Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Caribbean books for your kids' holiday reading list

The holidays are here and the kids are free from the daily rigours of school.  While many of them will cherish the freedom to p lay as many video games as they want or watch as much TV as possible, limiting their screen time is always a good idea. Instead of living in front of a screen, you could challenge your kids to sink their teeth into some good books, especially Caribbean and/or Caribbean-themed literature that will not only entertain them but also teach them about the region they live in.

Here are some books that should be on your kids’ holiday reading list.

Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella


Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Age group: 4 to 8

Everyone knows the Cinderella story but in this version, San Souci tells the story through the eyes of the fairy godmother in a French Creole tale.

The Nutmeg Princess

Author: Richardo Keens Douglas

Publisher: Annick Press

Age group: 6 to 9

In this book, Grenadian author Richardo Keens Douglas puts the island’s famous export in the spotlight as he tells the tale of two children who go in search of The Nutmeg Princess.

The Jumbies

Author: Tracey Baptiste

Publisher: Algonquin

Age group 9 to 12

Trinidadian Tracey Baptiste puts Caribbean folklore in the spotlight with The Jumbies, a spine-tingling story that follows a fearless girl, Corinne La Mer, as she prepares to battle with unknown danger.

Crick Crack, Monkey

Author: Merle Hodge

 Publisher: Heinemann Educational Books 

Age Group: 12 and up

Crick Crack, Monkey is a revealing novel of childhood about Tee who is being made socially acceptable by her Aunt Beatrice so that she can cope with the caste system of Trinidad.

Tales from the Forest

Authors: Penelope Spencer and Lylah Ali

Publisher: Queen Bishop Publishing

Age Group: 8 to adult

Trinidad and Tobago's folklore takes centre stage in this collection of stories aimed at reviving tradition to a new generation of readers. 

A High Wind in Jamaica

Author: Richard Hughes


Age Group:  All ages

Adapted into a film, this novel tells the tale of children kidnapped by pirates with some humour sprinkled into the light-hearted narration.

My Bones and My Flute

Author: Edgar Mittelholzer

Publisher: Peepal Tree Press

Age Group: 12 and up

Set in Guyana, My Bones and My Flute was written in 1955 ago but remains relevant for today’s audience. This is a ghost story that traces the journey of an artist, Milton Woodsley, to stay at the home of a friend in a jungle cottage in Guyana. But once there he is told of a flute player that no one else could hear.

A Cow called Boy

Author: C. Everard Palmer

Publisher: Macmillan Caribbean Publishers

Age Group: All ages

This is a hilarious tale of a calf that followed his owner to school and caused chaos, forcing his young owner to fight to save him from the butcher’s knife.

Miguel Street

Author: VS Naipaul

Publisher: Penguin/Random House

Age Group: 15 and up

This is a colourful and delightful collection of short stories that chronicles the lives of the characters that live on Miguel Street.

Green Days by the River

Author: Michael Anthony


Age Group: 15 and up.

Soon to hit the big screens, this coming of age story set in Trinidad and Tobago explores the emotional turmoil of young love and the consequences of questionable decisions.

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