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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Note from the author - Young Heroes of the Caribbean


From the Author

The YA novel, Young Heroes of the Caribbean started as a conversation with a friend about how to make the virtues of Jamaica’s national heroes come alive for Jamaican children. Within a few days I wrote a fictional story about what could have happened to Paul Bogle when he was a boy, and was invited to read it at the 2011 awards
ceremony of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Essay Competition at King’s House. In 2013, I returned to the JIS and we collaborated on a seven-part radio drama series called Young Heroes which was aired during Heritage Week. 

It is now three years later, the book is published, and the  journey came with several surprising moments. A boy who is about to enter Grade 7 at Kingston College read a rough draft, and reported that he liked it, but that I had some editing to do! That editing has, of course, been done, but I was so happy to hear a reliable report that he had read the book.

While introducing my book during a back-to-school event in Kingston I said that the mother in the book had a cook shop that sold fish and festival, a woman cried, "That is what I do"! A history teacher at Kingston High School bought the book after a brief browse because she appreciated the natural flow of the dialogue, and said that it would hold the interest of her teens. During the fair, at two different times, two boys lingered for about half an hour each, sitting and reading the book. All of this feedback convinces me that this novel will grip the interest of boys. I also introduced the book at the Jamaica Teachers Association Conference in August and an executive member of the Jamaica Reading Association said that she was glad to find the book as she was searching for material for boys between ages 13 and 16.

The novel is an intimate family story of a working class boy, Ramiro, whose separated parents live in the diverse worlds of thoroughbred horse racing and seaside cook shop vending. As he, his parents, and an undocumented girl steer through their challenges, the mythical strength of Jamaica's seven national heroes emerge as sources of strength during adversity. Male characters dominate the book, and it is being positioned as relevant for middle school boys and older teens.

The novel features original illustrations by the popular Spanish Town raised artist and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) graduate Taj Francis. The cover uses elements of the Jamaica 50 Shop mural of the Ministry of Youth and Culture that was created by a design team of final-year students of the EMCVPA.

My plan is that Young Heroes of the Caribbean will be the first in a three-part series with subsequent books to be delivered at one-year intervals. The other books will highlight more heroes of nations with shores that are washed by the Caribbean Sea. This is my second YA novel, the first is Bad Girls in School published in the Caribbean Writers Series, (Heinemann/Pearson Education). I welcome your feedback and requests for advance copies, and do encourage you to also download the book for free on the social media website for readers, Goodreads.

Please accept my very best sentiments for a rewarding 2014-2015 school year.

Regards,
Gwyneth Harold Davidson

THE CHARACTERS

LILLY
Thirty-something mother of ten-year old Ramiro who operates a cook shop on a popular beach. She also lives on the beach in an informal settlement. She is upset that her son’s father moves to take him away because he wants his son to live in a better environment, but that is only the start of her troubles.

SAWDUST
An ambitious horse racing groom who decides that he needs to take a greater role in raising his son, as he fears that he may follow other children in the community and drop out of school early. He is schooling the thoroughbred Call Me Thunder, a horse that has the potential to be the best in his class, in a sport that is notoriously corrupt and even dangerous.

RAMIRO
Ten-year-old Ramiro is at the centre of a battle between his parents. He moves to live with his father then finds that a homeless girl may replace him at his mother’s side. He is also brought face to face with raw criminality at the track.

GAIL
Left to raise herself on the beach, the twelve-year-girl is an opportunist, taking any advanctage that comes her way, including finding a family. She has one passion, the game of football, but as she does not attend school, she sees no way to achieve her goal.

THE HEROES
Jamaica’s National Heroes as young people are each faced with a challenge that shows how they became the strong adults who built a nation.

CALL ME THUNDER
Thoroughbred three-year-old colt who has been placed in the hands of Sawdust for schooling. He is tipped to be the leading horse of his year, but there are others who would see to have his chances destroyed.


THE HEROES


NANNY OF THE MAROONS
Girl child nanny lives for adventure, but one night, facing men with guns, she realises that she cannot rely on her strength alone.

SAM SHARPE
Sam took life as an enslaved person as the way things had to be, until he feels the effect of the law of divide and rule.

PAUL BOGLE
Paul has the ability to save himself, but he cannot ignore the cries of others.

GEORGE WILLIAM GORDON
Young Gordon is ready to make his way in business through his brains and his connections, should he have time for someone who brought his family shame and pain?

MARCUS GARVEY
A disastrous scene in town caused Marcus to turn to letters, but who would listen to a child?

NORMAN MANLEY
As the school's sports star, is Manley's greatest  responsibility to win at all costs?

WILLIAM CLARK (ALEXANDER BUSTAMANTE)
William is packed and ready to go abroad to find his fortune but a a small voice captures his attention. 

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