December 2012 Issue

Eyeing the Ham by Sayada Ramdial
The December 2012 issue of Anansesem signals yet another milestone in our journey into the creative potentialities of Caribbean children's writing and illustration. We are always proud of what our contributors bring to the table and this issue is no different.

As usual, we publish a selection from the notebooks and drawing pads of Caribbean children and teens. Thirteen-year-old Jaixia Ellis' introspective poem, 'Thinking', and nine-year-old Effie Quansah-George's expressive 'Self-portrait', impressed us with their clarity and honesty. Effie also reinterprets Anansi in her spirited, tongue-in-cheek poem, 'An Anansi Warning'.

Our adult contributors touch on a range of themes. On the fiction front, Jamaican writer Lisa Shaw effectively explores the generation gap in her story, 'Power’s Back, Grandpa', illustrated by Janiene Facey. In the story 'Connor Conrad and the Forest Children' Trinidadian writer Krys-Darcelle Dumas pays tribute to her island's folklore in an accessible, contemporary story about a group of children who encounter forest douens.

In the non-fiction realm, our Managing Editor interviews Marsha Gomes-Mckie, the new Regional Advisor of the Caribbean South Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and Loekie Morales, a Sint Maartener children's writer embracing the possibilities of self-publishing. We publish a review of Mark Greenwood's new picturebook 'Drummer Boy of John John' which tells of the creation of the steelpan. We also welcome back Carmen Milagros-Torres, whose well-researched essay on the traditional vejigante character in Puerto Rican Carnival both delights and informs. 'The Vejgantes are Coming' is lovingly illustrated by Erick Ortiz Gelpi.

In the slideshow on our homepage we are pleased to display the work of this issue's Featured Illustrators. Jamaican-American illustrator Danielle C. McManus-Sladek's mixed-media illustrations from her self-published picturebook My Grandma’s Journey, warm the cockles of the heart and capture the spirit of childhood memory. Mike Blanc's illustrations from I Came From the Water: One Haitian Boy's Incredible Tale of Survival have the narrative quality of animated movie stills; they remind us of what can be achieved when traditional drawing meets digital illustration.

As we have previously done, we also welcome Guests from Around the World in this issue. In the poem 'Trouble', Goldie Alexander confronts the social stigma and stereotype of ungovernable youth. Australian poet David Bassalone regales us in his distinct voice with the poem 'The Lighthouse' in which the architectural feature of the lighthouse, so familiar an aspect of Caribbean landscapes, takes on symbolic significance. At just 14 years old, Benjamin Jasinski-Eshun memorializes the 2012 Olympics and displays understated wisdom in his reflective poem 'No One Can Outrun Bolt', while Conrad Burdekin celebrates family ties in his effervescent poems 'Hugs' and 'Gorgeous Granny'. We also happily publish British-Iraqi and British-Kenyan child artists Sara Abed and Ida Mwangi, and the upbeat illustrations of English illustrator, Lilian Fitchett.

Lastly, Sayada Ramdial provides us with cheer-inducing, Christmas-themed cover art. A versatile illustrator and graphic artist from Trinidad and Tobago, Ramdial enjoys creating expressive and sometimes humour-driven images. She recently launched her own design company, Designed For A Smile, the first project of which was a line of greeting cards celebrating the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago Christmas. In 2012, Sayada graduated with honours from SCAD: The University for Creative Careers, where she earned her B.F.A in Illustration, with a minor in Drawing.

On behalf of the Anansesem team,

Summer Edward
Managing Editor


Contributions by Kids/Teens

• An Anansi Warning (poetry) by Effie Quansah-George (9 years old)

• Effie, Self-Portrait (illustration) by Effie Quansah-George (9 years old)

• Thinking (poetry) by Jaixia Ellis (13 years old)

Contributions by the Young at Heart


• Power’s Back, Grandpa by Lisa Shaw

• Connor Conrad and the Forest Children by Krys-Darcelle Dumas


• Gomes-Mckie Takes the Helm: Summer Edward interviews Marsha Gomes-Mckie, new Regional Advisor of the SCBWI Caribbean South Chapter

• Summer Edward's review of Drummer Boy of John John by Mark Greenwood

• Sint Maartener Children's Writer Embraces Self-Publishing: Summer Edward interviews Loekie Morales

• The Vejigantes Are Coming by Carmen Milagros-Torres


• Micky and Ricky by Janiene Facey

• Grandpa Tells Stories by Janiene Facey

A Vejigante by Erick Ortiz Gelpi

Illustrations from My Grandma’s Journey by Featured Illustrator, Danielle C. McManus-Sladek

• Illustrations from I Came From the Water by Featured Illustrator, Mike Blanc

Guests from Around the World

Anansi Spider by Ida Mwangi (illustration, ten years old)

• Caribbean Sunset by Sara Abed (illustration, 10 years old)

• Doggie Hug by Lilian Fitchett (illustration)

• Gorgeous Granny by Conrad Burdekin (poetry)

• Granny by Lilian Fitchett (illustration)

• Hugs by Conrad Burdekin (poetry)

• No One Can Outrun Bolt by Benjamin Jasinski-Eshun (poetry, 14 years old)

• The Lighthouse by Damian Balassone (poetry)

• Trouble by Goldie Alexander (poetry)

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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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