Sunday, September 12, 2010

Caribbean Children's Lit - Conversation with a Reluctant Reader of Fiction

One of the concerns of educators in the Caribbean is the fact that the children are so reluctant to read, especially the boys. As a writer of fiction for Caribbean children, I keep trying to discover what would be of interest to our children and give them joy in reading books. Following is a conversation I had with a boy in Jamaica.

Q. Bradley how old are you, and what grade are you in at school?
A.  I am nine and in Grade 5 at school.
Q.  What books do you like to read?
A.  Non-fiction books about science, animals, earth and the environment.
Q. What non-fiction books have you read recently? 
A.  One called Reptiles, and one about chameleons which
      change colour to match their environment or their moods.
      And one about hurricanes in the Caribbean
Q.   Do you read any fiction?
A.   Sometimes in library sessions at school. I prefer non-fiction.
Q.   Do you read fiction by Caribbean authors?
A.   Yes.
Q.   What stories have you read recently?
A.   Caesar and the 3 Robbers by Jean D’Costa and 
       Bernie and the Captain’s Ghost by Hazel D. Campbell
Q.   Why did you choose those books?
A.   My grandmother said I should read them.
Q.   What other fiction have you read recently?
A.   Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Q.   Apart from books, what else do you read?
A.   Stuff on the computer, like things about world 
       problems in the environment and strange animals, 
       and when there are disasters. I play games on the 
       computer and I watch things on YouTube. 
       I saw something about the White Witch of Rosehall,
       a Jamaican story, on YouTube
Q.   What do you watch on cable?
A.   National Geographic, Avatar, Johnny Test,
      The Suite Life on Deck and funny shows.    
Q.  What would you like Caribbean authors to write about
      in their stories.
A.  Stories with the sea and sea animals, scary stories, funny stories. 
     Stuff like that.

So, Caribbean writers of children's stories, what do you think?  Are we writing stories which will woo and excite our boys into reading for pleasure? 

Came across this relevant discussion.
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