Launch of “The Snake King of the Kalinago” – a traditional story from Dominica

Cover of the book 'The Snake King of the Kalinago'

Teachers, educationalists and friends of Papillote Press were welcomed to the Professional Centre, the teaching resource centre for Wandsworth Council in south London, on Wednesday February 3 to celebrate the launch of The Snake King of the Kalinago, the new children’s book from Papillote Press, a tiny publishing company specialising in books from Dominica.

The text was written by Year Six children of Atkinson School, Dominica, in the eastern Caribbean. A welcome address was given by Dominican Kathy Casimir MacLean, head of the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service in Wandsworth.

Kathy explained how the book came to be written while Polly Pattullo of Papillote Press showed some slides of the launch in Dominica, held last month at the Old Mill Cultural Centre. Mrs MacLean then read the poem Aximu’s Awakening by Pamela Mordecai.

Agnes Adonis, the acting High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Dominica, also attended the launch and spoke of her pleasure at the publication of the book.

The guest speaker was Julia Eccleshare, co-director of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education and children’s book editor of the Guardian newspaper in London. Ms Eccleshare said that the book was “wonderful, entertaining and original”. She said that myths played a key role in unifying people and giving them a sense of identity; it was important for children to recognise their own identity in books.

Three schools in Wandsworth are now partnered with primary schools in Dominica. Children from two of the Wandsworth schools have already written reviews of the book and illustrated the story; these were on display at the launch. All primary schools in the borough of Wandsworth will receive sets of the book.

The Snake King of the Kalinago will be available in bookshops in the UK and online from February 15 (price £3.99). Orders of 10 or more will be available at a reduced price from the publisher.


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  1. oh ok
    February 16, 2010


  2. Marian Jno-Finn
    February 15, 2010


    Apology accepted and good to know that a book party was held in Dominica- good job – keep it up

    Marian Jno-Finn

  3. February 14, 2010

    The Dominica launch should have been mentioned, of course: my fault. There was indeed a launch in Dominica – on January 9. It was held at the Old Mill Cultural Centre and attended by the children who wrote the text, the head teacher from Atkinson School, Alice Laronde and the class teacher, Micheline Bruno. The children were presented with a copy of the book, a certificate to celebrate their work, pens, pencils etc. The Karina Cultural Group gave a performance re-enacting the story of the Snake King of the Kalinago. The launch was attended by the new Minister of Carib Affairs, Ashton Graneau, who welcomed the book. There were refreshments and opportunities to buy the book – which is on sale in Dominica at EC$20 – and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. But above all it was an opportunity to thank the children and staff of Atkinson School for their terrific job.

  4. Marian Jno-Finn
    February 11, 2010

    I love to know that our books are written by us and for us. So congratulation to all the children who contributed to that book. I love Caribbean literature – i think it is very colourful, vibrant and alive. There is nowhere with such colourful diversity in language like that Caribbean. The english, french, spanish, dutch, papiamentu, mixed with different dialect of each community is so beautiful.

    However – it just occur to me that no mention was made of a book party in the Dominica and particular Atkinson for that book. It is very important that this be done- to celebrate this accomplishment with the children and community.

    I hope this will be done – it is good that London and celebrate but it would be much better that these children so also

    Marian Jno-Finn

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