BOOKS: Canada-based Guyanese children’s book now available in Guyana

Yolanda Marshall
Yolanda Marshall

The children’s book My Soca Birthday Party by Canada-based Guyanese Yolanda Marshall is available for sale at Jars Zero Waste Store and one will be donated to the National Library.

My Soca Birthday Party, which was published last year, by prominent children book publishers, Chalkboard, was among 16 children’s books that were deemed Best Canadian Picture Books of 2020.

The book is a blend of African and Caribbean culture and its heroine Anne, celebrates her birthday party with Soca music played on steel pans and West Africa’s jollof rice.       

Yolanda shared that she has been doing readings of her books for schools and has done more than 100 so far. Canadian schools, she said, pay authors to read their books for students. Prior to the pandemic, the audiences of children were smaller as they met in physical classrooms. But since school has gone virtual, the readings are done via Zoom and the number of children who can hear the story in one session is large. On Tuesday, Yolanda read for about 500 children during one session and 400 on Wednesday. She exclaimed that even parents sat in to listen.

Many of them, following the reading, would go to their local libraries to borrow the book and as such teachers are requesting more of her books as there are not enough for all the interested children. The teachers, the author said, are really supportive and it is through one of them that she was able to have Chalkboard publish My Soca Birthday Party. The publishing company is also on board to publish C is for Carnival, her next release, a rhyming alphabet book where ‘D is for Dance’, and ‘E is for Emancipation’. This educational book features children in vibrant costumes dancing to Soca and Calypso music.

Marshall shared how happy she is to be able to share with people of Canada about Guyana and the other Caribbean countries.

Her other children’s books are: Keman’s First Carnival, A Piece of Black Cake for Santa, Sweet Sorrel Stand, and Miles Away in the Caribbean. She shared that Chalkboard Publishing has also requested that she write two other books for them this year, one of which will be about Christmas. The books cater for kindergarten children.

Yolanda’s first foray into writing was poetry. Her first poetry book is Obayifo and she also has another book of poems, Messages on Dried Leaves. Asked whether she is still writing poems, she said she has shifted to children’s books.

She has revealed that she has signed with a huge publishing company to write a book that targets children from grades 1 to 6. She is the first Caribbean author to work with this publishing company.

Yolanda also virtually participated in the Caribbean book fair-BOCAS lit fest- this year representing Guyana and Canada.

All of her books are also available in ebooks format on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, and Kindle.

Jars Zero Waste Store is located at 46 Garnett Street, Georgetown and can be contacted at 647-5333.

For more information on her books persons can visit her website www.YTMarshall.com

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