On Thursday, 19 May 2016, the colouring storybook, “The Grenada Chocolate Family” was launched at the Grenada National Museum as part of the 3rd Annual Grenada Chocolate Fest. Children who attend a free Creative Writing program at the Grenada Community Library contributed to a narrative of the story which was then edited by Caribbean author Oonya Kempadoo and local author and playwright Richardo Keens–Douglas.
Follow the story of a proud cocoa tree on Mount Qua Qua, called Mama Le Sedi, and her cocoa bean babies who journey into the world to make everyone happy. What is most remarkable about this publication is that it is an authentic educational Grenadian story about the processing of cocoa beans before they are made into chocolate and cocoa products. The book references places that are familiar to many Grenadians, like Hermitage and Belmont Estate in St. Patrick and characters like Edmund Browne, co-founder and chocolatier at The Grenada Chocolate Company.. The theme of pride in our local cocoa beans, a sense of local traditions and practices around cocoa and its potential to bring a family and the community together are woven into this educational yet fun publication.
“The Grenada Chocolate Family” is an interactive book crafted for read-aloud and sing-along activities for school and children’s groups. Illustrations in the form of a colouring book were done by artist Sara Scodeller, who is a volunteer with the library and was inspired by the children’s drawings for the story. She consulted with local artist and illustrator, Stacey Byer, to further enhance the experience of the book for it’s readers.
The book was published in April 2016 and over 1,000 copies were printed, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Jürgen Rausch Kakao Stiftung. Half of all books printed will be distributed free of charge to children and primary school students with educational chocolate tours at the newly opened House of Chocolate and at the library, while the other half are for sale. All profits made from the sale of the book go back to the Grenada Community Library. The book is available locally at Belmont Estate in St Patrick, the True Bluetique at True Blue Bay Resort, and House of Chocolate on Young Street, St George, and local bookshops.
The Grenada Community Library, formerly known as the Mt Zion Library, which has a children’s and general collection, was opened 3 years ago in the heart of St George’s in the Arnold John Building. Since opening, the library has attracted over 1,500 members who utilise the library’s services free of charge. The library offers a number of creativity, literacy and numeracy centred activities for both adults and children.
Since it offers all of its services to the community for free, as any public library does, but it is not subsidized by government, the library depends on the generosity of sponsors and volunteers to continue its efforts. Unfortunately, funding has not been forthcoming in recent times and Grenada’s only public library is now under threat of closing because it struggles to meet its basic and necessary every day expenses. By purchasing a copy of “The Grenada Chocolate Family” you are not only buying a brilliant home-grown publication, you are supporting the empowerment of the Grenadian population through literacy and creativity.