What do you know about the Caribbean? Do you know of any authors from the region? Or with roots there?
Maybe, maybe not.
Sometimes it seems like authors from other regions of the world get more recognition. For example, you might be able to name a handful of British authors without thinking about it too much. I’m not trying to downplay or doubt anyone’s achievements, but writers with ties to the Caribbean deserve to get their flowers too.
This is just the beginning – an introduction, if you will – for readers that aren’t acquainted with these five Caribbean children’s book authors.
Julia Alvarez has written children’s books, nonfiction books, and collections of poems. Many of her books explore immigration, culture, and center female characters. She is Dominican American.
Alvarez also writes books for adults, which include: Afterlife, Más Allá; In the Time of Butterflies, En el Tiempo de las Mariposas; and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, De como las muchachas García perdieron el acento.
She has won many prizes during her career, and in 2013, President Obama awarded her a National Medal of Arts.
A native of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, Tere Marichal-Lugo wears many hats. She’s a storyteller (contadora de cuentos), author, actress, and illustrator.
Animals and Taíno children are often the main characters in her stories. Some of her books are El jardín de las abejitas, El sol taíno, La Cucarachita Martina y el terrible huracán, y La vaca de Juan Gandules.
She was formerly known in Puerto Rico as Maria Chuzema, the main character of a televised show for kids.
The Cuban American author has won many prizes, such as the NSK Neustadt Prize, a Newberry Honor, Claudia Lewis Awards, and International Latino Book Awards, to name a few. A lot of her stories are in some way tied to Cuba and her heritage.
Engle has also written a memoir, titled Enchanted Air: Two Cultures: Two Wings: A Memoir.
From St. Thomas (which is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands), Kacen Callender writes middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction.
Their book Felix Ever After is going to be adapted for television by Amazon Studios and Field Trip Productions, Deadline reports; the main character, Felix Love, is a “transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.”
In addition to Felix Ever After, other children’s books by Callender include This Is Kind of An Epic Love Story, Hurricane Child, and King and the Dragonflies. The latter won the author the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2020.
Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Sister duo Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite are Miami natives, and the daughters of Haitian immigrants.
The latter story follows sisters. There’s Kezi, who is killed after going to a social justice rally, and is considered “one of the good ones.” Not completely comfortable with how Kezi is being honored, Happi and Genny go on a trip that they’ll never forget.