August 28, 2018

Book Review: A Caribbean Plant Kingdom in Ti Koko and Kush Kush

House of Nehesi Press

By N.C. Marks

There is a place where the land curves into the wide smile of a bay. A place where lush, green, tropical vegetation thrives next to a white sand beach, which is gently licked by blue waves of the sea. In this paradise of a seascape unfolds the story of Ti Koko and Kush Kush by Patricia G. Turnbull.

In this storybook the vibe is peace, love, and harmony in the friendly ecosystem of yam, coconut, mango, avocado, “tea bush,” and “Peas and peppers … well behaved,” just to name a few of the plants in “Garden Bay.”

Then suddenly, “Brogudoosh! Brogudoosh!”, an unexpected disaster disrupts the equilibrium of the happy, magical bayside community.

In this elegantly written poem/story, the reader is immersed into a Caribbean plant kingdom. The Tortola, VI author makes clever use of personification to provide precious lessons about friendship, change, and resilience. 

Flavored with ancestral wisdom and folklore, Ti Koko and Kush Kush would certainly stimulate questions about Caribbean history and traditions for children ages 4 to 9 in the region and from around the world.
House of Nehesi Press

The book’s colorful illustrations also promise to appeal to the young readers’ attention and serve to further strengthen the cognitive processing of their surroundings.

For her fellow educators, Turnbull’s title provides an early base of a strong foundation for environmental awareness and appreciation, while generating concern about the protection of resources.

Furthermore, while reading this new book at home, or in early stimulation settings, the young and young at heart may be tempted to sing or speak in the voices of Ti Koko the little coconut and Kush Kush the wise yam; and to dramatize the story.

Ti Koko and Kush Kush is the third richly designed children’s book by authors from different Caribbean islands published by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) in St. Martin.

About the Reviewer:
 N.C. Marks is a writer and geography teacher from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Caption1: Ti Koko and Kush, colorfully illustrated storybook by Patricia G. Turnbull.

Caption2: Caribbean bayside artwork by Reuben Vanterpool in the storybook Ti Koko and Kush by Patricia G. Turnbull. (Credit HNP photo)

Ti Koko and Kush Kush
by Patricia G. Turnbull
House of Nehesi Publishers, 2018
Hardcover, storybook, illustrated.
ISBN 9780997489545

Where to buy: Ti Koko and Kush is available at and bookstores in Tortola, St. Martin, and St. Lucia.

August 27, 2018

New Book: Marcus Garvey by Rupert Lewis

Rupert Lewis

This biography of Marcus Garvey documents the forging of his remarkable vision of pan-Africanism and highlights his organizational skills in framing a response to the radical global popular upsurge following the First World War (1914–1918).

Central to Garvey’s response was the development of organizations under the umbrella of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, which garnered the transnational support of several million members and sympathizers and challenged white supremacist practices and ideas.

Garvey established the ideological pillars of twentieth-century pan-Africanism in promoting self-determination and self-reliance for Africa’s independence. Although Garvey travelled widely and lived abroad in New York and London, he spent his early years in Jamaica. Rupert Lewis traces how Garvey’s Jamaican formation shaped his life and thought and how he combated the British colonial authorities as well as fought deep-rooted self-doubt and self-rejection among Jamaican black people. Garvey’s much neglected political and cultural work at the local level is discussed as part of his project to stimulate self-determination in Africa and its diaspora.

Rupert Lewis is Professor Emeritus of Political Thought, the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. For fifty years he has been a public educator on Marcus Garvey and the Garvey movement. He is the author of Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion and Walter Rodney’s Intellectual and Political Thought, and co-editor (with Patrick Bryan) of Garvey: His Work and Impact and (with Maureen Warner-Lewis) of Garvey: Africa, Europe, the Americas. Professor Lewis has served as member of the Council of the Institute of Jamaica and as Chairman of the African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica and Jamaica Memory Bank. He is also Chairman of the “Friends of Liberty Hall – The Legacy of Marcus Garvey,” comprising a multimedia museum, library, an outreach project in downtown Kingston and a journal 76 King St. He is a member of the Jamaica Reparations Commission appointed by the Government of Jamaica which began work in May 2009. Follow him on Twitter @gbgandad

Where to buy:  University of the West Indies Press

This may also be of interest: Keisha N. Blain Interviews Rupert Lewis: Black Perspectives

August 17, 2018

Happy Birthday, Marcus Garvey!

Geoffrey Philp

Here's a reprint of an article I wrote three years ago for Jamaicans. com. How the time flies! The novel that I was working on, Garvey's Ghost, has now been published and the collection of poems, "Letter from Marcus Garvey," is under consideration with a publisher.

I'm now working on a children's book, "My Name is Marcus Garvey," which I hope will be completed before Garvey's next birthday. Light a candle for me.

One Heart

August 6, 2018

Miss Lou: An Appreciation

Christine Craig
By Christine Craig

In 1945, a young woman from Jamaica, Louise Bennett, was the first black student to attend the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. She was not interested in becoming the next great Shakespearean actress, preferring to work with Jamaican folk themes told in Jamaican Patois. After graduating RADA, she toured with various repertory companies and hosted two radio programmes with the BBC - Caribbean Carnival 1945-1946 and West Indian Night – 1950. It takes some nerve to go to the land of the colonial "Mother Country," as it was then, choose your own language over theirs and celebrate it on the very bastion of British culture – the BBC.  That was Louise Bennett.

The importance of the colonizing language as a tool in the process of colonialism has been well-documented. With the language comes the culture and the prejudices of class, race, gender roles and status. The flip side of the dominance of the colonizing language is the belittling of the local language and culture. A key first step towards gaining our independence was therefore claiming our own language and with it, claiming and asserting our own culture. To accomplish this, we were well schooled by a formidable expert, a woman who knew and reveled in our language and our culture. Louise Bennett, affectionately called "Miss Lou," was a prolific writer and an engaging performer. Her poems were full of well-observed characters that we recognized and could both laugh at and empathize with.  She recorded several CD’s and was widely published and anthologized. A currently available collection of her poems is  Jamaica Labrish. It was first published by Sangster's Book Stores in 1966 and had several reprints, most recently in 2005.

 With her stage partner, the inimitable Ranny Williams, Miss Lou turned the British Christmas pantomime, into a Jamaican theatre event that was widely popular and was a catalyst in the growth of Jamaican theatre, encouraging as it did the talents of actors, writers, designers and musicians.

Miss Lou was an influence with every age group. She taught folklore and drama at the University of the West Indies at Mona from 1955-1959. She believed strongly that children should learn about their heritage and she hosted a lively children’s television show Ring Ding from 1970-1982.  She also travelled widely, performing and lecturing on Jamaican culture.

Her life partner was Eric Coverley who she married in 1954. She had one stepson, Fabian Coverley, and several adopted children. Miss Lou and Eric ‘Chalk Talk’ Coverley shared a love of theatre and folk arts and were together until he died in Toronto in 2002. Miss Lou was truly a beloved, national treasure. She received many awards for her work in researching and sharing Jamaican folk lore - storytelling, music and dance.

•    Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1960)
•    Norman Manley Award for Excellence (1972)
•    Order of Jamaica (1974)
•    Musgrave Medal (1978)
•    Honorary Doctor of Letters – York University (1998)
•    Jamaican Order of Merit (2001)

THE LOUISE BENNETT-COVERLEY HERITAGE COUNCIL (FLA) INC.  is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2007 to carry on the work of Miss Lou through ‘edutainment’ - education through entertainment. The Council highlights Miss Lou’s legacy, passing on Jamaica’s unique, rich cultural heritage, sponsoring panel discussions, workshops and concerts, showcasing all facets of Jamaican culture. The Council also provides scholarships to help the next generation develop their cultural psyche while contributing to their tertiary education.

The Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley Memorial Scholarship is awarded to deserving students of the Performing or Language Arts, to ensure that her legacy will be continued through future generations. Scholarships are awarded primarily to full-time students at the Edna Manley College of the Arts in Jamaica and to students at Broward College in S. Florida.

To donate – make checks payable to: Louise Bennett-Coverley (LB-C) Heritage Council and mail to LB-C Heritage Council, 5735 Pembroke Rd, Hollywood, FL 33023.

Christine Craig was born in Jamaica and is a graduate of the University of the West Indies. Her short stories and poems have been published in British, American and Caribbean journals. Described as “One of the Caribbean’s most original and innovative poets” - her poetry collection All Things Bright…and Quadrille for Tigers was published by Peepal Tree Press, UK. Her short story collection Mint Tea and other Stories, and children’s fiction Bird Gang, were published by Heinemann Caribbean.

Miss Lou: Courtesy of

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