Book Review: The Protectors’ Pledge: Secrets of Oscuros

Another great review.

The Protectors’ Pledge: Secrets of Oscuros by Danielle Y.C. McClean is the 2016 third place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

JV is an adventurous eleven-year-old boy on vacation from school. He lives with his grandmother who is the quintessential Caribbean granny; she loves to feed everyone who comes to her house. She is also the ‘medicine woman’ in their village.

JV has plans of exploring the forest for the vacation, he is very excited, but his grandmother and other villagers discourage him from doing so because of their suspicions and beliefs that the forest is the home of mythical/folklore creatures.

JV defies his grandmother and goes further into the forest that she has instructed him to. On his first visit, he goes with two friends, but they leave separately, and JV sees a strange woman in a river that makes him curious about who or what she was. He suspects that…

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Book Review: Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell

#CaribbeanBookReview #BurtAward

Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell is the 2016 second place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Fifteen year old Desma could not be more excited about her upcoming sweet sixteen birthday plans. She has also recently won a very prestigious scholarship that would give her the opportunity to become an Actuary.  Everyone is happy for her and her life is seemingly perfect until a boycott threatens to disrupt, even cancel her birthday lime at the local cinema.

A group named the Progressive Group has initiated opposition to segregation in Bermuda. At first, Desma is very annoyed at the disruption until several unsavoury incidents happen to her and her family. She changes her view and decides to do something about it.

This is another deserving book from the Burt Awards. This book can be of interest to children in primary and secondary schools. It shows the growth in Desma’s mindset when she…

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Protector’s Pledge a gripping mystery

A review by Debbie Jacob for Trinidad’s Newsday. A big shout out to author Danielle McClean

Repeating Islands

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A big shout out to author Danielle McClean, who was my student at Vassar College!!

A review by Debbie Jacob for Trinidad’s Newsday.

Don’t be surprised when you read the annual CODE Burt Award-winning, Young Adult (YA) novels, and feel that you prefer a different order for the three winning books. They are so close in literary merit and so different in genre or writing style that I find it is difficult to rank the winners in any particular order. In my book, they all deserve first place.

Today, I introduce you to the third-place winner, Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge by Trinidadian-born author Danielle YC McClean, who now lives in the state of Tennessee in the US.

Combining folklore and adventure into a gripping story about identity and how we perceive ourselves in the world, McClean constructs a genre-bending mystery, which appears to be the first book…

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Book Review: Dreams Beyond the Shore

Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson is the 2016 first place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Dreams Beyond the Shore simultaneously chronicles the life of the daughter of a political leader on the heels of elections in Trinidad and Tobago, and her love interest, Kyron, the son of a shady businessman. Chelsea Marchand wants nothing more than to be a Writer, but her father Dr. Peter Marchand is openly unsupportive of her creative pursuits. He wants her to be a Lawyer, and eventually follow in his footsteps towards the political arena.

Chelsea and Kyron met when they are both in the registration line at the University of the West Indies. Although Kyron is attracted to Chelsea, he initially judges her by her obvious financial security. He, himself, is financially secured, compliments of his father with whom he has no real relationship. Kyron doesn’t learn that Chelsea…

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“A Brief History of Seven Killings” to be adapted for Amazon Studios

Repeating Islands

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Many thanks to Geoffrey Philp for sharing the news “’Insecure’ Director to Adapt Man Booker Prize-Winning Novel for Amazon Studios” from the Hollywood Reporter; Marlon James is working on an adaptation of A Brief History of Seven Killings for Amazon Studios. Melina Matsoukas, chief director of the HBO series Insecure, is developing the project as a series:

Marlon James is writing the adaptation of ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ with Jill Soloway, Eric Roth and Malcolm Spellman on board as executive producers.

Melina Matsoukas, chief director of the HBO series Insecure, is tackling an adaptation of the award-winning Marlon James novel A Brief History of Seven Killings for Amazon Studios. Matsoukas is developing the project as a series and will executive produce as well as direct the episodes. Teaming with her is James, who will write the script as well as executive produce, while Malcolm Spellman…

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Book Review: Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse

#CaribbeanBookReview #BurtAward @code_can Book Review: Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean

musical_youthMusical Youth is beautifully written. It is a pride to Caribbean young adult fiction. Though it addresses a current and very real social issue, the writer skillfully educates you while she takes you back to the innocence of school days in the Caribbean. You can’t help but remember your first crush, how every little thing they did is permanently etched in your memory.

There is a good blend of characters throughout the book, and they complement each other well. It was also refreshing to read a story about children doing positive things.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it to fellow readers.

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Book Review: All Over Again by A-Dziko Simba Gegele

#CaribbeanBookReview #BurtAward @code_can All Over Again by A-Dziko Simba Gegele winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

alloverThis book features the life of a 12 year old boy as he goes about his days, doing regular things. The catch is that so much of what adults may deem simple is totally disruptive to this poor child’s life. It reminds me of the movie American Psycho without the killing.

At first I could not connect with the rhythm the book was written in until I recognized that it was adding to the way the main character’s thoughts were playing out. The style was also age appropriate.

Nothing is insignificant to the boy. He breaks down everything that happens to him throughout the book.  I felt enlightened as to how complicated a child’s presumably simple life can be.

The story is well written and edit, one of the best Caribbean books I’ve read in a while. All Over Again is a good read and deserving winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in 2014.

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Book Review: Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay

#CaribbeanBookReview #BurtAward @code_can Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay is the 2015 second prize winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay is the 2015 second prize winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Gone to Drift is the story of Lloyd, a Jamaican youth who refused to accept that his grandfather, Maas Conrad, was dead when he did not return from a fishing trip after several days. Both family members and neighbours alike implored twelve year old Lloyd to cease his search and dangerous investigations. He defies them and continuously goes to great lengths to trace his grandfather’s steps. Lloyd finds some very ugly truths that he had suspected.

Eventually, with the help of a young female scientist, he learnt that Maas Conrad was last seen at Pedro Cays, a group of islands that was not his usual fishing location and that his disappearance might be connected to his disapproval of an ongoing Dolphin trade.

Parallel to this story, the writer narrates a first-person…

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God Is NOT A Trini

Exactly…..

Critics May Lie

Is it possible that for this hurricane season we can get rid of the “God is a Trini” term?

Let me put it another way.

Is it possible that for this hurricane season we can stop being so damn insensitive to the millions of people in the region who have literally had their lives destroyed because ‘God is a Trini’.

Now I know nobody really believes it. Every country has their own sayings that only make sense there. It is just our way of explaining why several times we have been directly in the path of a hurricane only to find that it suddenly changed its mind a few miles out and went in another direction. God must be a Trini. *shrug*

However, I don’t think my Trinbagonian brothers and sisters who raise this ‘nothing can touch us cause God is a Trini’ flag high every year understand the depth…

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i did it my way

#HannibalBarca, was a Carthaginian general, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and he committed #suicide, that part of his story irked me for very long. I just couldn’t understand how such a strong mind could do a weak thing like that. It took me years to just process it. After i read his story again and again and researched his life it occurred to me that the problem was my perception. Barca was a man who controlled his own fate, he owned life and to ask him not to own death as well was out of his character. He didn’t wait for life to unfold itself, he commanded it and he did not wait for death either: to take everything it could and in the end leave him barely human. He wanted it to be his choice and it was.

It was as simple as that.

There are so many arguments that suicide is selfish but killing thousands of people to take over someone else’s country is also selfish.

There is the argument that there is always hope, but who are you to define hope for me. What if my hope is for heaven or even hell.

There is a madness in consciousness that looks sane to everyone until you snap.

So if you aren’t ready to be that person to talk me off the ledge when i am alive don’t cry for me when i am gone, even if you tried to talk me off the ledge and i still jumped just respect that i was and ever will live in your hearts and i did it my way.  The ledge was my path.

You too, have your own choice to make and if you wait for death and live every bit of life until the end then all it means is that you did it your way. You just can’t compare different human beings and expect them to make the same choices.

Just enjoy the time you have.

#Barca #robinwilliams #allthosewhenbefore

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