A partnership between Saint Lucia Books, a new entity established book shop and Alliance Française has given impetus to ongoing efforts to promote reading in Saint Lucia, especially among children.
Throughout the month of May, which is observed as reading month in Saint Lucia, a robust program put on through a joint effort by the two entities has added substantial value and heightened the profile of reading month.
Reading is a way to open the mind, develop the imagination and creativity of children and inspire the dreams and ambitions of readers.
The Alliance Française/ Saint Lucia Books calendar for the month launched with Martha Blanchard, author of The Plum Tree, reading a chapter from her book to Form 1 and 2 Alliance Française students, followed by animated debate on the story and its parallels to everyday life and their own experience.
This was followed by visits to several schools by teams from Alliance Française and Authors carries by Saint Lucia Books to read stories to children.
The featured writers were Petra Auguste (Chief Tree), June Frederick (Piti Kon Nou Piti), Jacintha Annius Lee (Compere Lapin Tales) and A.D. L. French (The Peanut Series).
In addition to school visits, classes were also hosted at Alliance Française for the same purpose.
With Alliance Française having recently offered a home to the previously mobile bookshop, a major highlight of the month was the official opening of Saint Lucia Books bookstore and its coffee shop Café Littéraire on May 20th.
The coffee shop experience has the aim of attracting general patronage, which can lead to exploration of the bookshop, browsing and ultimately, books sales for the featured Saint Lucian authors.
Attending the formal launch was H.E Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of Saint Lucia and Patron of the Nobel Laureate Festival, and H.E Mr. Philippe Ardanaz, French Ambassador to the OECS and Barbados in Saint Lucia.
The Rusting Gate, the very first collection of poems by Hon. Charles Cadet, at 92 years old, was also spotlighted. A visual display featuring book reviews written in French, by students of Alliance Française, was another interesting feature of the launch.
According to Sabrina Lipoff, Deputy Director of Alliance Française, while it has been a successful Reading Month these activities must not be limited to one month.
“It is an effort that we have to make throughout the year. We hope the relationship we are now creating with the teachers will help motivate the students to read more. And with the new partnership we have with Saint Lucia books, I am absolutely confident we will have a positive impact”. She concluded.