By Stacey Alfonso-Mills, Children’s Author. Reading is such a great way to entertain, explore and learn something new all at once. I have always loved to read, even as a child. I am certain that my love for reading fuelled my love for writing.
As a primary school student, at St Theresa’s Girls’ RC School, the subjects I enjoyed most were Creative Writing, Reading and Poetry. Our teacher, Mrs Rudder, conducted the Poetry and Reading classes in the courtyard as often as possible. There was always something magical about this for me. The natural element seemed to enhance the beauty of these subjects and I looked forward to it every week.
In 2009, I wrote and self-published my first children’s illustrated storybook, The Boys of Sinclair Hill: Fun in the Backyard. My first self-publishing experience was quite challenging but highly rewarding. I later wrote and published two more books, The Boys of Sinclair Hill: The Princess, The Treasure and The Blue Dragon (2011) and Manatee Has A Question (2014) along with a colouring book.
My stories are locally-based, written with local content and illustrated by local illustrators. Children are always better able to relate to a book when they can see themselves or their environment in the story. This also encourages them to better appreciate local literature.
It’s also great when children outside of Trinidad and Tobago can learn something new or interesting about our country from my books. I enjoy reading my books for children and I’ve done quite a few book-readings over the years. I get a chance to see my readers interact with my books. Book-readings also provide me with great feedback, which helps improve my writing.
I meet and speak with students of all ages about writing and publishing books, in an effort to promote reading and to see writing as a career in the future – especially local writing.
My advice to parents is to read to your children from birth and when they are old enough to read independently, let them read to you or enjoy reading together. This helps the development of their literary skills in many ways as well as parent/child bonding. My advice to children is to find books you like and read them as many times as you can because you always find something new in the story. Writing, drawing and colouring can be great fun too!
My books can be purchased at:
- Paper Based (Normandie Hotel, St. Anns)
- Rainy Days (Ellerslie Plaza, Maraval)
- Horizons Art & Framing (Murcurapo Road, St. James)
- Ishmael Khan & Sons (Henry Street, Port of Spain)
June 2016 – Issue 22 www.sweettntmagazine