US Virgin Islands Summer Reading Challenge 2013

It was another successful weekend on June 22 and 23, as the U.S. Virgin Islands celebrated the kickoff to their fifth annual Summer Reading Challenge. The program was created by Governor John P. de Jongh Jr. to encourage children grades kindergarten through eighth grade to read at least five books during their summer vacation. In order to further promote reading, featured titles are selected and given to all school grade children. The books are Special Editions and are printed with a letter from Governor de Jongh himself. This year, these featured titles were Little Bell Caribbean’s Fun, Fun, One Crab on the Run; Sand, Sea and Poetry; Kallaloo!; Izzy and the Hurricane and The Shark and the Parrotfish and Other Caribbean Fables. The commercial editions of each title will be available this Fall.
In addition to encouraging children to read, these six featured titles followed another very special tradition: they were all written (and sometimes illustrated) by local talent. Fun, Fun One Crab on the Run and The Shark and the Parrotfish and Other Caribbean Fables even featured the amazing work of fellow Caribbean artists Stacey Byer (Grenada) and Cherise Ward (Barbados). This philosophy was adopted by author and publisher Mario Picayo in the creation of the Caribbean Children’s Book Project, which, inspired by the U.S. Virgin Islands’ literacy initiatives, seeks to create a pan-Caribbean children’s book movement that promotes the creation and distribution of children’s books written by Caribbean authors. To learn more about this project, click here.
A big thank you to all of this year’s authors who made a special appearance at each event to sign books and meet with children and parents.
The events were held on St. Thomas and St. Croix on June 22 and St. John on June 23, 2013.
Click on the links below to read more about each event.

Mario Picayo