July 25, 2021

End of Year Review: 2013 Caribbean Children’s and YA Books Continue Self-Publishing Trend

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UntitledBy Summer Edward From Summer Edward.com

Well, it’s December, so as usual, I’m doing my year-end tally of English-language Caribbean children’s  and YA books. Since 2011 (see previous lists here), I’ve been keeping track of the number of English-language Caribbean children’s and YA books published per year. I counted 57 titles overall in 2011 and 40 titles overall in 2012. According to my reckoning, in 2013, 71 titles were published overall (including self-published books). That’s a significant jump; almost twice as many books as in 2012.

To break it down a bit, it looks as if 63% of the English-language Caribbean children’s and YA books released in 2013 were self-published books (compared to 56% in 2011 and 58% in 2012). This is an interesting statistic because it means that self-publishing in this market is steadily on the rise.

Other salient observations:

Board books (“baby books”) for the littlest readers (ages 0 to 3) continue to be severely under-published (Only 3 this year; 1 in 2013, none in 2011).

We saw a very slight spike in YA books (8 YA books in 2013) compared to 1 in 2012 and 5 in 2011, but YA books also continue to be under-published.

Picturebooks make up the lion’s share of the market year after year.

Titles are listed below in no particular order. Click on book titles to view books on Amazon.

Note: BB- Board Book. PB- Picturebook. YA- Young Adult novel. MG- Middle Grade novel.

2013 Caribbean Children’s and YA Books (Traditional Publishing)

Some covers of 2013 books published via traditional publishing

1. Lizzy Lizard by Robin Boasman (PB)2013 caribbean children's and YA books

2. Look Back! by Trish Cooke (PB)

3. Bolo the Monkey by Jonathan Burke (PB)

4. Kafiya Meets the Moon by Janet Campbell (PB)

5. Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph (YA)

6. A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar (YA)

7. The Last Mapou by Edwidge Danticat (PB)

8. Janjak and Freda Go to the Iron Market by Elizabeth Turnbull (PB)

9. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg (YA)

10. Kenya’s Song by Linda Trice (PB)

11. Not a Chance by Michelle Mulder (YA)

12. Elsie by Cybille St. Aude (PB)

13. A is for Ayiti by Ibi Zoboi (PB)

14. Where Is Lola? by Maureen Boyer (PB)

15. I am Riding! by M.J. Fievre (PB)

16. Fabiola Can Count/Fabiola Konn Konte by Katia D. Ulysse (PB)

17. Wild Papa Woods by Patrice Lawrence (MG)

18. In Darkness by Nick Lake (YA)

19. The Moko Jumbi Majorette by Alscess Lewis-Brown (MG)

20. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle (YA)

21. Can’t Scare Me! by Ashley Bryan (PB)

22. I Am Dominica/ Mwen se Donmnik by Mara Etienne-Manley (PB)

23. Hope is Here! by Cristina Kessler (PB)

24. Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth (PB)

25. Rastamouse and Da Micespace Mystery by Michael de Souza (PB)

26. Goobee Da Loon: A Caribbean Lullaby by Seth Bernanke (BB)

2013 Caribbean Children’s and YA Books (Self-Published)

Covers of some 2013 self-published titles

1. Too Tall Foyle Finds His Game by Adonal Foyle (PB)

2. Christine’s Odyssey by J.L. Campbell (MG)

3. Caye Boy – Barefoot Adventures of an Island Child by Jessica Retseck Wigh (PB)

4. I Love You Too by Ziggy Marley (PB)

5. Myiah’s Rainbow Dress by Tammarra Forbes (PB)2013 Caribbean Children's  YA Books Self-Published

6. Fun, Fun, One Crab on the Run by Mario Picayo (BB)

7. Cassi da Conch by Laurel Handfield (BB)

8. Anancy’s Family Reunion by Eva Greene Wilson (PB)

9. A Day in the Life of Axel the Ant by Gregory Skeete (PB)

10. Essie’s Children of the Island by Luke Brown (MG)

11. My Caribbean Day by Mildred Chalmers (PB)

12. The Ocelot and The Peccary (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

13. How Bat Became Blind (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

14. How Tortoise Got A Cracked Shell (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

15. How Scarlet Ibis Got His Color (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

16. Monkey and Ocelot (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

17. How Opossum Lost the Hair on Her Tail (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

18. Why Iguana Lives in Trees (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

19. How Snake and Mongoose Became Enemies (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

20. How Crab Got The Crack on His Back (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

21. Why The Howler Monkey Howls (Uncle Chicky’s Forest Fables) by Ronald Johnston (PB)

22. Jack Mandora by Roy Comrie (MG)

23. Rollie-Rollie. Scary Grand Entry by Luke Brown (YA)

24. Please, Tell Me Where It Hurts by Joanne Gail Johnson (PB)

25. The Mermaid Escapade by Suzanne Francis-Brown (MG)

26. John Woodley, Orphan by Ron Maggard (PB)

27. Ghost Stories My Papa Told Me by Annette Fisher (MG)

28. Animal Adventures: Goosey and Beauty Take a Mystery Magic Carpet Ride to Jamaica by Tessa Judith Isbell (PB)

29. My Name is Noel by Jacqueline C. Grant (MG)

30. A Water Cycle Story (The Adventures of Manti and Andy) by Gregory Thompson (PB)

31. A Photosynthesis Story (The Adventures of Manti and Andy) by Gregory Thompson (PB)

32. A Food Chain Story (The Adventures of Manti and Andy) by Gregory Thompson (PB)

33. The Festival of Pollination (The Adventures of Manti & Andy) by Gregory Thompson (PB)

34. Andy Discovers Christmas (The Adventures of Manti and Andy) by Gregory Thompson (PB)

35. Fury on Soufriere Hills by Carol Mitchell (MG)

36. Martina Finds a Shiny Coin by Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor (PB)

37. Island Days by Nerissa Golden (PB)

38. Escape to Macaya by Dr Hall F Duncan (YA)

39. Island Girl by Victoria Benjamin (PB)

40. My Caribbean Day by Mildred Chalmers (PB)

41. Grison the Grumpy, Grouchy Island Goat by Carol Schafer (PB)

42. A Scary Island-Style Story by Berthalicia Brown (MG)

43. Pirate Witches of the Caribbean by Emmeline Costa-Wagner (MG)

44. Caribbean Bedtime Stories by James Miller (MG)

45. Dead Chest Island by J. J. Parsons (MG)

I plan to do a more detailed analysis soon. I want to examine some other factors, particularly publisher location, author location, and gender of protagonists. I wish I had sales figures for all of these books. I also wish I had similar statistics for the French- and Spanish-speaking islands.

Right now, the numbers tell us the bottom line: More needs to be done to grow the Caribbean children’s and YA book market. I’ve been informed of some new ventures that are currently underway to do just that, like the new Bamboo Shoots children’s book imprint in Trinidad and the Caribbean Children’s Book Project. I also blogged last month about a promising Commonwealth Education Fund project currently in the planning stages.

Meanwhile, I’m already looking forward to some upcoming 2014 releases that look interesting

1. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

2. Izzy and the Hurricane by Lisette Lime Hermon

3. Sand, Sea and Poetry by Ashley-Ruth Moolenaar Bernier

4. Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior

Summer Edward is a Children’s Literature and Publishing Consultant. She holds an M.S.Ed. degree in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and is the recipient of a Highlights Foundation Scholarship for promising children’s writers.

This is her message of welcome on her website:banner3

“I write children’s stories and poems inspired by memories of my childhood in the Caribbean island of Trinidad. I am also a Philadelphia-based Caribbean/Caribbean diaspora children’s literature specialist and I review children’s books. Latest projects include editing three children’s books for bilingual indie publisher, Campanita Books and a monthly Publishing Perspectives interview series.”

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  1. Greetings:
    It is a wonderful surprise to see Martina Finds a Shiny Coin listed on your list of Caribbean books! Thank you! There is another title being released summer of 2014 with the same characters. Martina and the Wondrous Waterfall.

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