Hey everyone. So this month we celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month. If you remember, last year BookofCinz started Read Caribbean where she and other Caribbean bookstagrammers like myself, bloggers and content creators actively encouraged readers to read books by Caribbean authors and celebrate their contribution to the literary world. Visit her blog to see more info. and suggestions for new releases, short story collection recommendations etc. Please check it out and do join us in the challenges, giveaways and author interviews. After Christmas, it really is one of my favourite times of the year.
This year I wanted to step up my contribution and I decided that I would feature a book by a Caribbean author every week for the entire month. I know, I know, way to reach for stars there 🙂
First up, let’s start with a new children’s book and you know because I’m very biased, I had to feature my sister’s new book, What Do The Stars Do When It’s Time To Go To Bed?
It is night time in Marisule and it’s time for big girls to go to sleep, but Charlotte isn’t sleepy, not one bit! Her imagination runs wild at all the possibly exciting things that are taking place outside her window!
This book tells the tale of my niece, Charlotte, a very energetic child who just wants to see and experience everything in the world at once. Sleep? Naps? What’s that? No no, there’s too much to do and she doesn’t want to miss a thing. In this book, a non sleepy Charlotte gets told a bedtime story of what the stars, the trees and animals in her backyard get up to when it’s time for her to go to bed.
I loved this book, from the concept to its completion. I love the story and how true it is. What is it with children and not wanting to sleep? They’re going to miss those wasted opportunities when they’re older…
The illustrations! I loved the illustrations in her first book, Charlotte and the Two Puffs but I feel like my sister and Rahana (the illustrator) really stepped it up in this one. It’s so visually appealing and so stinkin’ cute. When you see these characters, the crickets, the chicken and her baby chicks, you’re going to smile, you won’t be able to help yourself.
Children’s books can be all fluff and stuff because authors want to keep it light for the kiddos and I appreciate that. For me however, I like when an author makes a point with their stories, when they use the story to highlight bigger issues we may see and face in society. With Charlotte and the Two Puffs, we observed the politics of hair (read my review here to see my interpretation of that). In What Do The Stars Do When It’s Time To Go To Bed, the narrators are Charlotte and her daddy extraordinaire, Chris. It’s her father who weaves this imaginative and creative story for Charlotte and I love that my sister made the decision to have Chris featured this way. At a time like this, where we need and crave more positive representations of black men and black fathers, this is a good example. There are black fathers who are putting in the work, who are active and present and it needs to be shown.
I also enjoyed that this book keeps that Caribbean feel. From the frogs playing test cricket in their “crisp whites” to the fruit bats sipping mango tea, the leaves of the mango tree swaying in the island breeze. To someone from and who lives in the Caribbean, it feels like home. It gives the book an authentic feel that an author who isn’t from here might not be able to realistically portray. That’s what makes this one a perfect pick for Read Caribbean this year.
All in all, I think that this is a book the kids and their parents will enjoy. From the colours, to the story, to the fun characters, there’s something for everyone.
Congrats on your 2nd book big sis, well done.
The book and Charlotte & The Two Puffs are available on Amazon and check out her website here for more fun things. She’s also participating in this year’s Caribbean Literary Festival (Califest) so check them out too.
Enjoy Read Caribbean this month!