Oct. 13, 2003 – Most any Virgin Islands youngster can tell you some Anansi stories — Caribbean fables derived from African folklore about a smart and sneaky spider who is good at outwitting others.
Now, organizers of a children's literature conference to be held at the University of the Virgin Islands on Nov. 9 are inviting young people to try their hand at writing some stories about Anansi's wife — whose name is Aso, but about whom, otherwise, little is known.
"Who Is Anansi's Wife?" is the question being put to youngsters in grades 1 through 3 in the St. Thomas-St. John district.
The winners — first, second and third place for each grade level — will be announced at the 2nd annual V.I. Kids Count Children's Literature and Literacy Conference, to be held at the Sports and Fitness Center on the UVI St. Thomas campus.
According to a UVI release, "The story must focus on Anansi's wife, who she really is and what she is like. Each entry must be neatly handwritten by the student author and must have a title. Parental assistance or teacher involvement is encouraged; however, the ideas, language and content of the story must be the child's." Entries will be judges on content, originality and creativity.
V.I. Kids Count is an initiative of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, which since 2000 has issued annual statistical reports on the economic and social status of the territory's children. The literature and learning conference was begun last year to promote literacy and love of reading among young people.
"In addition to sharing good children's literature and learning more about childhood literacy, the conference's major goals are to foster networking among the stakeholders in the education of children in the Virgin Islands and to continue the conference annually," the release stated. "Becoming a good writer is one of the most important and basic of skills that children must master to be good students and life-long learners."
Each child may submit only one entry. It should include the pupil's name, grade and teacher; and the telephone number, postal address and e-mail address, if available, of an adult contact for the child. Each participant will receive a certificate.
Parents and school administrators may submit entries. They should be sent to: Dr. Patricia Harkins-Pierre, 2nd annual V.I. Kids Count Children's Literature and Literacy Conference, PMB 15, Ste. 310, 168 Crown Bay, St. Thomas VI 00802. Entries must be received by October 30.
For more information, send an e-mail query to Harkins-Pierre or call her at 693-1357.
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