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Fun, creative learning with Do Good Jamaica

Published:Monday | March 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

On Saturday, the Emancipation Park in St Andrew was flooded with kids and adults alike, as they eagerly participated in some fun learning activities.

It was the newest vision of Do Good Jamaica in partnership with the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ). However, while for Do Good Jamaica it is a good idea to get the various foundations to show their good will, for BIAJ it was also an ideal way to end their week-long Kingston Book Festival.

This collaboration resulted in the park being transformed into a sea of tents and waving winged banners. Each of the banners boasted names of sponsors of the combined festival. Each of the tents either proudly displayed books written by Jamaicans or served as the holding areas for the conduits of creative children activities.

As such, the colourful fun-filled day was marked by parade of fun-learning. These included the assembling of objects, as projected on laptops, colouring drawings in newspapers and books, playing in dough and shaving cream. Of course these were balanced by listening to books being read by a wide spectrum of readers.

Main interest

But it was clear from the large following that of main interest were the Disney characters Elmo and Zoe, compliments of Sandal Foundation and Beaches Hotel. Crowding the main stage the children listened attentively to Elmo's stories being read to them.

But the best reading, to children, came from Jana Bent. In her booth and later on the main stage, she had children and adults alike, singing and clapping their hands to songs in her stories and sang by Shaggy on CDs.

And for Deika Morrison, founder of Do Good Jamaica, that was sweet music to the ears. Earlier she had shared her delight with The Gleaner, at seeing the children having a good time. And that she is "all for showing that learning is fun."

But the children were not the only ones to be entertained. The main stage also hosted readers of different spectrums. They entertained the adults by reading books of varied topics and themes.

Among the readers were members of the Jamaica Association of Dramatic Artistes (JADA): Dorothy Cunningham, Clive Duncan and Rodney Campbell who read extracts from Trevor Rhone's Two Can Play, and Dahlia Harris who also read an extract from another of Rhone's works, Old Story Time. JADA's stint ended with Campbell reading an extract from the book, The Harder They Come.

Subsequent readers included Damion Crawford, junior minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Sheldon Shepherd, Michael Holgate and Kevin O'Brien Chang who read an extract from his book titled in part, Jamaica Fi Real.

And as the day came to a close with Amena Blackwood-Meeks concluding her last of three entertaining stories, an 'Anancy story without Anancy', the book sellers, publishers and others began the task of dismantling their neatly arranged displays.

Few concerns

But for Morrison there were some concerns. She explained, "I was a little concerned about the rain, and definitely surprised about the crowd ... but one of the things that pleasantly surprised me is the number of persons who have volunteered. They either want to colour with the kids or just help them; it is just remarkable." She added.

On the other hand BIAJ representative Kellie Magnus was excited to see that so many Jamaicans came out to see the works of "our publishers and retailers."

However, whereby Morrison would like for the event to be an annual one, Magnus is giving it some thought "until next week."