Featured Illustrators


[Featured Illustrators] Daniel O'Brien

Daniel O'Brien's unpublished first children's book, The Carnival Prince, developed from drafts workshopped in his SCBWI writing group, and is inspired by his love for Caribbean folklore, Trinidad Carnival and the natural landscape of the islands.

Set in Trinidad, the richly vibrant world of Carnival comes to life in The Carnival Prince, an illustrated short chapter book for readers ages 6 and older. To to the Boy with the Stubby Antlers, the world outside his jungle home is intimidatingly full of strange change. The Boy would much rather spend his days with his friend, the Scarlet Ibis, exploring the bush and swimming with the manatees. Yet the scents, sounds, and sights of Carnival beckon him every year. Enter The Midnight Robber, a rapscallion who speaks with Trinidadian flare. Taunted annually by The Dragon, a menacing yet popular Carnival figure, The Midnight Robber plots his mischievous revenge. With the help of The Boy, they make a pact to trick The Dragon and scare him away so everyone can enjoy the Carnival without fear.

O'Brien channels his admiration of Trinbagonian mas designers Peter Minshall and Wayne Berkeley into lovingly rendered scenes of Trinidad Carnival, depicting traditional mas characters in his cartoonesque illustrative style. He describes the illustrations in the book as "a personal love letter" to famed Trinidadian landmarks including Maracas Beach, Nariva Swamp and St. James, aka "the city that never sleeps."

Love is an underlying theme in the story. Animals like the Scarlet Ibis (The National Bird of Trinidad and Tobago), the West Indian Manatee and hummingbirds are depicted as playful, affectionate and devoted companions of the adventurous little prince. Also featured in the story are Papa Bois ("Father of the Woods") and Mama D'lo (from "Mother of the River"), who are the Carnival Prince's parents, and douens, mythological creatures from Trinidad and Tobago folklore believed to be the lost souls of children who have died without being baptized. The story humanizes these legendary folkloric characters by depicting them as a loving family.

The illustrations in The Carnival Prince were first painted in acrylics and then finalized digitally in Adobe Photoshop. O'Brien commented:

The illustration "For the Love of the Story (Too Young to Soca)" introduces the Boy with the Stubby Antlers. My inspiration came from my love for the old folklore of the Caribbean islands. Notice the Scarlet Ibis fleeing into the woods. I wanted this book to teach as well and inspire and entertain, so the introduction of the National Bird was my first attempt to do so. In the illustration "For the Love of Play," we see the Boy with the Stubby Antlers playing with the manatees in Nariva Swamp. These gentle creatures inspired folklore of their own; it has been said that they were once mistaken for mermaids.
For the Love of the Story (Too Young to Soca)

For the Love of Play

Blind Man's Buff

For the Love of Mischief

O'Brien on what Caribbean children's illustration means to him:

Caribbean children’s illustration helps me to connect to my culture and share it proudly with others. It provides an avenue in which to present stories people do not always get to experience, by using a voice that is not always heard. I am happy to contribute to the telling of our stories and would be honoured to be a part of the community helping children in the Caribbean and of Caribbean descent see themselves in the books they read.


Daniel O’Brien is a Trinidadian-born illustrator currently residing in Queens, New York with Obie, his loyal and energetic dog. He holds a BFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts. His training, coupled with his love of science, folklore and nature, inspires him to create otherworldly illustrations. His art has been shown in exhibits in Trinidad and New York, most recently in partnership with the Parsons Scholars Program. He is currently in the process of self-publishing his debut children's book, The Carnival Prince, which he both wrote and illustrated, and is excited as he looks forward to the next project.

View more of Daniel's work here:


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[Featured Illustrators] Alix Delinois

In 2010, Scholastic published Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, Alix Delinois' second illustrated children's book. Written by National Book Award nominee Edwidge Danticat in an attempt to explain the 2010 Haiti earthquake to her 5-year-old daughter, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti was hailed as "a brilliantly crafted story of hope and imagination" and "a powerful tribute to Haiti and children around the world." It was featured widely in the press, including by NPR and The Huffington Post.

In the story, a young boy, Junior, is trapped for 8 days beneath his collapsed house after an earthquake. He uses his imagination for comfort, drawing on beautiful, everyday-life memories of his life in Haiti, until he is finally rescued. Love and warmth dance across each page; the illustrations depict the tenderness and strength of Junior's love for his family and vice versa, as well as a young boy's deep love for an island so often depicted in a negative light.

Greetings, Leroy, Delinois' most recent illustrated picture storybook, was published by Groundwood books in May 2017. Written by Barbadian-Canadian children's author and bookstore owner Itah Sadu, the book features a young protagonist, Roy, who has just moved to Canada from Jamaica and is struggling to adjust to life in a strange, new country. The story follows Roy through his first, nerve-wracking day at school, and by the end of the day, Roy realizes he may come to love his new home as much as he loves his old home in Jamaica. Whether it is love for one's country of origin, the classroom as a loving community where everyone is made to feel welcome, or the parents love for Leroy, both text and illustrations reveal the importance of love in supporting a child through the challenging experience of immigration.

Delinois’ work displays a dynamic color palette and bold compositions to express human emotions and experience, including love. Believing less is more, Delinois employs strong compositions and designs that enable the viewer to experience art without the clutter found in everyday life. His work is mostly done using mixed media consisting of collage, acrylic and crayons. Delinois commented:

Junior and Christine playing in the rain from Eight Days was inspired by Ms. Danticat’s words and my own experiences in Haiti playing in the rain as child. "A kiss for Manman" depicts the tender, intimate connection between Junior and his mother. The picture where Junior is reunited with his parents was an emotional piece to work on. After the tragic earthquake that took the lives of so many loved ones, it was very empowering to depict the moment that Junior emerged from under the rubble after eight days of being buried alone. "Leroy and the baby" depicts the joy of Leroy finding the Bob Marley button he lost during his first day of school in a new country. The joy of finding the button represents the joy of his connection to his home country, Jamaica.
A kiss for Manman

Junior is reunited with his parents

Leroy and the baby

Junior and Christine dancing in the rain

Delinois on what Caribbean children's illustration means to him:

I believe Caribbean children’s illustrations depict the beauty and culture of life in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a diverse place with influences from Africa and all over the world. The styles and colors of Caribbean children’s illustration represent universal themes of love and family.


Alix Delinois moved from Saint Marc, Haiti to Harlem, New York with his family at the age of seven. He knew he wanted to be an artist when he read Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe in fourth grade. He attended Art and Design High School in New York City and continued his studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute where he earned a B.F.A. in Illustration. He earned a Masters in Art Education at Brooklyn College. In addition to his career as a children's book illustrator, he teaches art to middle school students in Harlem, where he first started to pursue his own passion for the arts. His first children’s book was Muhammad Ali written by Walter Dean Myers. Since then, he has published three more picture books: Eight Days A Story of Haiti written by Edwidge Danticat, Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence written by Gretchen Woelfle, and Greetings, Leroy written by Itah Sadu.

View more of Alix's work here:


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Back to School After an Environmental Disaster: Teaching Hurricane Irma

Illustration by Tim Clarey from HURRICANE by Verna Allette Wilkins

Earlier this week, we woke up to the news of the huge damages suffered by many Caribbean islands due to Hurricane Irma. Early this morning, I reached out to Carmen (one of our Associate Editors) to see how she'd fared over in Puerto Rico and thankfully she and her family are safe and haven't suffered any major losses. Particularly heart-wrenching are the first images of the devastation in Barbuda where it's reported that 90% of the homes are damaged and 50% of the population is now homeless. In the wake of Irma, the island was unreachable for a few hours— inconceivable in this day and age.

Barbuda's Prime Minister spoke out about climate injustice on BBC Today and linked climate change to the rise in severe hurricanes in the region; large industrial nations are the heaviest polluters and we in the Caribbean suffer at their expense. There's more than enough science to support it, yet some leaders of powerful nations continue to deny climate change.

Illustration by Jesse Joshua Watson from HOPE FOR HAITI

It's also back-to-school week, and in places like Barbuda, a disaster of this scale is surely going to affect students' psycho-emotional and academic welfare for years to come. Roofs have been blown off of school buildings and classroom supplies have been destroyed. It will be some time before the country returns to a state of normalcy and schools are officially back up and running.

To help young people process the trauma and move forward, I’ve compiled a list of learning resources and tools that schools and educators can use to respond to the storm and its aftermath with students. There aren't enough "own voices" Caribbean children's books about hurricanes and other disasters; below, the orange "Own" sticker is used to indicate the book is an #ownvoices one written by a Caribbean author. Also, it's really time for some more creativity when it comes to the titles of these "hurricane books", if you see what I mean.


Media Literacy Tools

Bri and Luk – The Great Adventure: An Animated Tale: A fun animated story created by The Future Centre Trust (Barbados) to compliment the Bri and Luk Climate Change Learning Series which consists of one factual book (Book 1) a storybook (Book 2 ) and a puppet show, all of which focus on educating children on the basics of climate change adaptation with the help of nine character friends.

The Jamaica ODPEM Website for Kids: The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management in Jamaica has created a website for children ages 6-12 to help them learn how to prepare for hurricanes and other adverse events. The website's resources include a download center, videos, a list of safety tips and more.

Disaster Awareness for Schools: A Resource Guide for Caribbean Teachers: This downloadable guide created by the The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) provides a select list of books, articles, pamphlets, brochures, posters, and other items on hazards, risks, and disasters that are held in disaster management agencies in the Caribbean.


Children's Books

Hope for Haiti by Jesse Joshua Watson

When the earth shook, his whole neighborhood disappeared. Now a boy and his mother are living in the soccer stadium, in a shelter made of tin and bed sheets, with long lines for food and water. But even with so much sorrow all around, he finds a child playing with a soccer ball made of rags. Soon many children are caught up in the magic of the game. Then the kids are given a truly wonderful gift. A soccer ball might seem simple, but really it's a powerful link between a heartbroken country's past and its hopes for the future. A testament to the strength of the Haitian people and the spirit of childhood.

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat

From National Book Award nominee Edwidge Danticat comes a timely, brilliantly crafted story of hope and imagination--a powerful tribute to Haiti and children around the world. Hope comes alive in this heartfelt and deeply resonating story. While Junior is trapped for 8 days beneath his collapsed house after an earthquake, he uses his imagination for comfort.

Drawing on beautiful, everyday-life memories, Junior paints a sparkling picture of Haiti for each of those days--flying kites with his best friend or racing his sister around St. Marc's Square--helping him through the tragedy until he is finally rescued. Love and hope dance across each page--granting us a way to talk about resilience as a family, a classroom, or a friend. Illustrated by Alix Delinois.

Hurricane by Verna Allette Wilkins

Troy and Nita are sent home early from school because of a hurricane warning, but instead of going straight home, they stop to visit a friend. They get caught up in the storm and don't get back until well after dark. Illustrated by Tim Clarey.

Sergio and the Hurricane by Alexandra Wallner

Sergio lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan is usually sunny and peaceful, but one day the sky grows dark and the ocean gets choppy. A hurricane is coming, and Sergio and his family must prepare for the storm. Sergio is excited at first, but he soon realizes that hurricanes can be dangerous. Through the experiences of one little boy, readers will learn about hurricanes and the damage they can do. And they'll also see how a community can pull together to repair that damage.

With her signature folk-art style and lively text, Alexandra Wallner captures the bright colors and sounds of Puerto Rico and shows young readers what it is really like to live through a hurricane.

Hurricane! by Jonathan London

One moment the sun is shining on the slopes of El Yunque, the largest mountain in eastern Puerto Rico, the next, everything has changed. The sky has turned deep purple, and you feel as if the air has been sucked from your lungs. That can mean only one thing: A hurricane is coming! Illustrated by Henri Sorensen.

Shauna's Hurricane by Francine Jacobs

One day, at her school on a little island in the Caribbean Sea, a message comes to Shauna's teacher. She stops the class and says, "A hurricane is coming! Hurry home. There’ll be lots to do." This book belongs to the Hop, Step, Jump series aimed at children around 6 to 11 years old. Hop, Step, Jump is not a reading scheme, but a set of absorbing, child-centred stories, rhymes, riddles, songs and fact books, collected from diverse sources and illustrated in a variety of styles. The books are arranged at three language levels: Hop, Step and Jump. This book is in the Step level.

Hurricane by Andrew Salkey

A lively illustrated masterpiece, this is the gripping story of a natural disaster and the 13-year-old Kingston boy who lives to tell the tale. While holed up in their home, Joe Brown, his sister Mary, and their parents wait for the eye of the hurricane to pass over their home. Outside, a terrifying wind turns trees to splinters, darkness swallows the land, and torrential rains lash the roof. Celebrating Jamaica’s resilience in the face of natural disasters, this account follows the family as they huddle, worry, wait, and hope—together.

I Came From the Water: One Haitian Boy's Incredible Tale of Survival by Vanita Oelschlager

The story is based on the real-life experiences of Moses, an eight year-old boy and resident of St. Helene's orphanage outside Port-au-Prince. As an infant, he was rescued after being swept away in a flood. Homeless and orphaned, he begins life anew in a children's village. Then the 2010 earthquake strikes followed by a devastating hurricane. Moses helps the children in his orphanage adapt to their new lives and helps a priest and the nuns save other victims. Illustrated by Mike Blanc.

Bri and Luk Climate Change Learning Series by Nicole Garofano

The Future Centre Trust's (Barbados) Bri and Luk Climate Change Learning Series was designed to help students and their teachers understand the effects of global climate change on Barbados and the region. Here the story of Luk the polar bear unfolds. Luk comes to the Caribbean with his friend Bri the hummingbird to learn from the local animals and children how climate change is beginning to affect them. Includes Bri and Luk: Friends In Times of Changing Climates: Climate Change Adaptation for Caribbean Youth (Book 1) and Bri and Luk: The Great Adventure (Book 2).

Bonus: For a look at how pets and animals deal with environmental disasters, read Mauby and the Hurricane by Barbadian children's author Peter Laurie, illustrated by H. Ann Dodson.

About the Author

Summer Edward is the Editor-in-Chief here at Anansesem. Her writing and art have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. Her home on the web is www.summeredward.com.

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September 2017— Special Issue: Love

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*PDF edition available October 1st.

Read unlocked online content— More coming soon!

Beautiful original cover art by Children's Book Choice Award winner Alix Delinois, from Eight Days a Story of Haiti.


• Hopefully Ever After: What Love Means to Young Readers by Margarita Engle, the 2017-2019 USA Young People's Poet Laureate

• Caribbean Children's Literature: Where's the Love?: A Note from the Editor-in-Chief by Summer Edward


• Excerpt from in-progress YA novel, Man Up, by Trish Cooke, Kate Greenaway Medal Commended author of So Much

• Excerpt from Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste, Américas Award Commended author of The Jumbies


• Our Cook and Natural Dancing Partners: Two Poems from the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) shortlisted book Dancing in the Rain by John Lyons


• Publishing as A Labour of Love: An Interview with Verna Wilkins, the UK's Doyenne of Multicultural Children's Publishing by Summer Edward

• Picturebook Love: 5 Caribbean Picturebook Authors on Helping Kids Choose Love Through Stories by Anika Denise, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Lulu Delacre, Olive Senior and Matt Tavares

• Angela Walcott reviews Greetings, Leroy by Itah Sadu and Alix Delinois

• Dr. Carmen Milagros-Torres reviews The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon


• Spotlight on The Carnival Prince by Featured Illustrator, Daniel O'Brien

• Spotlight on Greetings, Leroy and Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Featured Illustrator, Alix Delinois

Guests from Around the World

• Tinine and Tanana (fiction) by Hadiza Mohammed

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[Event] Tracey Baptiste in Conversation with Summer Edward

August 25th, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

On Friday August 25th, 2017, join us for a conversation with prospective Anansesem contributor Tracey Baptiste, an award-winning Trinbagonian children's author based in New Jersey, USA.

Tracey Baptiste dreamed of being an author since the age of three when she was given a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel Rise of the Jumbies, the sequel to The Jumbies, a creepy middle grade fairy tale set in the Caribbean which was a Junior Library Guild selection, a We Need Diverse Books “Must Read,” a New York Public Libraries Staff Pick, and a Bank Street Books Best of 2016. Her other 12 books for children include Angel's Grace and The Totally Gross History of Ancient Egypt. She volunteers with We Need Diverse Books, The Brown Bookshelf, and I Too Arts Collective. She is a faculty member in Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program teaching Writing for Young People, and runs the editorial company Fairy Godauthor. She is currently working on a young adult novel and a nonfiction graphic novel, both slated for publication in 2018.

Baptiste will talk children's literature, writing, and her recent books and take questions from the audience in this discussion. Moderator Summer Edward is a former judge of the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children's literature and Anansesem's Editor-in-Chief.

Back in April 2015, we welcomed Baptiste as one of the guest authors in our #Caribbeankidlitchat Twitter chat series (the archive of that chat can be found here) and we're beyond excited that she's coming to Trinidad.

Attending this event? RSVP here

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


    Carnegie Free Library
    Corner Coffee & Prince
    of Wales Streets
    San Fernando,

    (868) 652-2608

    Anansesem Caribbean
    children's literature

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This Month's Books