This issue explores a diversity of childhood experiences, the stories we tell about them, and the ways in which such experiences and stories might resonate with Caribbean children today. The Caribbean childhoods that we lived are no longer present for the vast majority of children in the region. Regardless of class, gender and location, Caribbean children today are more a part of the global landscape than children of our generations – meaning even the poorest among the poor are more intimately familiar with Global North life-styles than they are with Caribbean ways of life.
Our stories, like those of many Caribbean children, contain both traumas and triumphs. Alongside those children who are loved and protected, many are victims and survivors of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as physical and sexual
abuse, poverty, violence, homophobia and classism.
We want to see more children’s/young adult books that address these challenging topics, as well as books about our culture and mythology, our love and ingenuity, and adventure and time travel stories set in our islands. The importance of our children seeing themselves in books is a recurring theme in this issue.
Other major themes include the region’s need for more local qualified book reviewers and trained
illustrators, as well as the importance of developing an online directory where information on the works and services of Caribbean children’s/young adult writers and illustrators is easily accessible. Despite these challenges, the landscape of Caribbean children’s/young adult literature has experienced notable growth in the last few years. It has benefited from the vision of independent presses such as CaribbeanReads, Papillote Press, and Blue Banyan Books; from the pioneering curatorial work of Anansesem Magazine; as well as from the creation of several national and regional prizes for young adult literature.
t is quite fitting that this volume, which aims to highlight the work of children’s/young adult
writers and publishers, is the first of many volumes that will be published by the University of the
West Indies Press. The recent acquisition of IC by UWI Press will put the journal at the centre of the
region’s literary sphere and provide contributors with a broad platform from which to engage in
exchanges and conversations across the Caribbean.
We applaud our contributors for opening the door, and we encourage others to keep the door
open and to flood the market with diverse stories for Caribbean children.