Cultural integration promoted in new kids' book
Children's book author Jean-Marie Hawthorn-DaCosta has dedicated her time and creative talent to producing authentic Jamaican children's publicationss. Her books depict the Jamaican culture and places her characters in thrilling adventures.
In her latest effort, My Toilet is Bigger Than Yours, DaCosta tells the story of Rosie, a young Jamaican girl travelling to China for the first time with her mother. Initially, Rosie experiences culture shock, but soon learns to embrace and fully accept the culture. With the help of a new friend, Jia, she explores the country, visiting historic sites, landmarks, tourist attractions, and trying new foods.
"This book is based on a real experience I had while visiting a friend in China," said Hawthorn-DaCosta, who is a trained educator with more than 10 years experience as an English teacher.
"I love reading, and participated in a lot of children's camps and book clubs," she said.
The author bemoaned the competition between books and digital devices which have become an addiction for so many young children.
"We have to compete with the tablet, Netflix, YouTube, and the TV. Children learn what they live. If they see you reading, they will want to read as well," she explained. As a mother of two, Hawthorn-DaCosta has searched high and low for Jamaican children's books that were interesting enough for her seven-year-old daughter and four year old son to read.
"None of the bookstores had Jamaican children's books for ages three to six, and the parish library which I frequented as a child is not at the same standard that it was back in my day," said Hawthorn-DaCosta who is also from Mandeville.
She admits that publishing Jamaican children's books is far from cheap.
"This has been an expensive project and I am grateful to have my husband to support me," she said. With the help of Jamaican illustrator Pete McDaniel, Hawthorn-DaCosta is able to bring her travel experience to life through Jamaican characters, which children should be able to relate to.
My Toilet Is Bigger Than Yours is a fun way to teach your child about friendship (for example, old bonds between the parents and making new friends), food (zhou), language (Ni Hao), cultural similarities and differences, transportation (for example, cars, planes, cable cars), and cultural sites and attractions (for example, The Great Wall of China, Blue Mountain) to visit when travelling to either China or Jamaica.
The book is available at Kozy Korner Books N More and Bookophilia.
Visit Instagram @wordyfriend to learn more about author Jean Hawthorn-DaCosta.