In the late 1970s to early 1980s there was an effort in the Caribbean to publish adventure novels based on actual events in Caribbean history targeting the 11 – 14 age group.
By the 1990s this effort had petered out and books such as ‘The Young Warriors’ and ‘Sixty-five’ both written by V.S. Reid had disappeared from the shelves of bookstores in the Caribbean because, as the booksellers explained, they used to carry the books but eventually stopped because nobody would buy them.
We in the Caribbean need to understand and appreciate the importance of introducing our children to their history so that they can grow up with an awareness of our heroic ancestors, and adventure novels based on actual events and the lives of real people are an excellent way to do this.
The irony is that in Caribbean history, there is a superabundance of individuals and events that provide suitable material for adventure novels.
Be it the valiant struggles of the Tainos and Kalinago to retain possession of and to survive on the lands of their ancestors, the determined efforts of the maroons to maintain their hard-won freedom or the courageous uprisings of the enslaved Africans seeking to end their servitude.
Children in the developed world grow up on stories of their heroic ancestors and this shapes their perception of who they are.
We owe it to the children of the Caribbean to also shape their self – perception by introducing them to the heroism of their ancestors.
Unfortunately, ‘The Young Warriors’ and ‘Sixty-Five’ are no longer in print and only a few copies are available from sellers of out-of-print books at exorbitant prices.
Caribbean parents could and should make a concerted effort to have these books reprinted by requesting them from bookstores which would in turn pass this information to the publishers (Hodder Education) or alternatively, parents can contact the publishers directly thereby creating a demand for the books.
This approach is entirely feasible, because publishers republish out of print books with high demand all the time.
In this situation, the publisher could ask potential buyers to pre-order the books to reduce their risk or alternatively, given today’s technology, the publishers can sell these books as e-books.
In future, parents should support writers of novels of the genre of ‘Young Warriors’ and ‘Sixty-Five’ by purchasing them if and when they are ever published again.
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