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HomeNewsArchivesChildren's Author to Speak at V.I. Council on the Arts Gallery

Children's Author to Speak at V.I. Council on the Arts Gallery

May 19, 2008 – Mario Picayo, photographer and cultural activist turned author, will visit his old home turf, St. Thomas, this week to talk about his illustrated children's book, "A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z)." The illustrations were done by Earleen Griswold. The talk and book presentation, followed by a reception, will be held at 6 p.m., on Thursday, May 22, at the V.I. Council on the Arts Gallery. The event is part of the Active Voices of Authors Series, featuring artists and writers whose works promote cultural awareness. There will also be a book-signing event between noon and 2 p.m., on Saturday, May 24, at Dockside Bookshop in Havensight.
Born in Cuba, Picayo called St. Thomas home for almost 20 years, until he moved to New York. He is known in the territory for his work as a photographer and video artist with a strong socio-cultural component.
His children's book is more than a typical ABC; it is a guide to the islands, one letter at a time. In its 64 pages the reader can explore the history, culture, fauna, flora and geography of the Caribbean. With colorful, richly detailed illustrations and the simplicity of language required to engage small children, it introduces words and concepts ripe for discussion. The letter "S" alone includes animal extinction (Caribbean seals), sailing, sugarcane, and slavery ("one of the saddest of words," as the text reads). Little known facts are inserted in almost every page, and simple questions make the reading interactive. Do you know the difference between a tortoise and a turtle (letter "T"), a house and a home (letter "H"), from which island is the Caribbean's only astronaut? (letter "R"). There is also pleasure to be found in searching the illustrations for words that begin with the page's letter: bananaquit and bougainvillea are two examples from the letter "B" and St. Thomas' own unmistakable Fort Christian serves as background for the letter "F."
The Office of Cultural Education presents the Active Voices of Authors Series with collaboration from the V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute, the V.I. Council on the Arts, and the V.I. Humanities Council.
For more information, write to Alicia Castaneda at info@editorialcampana.com or call (845) 247-0546.
"Mario Picayo's A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children's books."
–Glenn "Kwabena" Davis, Director of Cultural Edutcation, Virgin Islands Department of Education
"From a Caribbean perspective, this book is relevant to both children living in the Caribbean and also those children living outside the region. A Caribbean Journey is a must have in every library and great learning tool in which a person of any age could pick up and learn a thing or two."
–Myron Jackson, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute
"What makes this book so great is that it's both factual and fun … a great book to have for all children learning geography or simply fun facts about the Caribbean Islands."
–Kathy Schlesinger, Assistant Manager, Dockside Bookshop, Virgin Islands

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