Kids’ book promotes literacy

All the Joy in the World is available on Saturday, 9 April, at 10.30am.

To be more accurate, that’s the title of a new book by Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, who will be reading from the book at Books & Books.

“It’s the story of a little girl whose favourite thing is to make kites with her dad who passes and leaves her alone and sad.

“She vows to collect all the joy in the world and keep it for herself, but her conscience troubles her and she goes through several trials before coming upon a solution that is fair to for all concerned,” Nasaria tells us.

Rotary Sunrise first commissioned the book after Michael Levitt saw a similar book at a conference in Ohio that was subsequently purchased and handed out to youngsters.

“But my dream was always to have our own Caribbean Character Development book and if it did well, to release it to a wider audience. My board supported me with this project and we thought who better than Nasaria to work with us on this project? So we commissioned her to write the book and do all the illustrations.”

Travelling without moving

For artist and writer Nasaria, engagement with books came at a young age.

“I didn’t have TV till I was about 11… even before I could read I would sneak out my father’s Archie comics and try to figure out what the words said by looking at the pictures. Then one day, I could simply read them. It seemed to me to happen overnight. I was always a good reader in school and it gave me a lot of confidence.

“Most of all, I travelled to many places in my mind through reading. I would relate so closely to the characters that it was as if I was them. This was a bit worrying for my family because if it was a sad story, I was bawling as I read. I don’t just believe, I know that it was through my relationship with books that I learned to write stories, poetry, plays,” she notes.

Indeed, Nasaria believes that this led her on her path to becoming a drama teacher and artist – and more.

“Reading about peoples and places foreign to me moulded me into the type of adult we need more of in Cayman, one who loves and protects the rich history and culture of Cayman as well as one who is open to share and learn about other cultures.

“Books helped me to learn to problem-solve, to express myself and to escape into another world in a healthy way. To this day I spend most of my entertainment cash on books. Reading really made me who I am today, gave me a career and gave me dreams.”