A Day in the Life of a Turtle, The Caribbean’s Most Uncommon Children’s Book
As friends, family, and our Facebook fans already know, I’m an uncle once again! Earlier this week, my brother and partner in all things Uncommon Caribbean, Patrick, announced that he and his lovely wife Kathleen are the proud parents of another strapping young lad.
Anyone betting that his name would be Tobago to complement his older brother, Trinidad, may be disappointed to learn that the newest UC correspondent is actually named Kingston. I’m sure, though, that any even remote, tongue-in-cheek sadness is more than surpassed by the unmitigated joy that comes with knowing that another healthy life has entered the world.
So yeah, I’m pretty excited about the new guy! So much so that I made sure to make my first gift to him a very unique and special one. It’s called A Day in the Life of a Turtle, and it just might be the most uncommon children’s book in all of the Caribbean!
I found it just before leaving Bequia back in July. Literally, I could not have avoided it even if I tried!
Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I couldn’t avoid its author.
Her name: Silma Duncan.
Her day job: Security Officer at Bequia Airport.
Indeed, you can’t leave Bequia by air without running into Silma. She works the metal detector all passengers must pass through to enter the departure lounge at the small island’s extremely basic airport.
There’s no gift shop in the terminal where you’ll find Silma’s book for sale along with all manner of assorted sundries and such. She keeps a stack at her post, offering ’em to passengers after they pass through her screening procedures. Price: US$20.
Needless to say, I simply couldn’t resist such an uncommon buy offered in such an uncommon way. Silma even signed it for me, offering a warm smile I’ll never forget as I left to board my flight.
I later learned that Silma is known around the island as the Poet Laureate of Bequia, having penned a number of books that she’s self-published and sells herself.
There’s an undeniable sing-song innocence to A Day in the Life of a Turtle. The poem traces the many experiences a young child might have if given the magical chance to spend a day as a turtle. Between the lines there are lessons to be learned about what turtles eat, the dangers they face, and life for all of us in general.
For the most part, though, the book is just light and breezy fun, its rhymes brought to life beautifully by the whimsical illustrations of Shirley Gajewski.
Kingston, I can’t wait to meet you and share this unique piece of our shared West Indian heritage!
If you want to get your own copy of A Day in the Life of a Turtle, just be sure to visit Bequia and look out for Silma as you’re passing through security at Bequia Airport on your way home.
Trust me, she’s impossible to miss!