summer Edward, will be an invited speaker at the United States Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair. On Saturday April 14, 2018, she will lead a children's book creation workshop at the Festival. The lecture will lay the groundwork for the workshop.

Workshop participants will learn about a holistic approach to making children's books that support social and personal transformation in Caribbean children and in Caribbean communities. This workshop focuses on the importance of "own voices" expression, reflective action, heritage conservation, authenticity, inclusivity, the sacredness of story, nature, community publishing, mentorship and artistic freedom as necessary foundations for creating meaningful, healing (and sometimes revolutionary) Caribbean children's books.

Summer Edward is the Foundress and Managing Editor of Anansesem, the online magazine of Caribbean children’s and young adult literature. A Highlights Foundation alumna and a former judge of Africa’s Golden Baobab Prizes for children’s literature, she holds a Masters degree in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and is the recipient of the School of the Free Mind’s Way of the Book Honor Award granted to author-artists “demonstrating long and sincere commitment to changing the world through children’s books.” Her children’s writing and illustration appears in Whaleheart: Journey into the Night with Maya Christina Gonzalez and 23 Courageous ArtistAuthors, on the Children’s Writer’s Guild website, on the Mirrors, Windows, Doors website, and on Storybird.com where they have been viewed over 38,000 times. Her writings on Caribbean and international children’s literature appear or are forthcoming in Horn Book Magazine, The Millions, WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom, sx salon, Charlotte Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide and more. She dons both writer and children’s editor hats, having edited children's and YA books by NAACP Image Award-nominated, Casa de las Américas Award-commended, Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning and Burt Award-winning authors. You can learn more at her personal website: www.summeredward.com.



Attending this event? Register here
.




The flyer below can be downloaded and shared on social media, in fact, we encourage it!



   Details

    Venue:
    UVI - Albert A. Sheen
    Campus
    Kingshill, St. Croix
    U.S. Virgin Islands
    00850-9781

    Phone:
    1 340-778-1620

    Organizer:
    University of the
    United States Virgin
    Islands


Read More

[Book List] Caribbean Carnival in Books for Children




Illustration by Frané Lessac from DRUMMER BOY OF JOHN JOHN by Mark Greenwood

It's carnival season! Carnival, along with steel pan music, the traditional music of carnival, is one of the things our region is famous for. Although different islands have different carnival origin stories, carnival is a festival with both African and European origins.
Read More

Interviews