Creole Storybooks for Kids!
Give Haitian children Creole books to read!
by Mandy (Amanda) Thody
Mandy published 2 children's books in Haitian Creole!
Remember the story of the The Little Red Hen? We put copies in as many schools as possible, free, in Haiti! You can buy a copy for your family (or your local library which may serve some French Creole speakers too), or to donate directly. The (frameable) artwork is available as rewards for the project at less than gallery prices! The book may also be useful in other Caribbean countries such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Martin, St Barts, St Lucia, and Dominica which have very similar French Creole languages. Even if you don't speak Creole, enjoy the illustrations, and the story is retold in English (and French in the 2nd book) at the back.
"An artist for over 20 years, I've worked in Haiti in relief and education for 7 years. I live in the Caribbean and speak English, French and now some Haitian Creole - so I have seen firsthand at schools in Haiti how frustrating it is for the teachers, and for children to learn to read, in a language that almost nothing is published in. Most people in Haiti have never seen a book apart from school textbooks, the Bible, or a hymn book. Once they can read, most Haitian children never develop the habit or the enjoyment of reading and this really hampers their education, even when older and learning French or other languages. They have no books at home and many parents can't read. Only 60% of the children even go to school, and many of those don't finish primary grades..."
Working for a charity (Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti), with 2 schools and contacts with many others, we're trying to establish libraries - and we've collected and shipped many children's books in English, and some in French and Spanish - but we find nothing in Creole which is the younger children's ONLY language...
Now that internet publishing is so reasonable, Haitian friends helped translate some simple stories we think will resonate in Haiti, and we've been telling them aloud there. A Kickstarter in 2016 gave us 800+ hundred copies for Haiti, and made development of the next story in the series possible too!
Risks and challenges
Shipping is always difficult but luckily in the USVI we have US Mail flatrate envelopes! Shipping copies to Haiti is accomplished in the personal luggage of volunteers to projects in Haiti, and on board visiting yachts. All donations to this project go to reprinting the books in orders of 200-500 copies! The third book should come out this year!