Monday, July 12, 2010

Caribbean Children's Book Review#4 CRICKET stories

Now that World Cup football fever has subsided, perhaps we can take a look at another very popular sport in the Caribbeancricket. Not that the West Indies cricket team is doing so well at the moment, but the sport remains popular.

In 2007, the English-speaking Caribbean hosted Cricket World Cup. Matches were played in different islands and a good time was had by all – well nearly all. There were a few unfortunate incidents.

As a lead up to the event Ginn decided to produce reading material, fiction and non-fiction,  for children in their Get Caught Reading imprint,  and my friend and fellow writer, Diane Browne, who was responsible for the fiction section asked me to write two stories for the series. It was an interesting experience for me as this was the first time I was writing for an overseas publisher – working with their editor and illustrator.

Books cover the age range 6-11 years. One of the aims was to “Fire the imagination of reluctant readers, especially the boys in the class.” Diane says that feedback from teachers seems to confirm that this aim has been achieved. Maybe because cricket is still regarded mainly as a ‘manly’ sport, the boys don’t mind reading the stories.

The challenge for me, therefore, was to make sure that the stories featured boys in a way which would engage the readers in  positive interaction - with an appeal both to boys and girls. My stories were The Challenge Match about the rivalry between boys and girls in a grade four class and the cricket match which helped to settle things. The other was Cricket Geeks about four boys who hated sports but were drawn into the sporting world because of  their ‘geekiness’.

Diane Browne wrote most of the stories and they are all delightful – how do a boy and girl twin manage to keep their cool when one bowls for the girls and one bats for the boys at their school match? What to do when your ‘six’ breaks the window of an old grouch?  Can Mickey remain good at bat without the use of his inherited ‘magic bat?’ It’s all about cricket.-  mini versions of the philosophy behind CLR James’ famous cricket book Beyond the Boundary “arguing that what happens inside the "Boundary Line" in cricket affects life beyond it, as well as the converse.“ (quotation slightly adapted by me).

You can get an overview of the series and order books here:

You can click on sample pages to get a feel of the series.
Here’s an extract from It’s a Funny Game

Keep on running
In a game in Australia, the batsman hit the ball high
into the air. The ball landed in a tree. The elders
went to nd a gun to shoot the ball down. The
batsmen scored 286 runs before the ball came down.

This one is a lot of laughs. There’s also a bio of Brian Lara .check it out.

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