Tag Archive: Mario Picayo


“We had a room with some books but nobody ever went in there.” This is a quote from Alan Cohen, P.S. 69’s principal. Imagine being a student in NYC and not having access to a proper library? Many students in low income communities face this issue daily. Rooms that are dedicated to being libraries, are often  found bare and deserted due to low or no funding and lack of materials- mainly books. With the economy tumbling and still uncertain, many budgets for NYC public schools have put Libraries at the bottom of the list. It seems there just isn’t enough money to support a program that is so essential to students.

There may be hope! A foundation known as the Robin Hood Foundation is looking to change the direction and image of many poverty stricken NYC public schools. The foundation over the past nine years has been:

 “dedicated to fighting poverty in New York City, and the city’s schools administration have built, with the help of private donors, libraries in 62 schools in low-income neighborhoods.”

The Foundation has had such success that many of the libraries that have been built in these schools have been adorned by murals from famous artists. These libraries and pictures have transformed schools that once seemed headed in a one way direction with the students having no choice but to follow the same dooming direction.

Another example of this transformation is Public School 47, located in the Soundview section of the Bronx. The school is in need of space. So much so that the gym has been transformed into classrooms and administrative offices have been created from bathrooms. Yet with the help of the Robin Hood Foundation, the school now seems to have a promising future- thanks to the addition of the new library located on the second floor. The room is described as expanding in a somewhat magical way. Above all, the new library (home to roughly 7,000 books) is the first “proper” library that the school has had in many years. All thanks to the Robin Hood Foundation.

Please visit their site to learn more information about how their program works and how their efforts have helped to keep literature within the NYC public school system. Foundations such as this one and books such as A Very Smart Cat/ Una Gata Muy Inteligente, My Brain Won’t Float Away/ Mi Cerebro no Va a Salir Flotando, and A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) aim to improve and inspire reading among young students and children.

Advertisements

caribbeancovermariopicayo1

Will talk to the public and present three copies of his book to the National Library, including a Special Edition courtesy of the First Lady of the US Virgin Islands.

 

New York resident, Caribbean author Mario Picayo will present his children’s book A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) and talk to the audience this Friday at 12:30 PM as part of the events celebrating the re-opening of the National Library. At 10 AM, during the opening ceremonies, Mr. Picayo will present three signed copies of the popular book to the library, including one copy of a Special Edition made exclusively for the United States Virgin Islands. The copy arrives courtesy of the First Lady of the US Virgin Islands, Cecile de Jongh as a gift to the children of Barbados. Mrs. De Jongh is a well-known literacy advocate. Several copies of A Caribbean Journey have also been purchased by the Library and will be available to its patrons and its many branches.

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y has been a commercial and critical success.  Dominican writer Silvio Torres-Saillant (An intellectual history of the Caribbean) wrote, “The images and the words combine to disrupt many of the visual and discursive stereotypes that often recur in representations of the Caribbean. I can think of no better book for children to begin the lifelong adventure of knowing the Caribbean”.  Glen “Kwabena” Davis, Director of the US Virgin IslandsEducation Department’s Culture Division, said “Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children’s books.”          

Published at the end of 2007, The 64 page, hardcover, fully illustrated book has gather steam with each passing month, selling over 10,000 copies in December 2008 and becoming an Americas Award Commended Title. 

The back cover describes it as a “fun and educational journey through the Caribbean Islands, one letter at a time! From Aruba to Trinidad and from avocado to yam, the reader learns the names of many of the islands, plus fascinating facts about them.  A Caribbean astronaut? From which island? An island with over 300 rivers? Seals in our tropical waters?  And wait until you see what happened to the Z”.

Mr. Picayo is making his visit to Barbados onboard the Norwegian Gem as part of a multi-island presentation tour.  “He wants to introduce the book personally, to each Caribbean island where it is sold, or will be sold”, according to McKinley Matteson, Assistant Manager at Campanita Books, publisher of A Caribbean Journey.

On Wednesday Picayo will be visiting his old home, St Thomas, Virgin Islands to receive the Special Edition of the book destined for the National Library from the hands of First Lady de Jongh.  On Thursday he will visit Antigua,and make the book officially available on the island. Mario will also speak at the Island Academy, a private school, and by invitation of the Ministry of Education at a primary public school.  Later in the afternoon he will visit the Antigua Public Library to present copies of his book, and of other titles published by Editorial Campana to Ms. Dorothea Nelson, Chief Librarian.  

Meet the author, and take a first look at the Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) at 12:30 at the National Library Service’s new Independence Square Headquarters.

For further information please call the National Library Services at 246-435-3371 or visit www.Editorialcampana.com to read the full press release.

 

Campanita Books is happy to announce that A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) Sold over 10,000 copies in December, and was selected as a  2008 Americas Award Commended Title.
 What’s so Special about this ABC? Read the following selected Reviews and Comments:

“This very original alphabet book gives brief descriptions of many aspects of the geography, animal species and history of the Caribbean. Even though a reader might consider an alphabet book as appropriate only for beginner readers, this one has so much information and poetic language, that older, more mature children will benefit from the information conveyed. Colorful and detailed naïve illustrations accompany the text. The best part of the book is finding out what the Z means to the Caribbean”. (gr K-4)
— 2008 Americas Award Commended Title

“A Caribbean Journey from A to Y, written by Mario Picayo and illustrated by Earleen Greiswold, describes insular portions of the Caribbean region in a manner that truly teaches and delights the child reader for whom the book is intended. Told as an account of the letters of the alphabet, the verbal side of the story engagingly caters to the child’s curiosity offering invaluable information about the flora, the fauna, the landscape, and the human populations of the region. Picayo delivers historical details throughout with beautiful simplicity, as in the explanation of “what happened to Z,” which alerts readers to the slavery period and the presence of Africans in the cultures of the region. With equal command of well chosen details, Griswold’s visual side of the story of Caribbean Journey from A to Y depicts the rural, the urban, the past, the present, tradition, and change without resorting to binaries, while giving women their due at the center of life in the Caribbean and suggesting the region’s racial and cultural diversity. The images and the words combine to disrupt many of the visual and discursive stereotypes that often recur in representations of the Caribbean. I can think of no better book for children to begin the life-long adventure of knowing the Caribbean”.
–Silvio Torres-Saillant. Author of An Intellectual History of the Caribbean

“Mr. Picayo, from his personal experiences, has compiled a fascinating collection of historical and natural facts.
All young people in our islands and elsewhere, would gain immense knowledge and enjoyment from the lively narrative and brilliant illustrations. A Caribbean Journey should be on everyone’s reading list.”  
–Prof. Roy L. Schneider, M.D., Former Governor, United States Virgin Islands

“Mario Picayo’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a book sure to motivate kids to read it over and over. The illustrations and the artistic appeal of the book make it really stand out among other children’s books.”
–Glenn “Kwabena” Davis, Director of the V.I. Education Dept’s Culture Division

“From a Caribbean perspective, this book is relevant to children living in the Caribbean and also to those children living outside the region. A Caribbean Journey is a must have in every library, and great learning tool in which a person of any age could pick up and learn a thing or two.”
–Myron Jackson, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute

“ A simple search in the Internet will tell us that few ABC book about the Caribbean exists. Another, more complex search allows us to see that these kinds of texts usually are limited to the normal experiences of a traditional US or European child. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z), published by Campanita Books is an alternative to bigger publishers that don’t yet know the market or tastes of Latino and West Indian families nor take them into account in their marketing. This book is a learning experience on many levels, in terms of text and illustrations. The simple name of an island is made into new and valuable information to add to children’s vocabulary when we discover that “St.” means saint and that there is a big island that an astronaut comes from. In the illustrations we see people of all colours and sizes, carrying out different activities that are particular to the Caribbean. These are today’s natives, past natives, tourists and dozens of starting points for lessons on history, science music and vocabulary. But a child isn’t given a book only because of the lessons we can get them to learn. A book is an object that activates the imagination and transports them to other worlds. For a nine year old child, like mine, a book has to provide just the right details to fire his desires and passion. It could be the birds or the iguanas, the flags, the volcanoes the indigenous people or the yachts. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) has all of these and more. It’s written to entertain and educate and to leave us with more questions to answer. At the end, the Z surprises us with an invitation to make a leap across the Atlantic and continue the journey”.
–- Tanya Torres is a Puerto Rican artist, cultural activist and writer who lives in New York. In 2002 she was selected as one of the 50 Women of the Year by El Diario/La Prensa, New York’s oldest and most read Spanish language newspaper.

picture-9

 

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) 
ISBN: 978‐0‐9725611‐8‐1 Format: Hardcover Price: $19.95 Number of pages: 64  
Available at your favorite bookseller,
including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

We just received this email from a very loyal fan (THANK YOU):

“Hi everyone,

A friend of mine just gave my little nieces a really good book and I want to recommend it to everybody as the perfect Holiday gift.  And, if you are from the Caribbean, or live in the Caribbean and have children, this book is a MUST.   I wish it had been around when I was growing up in St Thomas, Virgin Islands.

The name is A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (read and discover what happened to the Z).   It’s the best Caribbean children’sbook I hav e ever read.  It’s beautiful to look at with great drawings and the text is smart and funny, and teaches facts about the islands, but in a fun way.  The name of about every island is in it, the flags, a map, and it makes you feel good to be a Caribbean person. 

I am so pleased that this book is out, I bought five copies for some friends, and I am getting more for Christmas. You don’t even have to be a child to enjoy it. 

I can’t praise this book enough. Finally somebody wrote a children’s book for Caribbean children that will make them happy, will teach them and will make them proud of their heritage (read what the author did to the Z to understand what I mean), and it is a book of quality not some little flimsy paperback.  Hardcover, 64 pages in full color and it’s 19.95 (cheaper on Amazon.com). A bargain for such a nice book.

You will agree with me when you see it.  I bought it at  Amazon.com  [can also be bought through Editorial Campana] but I wish every island bookstore had it.  We got to spread the word because this book should be known and should be in our libraries and schools.”

 A Caribbean Journey from A to Y 
(Read and discover what happened to the Z)
By Mario Picayo 

Find more great titles available from Editorial Campana

Dec. 10, 2008- Thousands of copies of Campanita Book’s A Caribbean Journey from A to Y(read and discover what happened to the Z) were distributed to the children of the United States Virgin Islands this week by the First Lady of the Territory, Cecile de Jongh, by Santa Claus himself, and by many helping elves.

 snow   

The gift is extra special because A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) was turned into a Special Edition just for this event!!!

 

The preface by de Jongh reads:
It is my great honor as First Lady of the United States Virgin Islands to join Mario Picayo and his many readers worldwide in celebrating the proud cultures of the Caribbean. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y is a wonderful expression of the diversity of the Caribbean peoples and their lifestyles. It takes us on a journey through the islands of the region and shares important and interesting facts about each location.

As you turn the pages, you will discover the many special places, foods, and experiences of the Caribbean. Truly a treasure all on its own, this delightful book is a journey to places near and far that we can all enjoy. It is a reminder of our shared ancestry and celebrates the similarities and differences of each of the islands and their people. Perhaps what we learn the most from this wonderful book is that we are all God’s children, each of us brothers and sisters in paradise.

As a Virgin Islander and as a passionate advocate for children and literacy, I am proud to join you on this educational journey through the Caribbean. Enjoy!

 

Go to EditorialCampana.com to read the press release. You can also go to The St.Thomas Source to read the article in it’s original format, written by Molly Morris.

There is still time to give one of Campanita’s books (or all of them) as a Holiday present!!!

The Very Smart Cat continues to work on her book (with help from Mario Picayo). She has been busy going around Catskill asking local businesses to advertise. She has had roughly 18 businesses decide to advertise (so far). This project, inspired by Mario’s daughter, Cristina Friedman-PIcayo, gives a more realistic feeling. As you will discover when you read this funny piece of children’s literature, there are three pages dedicated to classifieds (one ad that even puts the Very Smart Cat up for adoption- free!).

Besides making the book realistic, the concept behind this project is as follows: “The “ads” will be a permanent part of the book, so your “ad” will be seen locally, nationally and internationally for years to come!” Mario, his wife Carla, and Cristina went to local businesses in the Catskill area and asked if they would be interested in being a part of Catskill literary history by having an “ad” in the newest children’s book from Campanita Books titled A Very Smart Cat/ Una gata muy inteligente. The outcome was what we hoped. 

Mario is currently working with illustrator Yolanda V. Fondura to have the businesses ad’s inserted into the classifieds. When you read the book and see these ads, it will be as though you were looking at a real classified section. People will see that the very smart cat is is based on real life, They can even visit the businesses that are advertised in the book. This is where the book becomes interactive.

Besides the book being based on a real cat, that was rescued by animal lover Cristina and besides the fact that the farm is real, people will have the ability to visit many of the stores that the cat and Cristina have visited. Some of the stores that have decided to advertise in the book are located in Woodstock and Saugerties, NY. That is how successful this project was.

We’ll keep you updated (we are currently working on promoting the well being of cats around the nation with this book). June is national Adopt a Cat month. This book hopes to make people more aware of cats, the need to respect them, and to have fun while reading a wonderful book.

Just how real does the picture from the book look like the actual farm, Willow Bark Farms?

And don’t forget about the Very Smart Cat…

Last week, Mario Picayo went to the Virgin Islands to present his book, A caribbean Journey from A to Y (read and Discover what happened to the Z). You can read the press release at our website. Besides spending a lot of time in the sun and enjoying the wonderful weather and sites the Virgin Islands has to offer, Mario Picayo was busy presenting his book to schools in the area. The schools included, Lockhart Elementary School, J Antonio Jarvis Elementary School, and the Joseph Sibilly School. Author Mario Picayo was invited by Office of Cultural Education to present the book at the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts gathering. As part of  author Mario Picayo’s visit to the Virgin Islands, the Department of Cultural Education has donated one copy of A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) to each elementary school library in the Territory- making this a very successful event and visit. You can read an artilce about this event from the St. Thomas Source. On Saturday May 24th, there was also Book signing at the Dockside Bookshop – Havensight Mall. Individuals had the chance to meet with author Mario Picayo as well as get a copy of the book signed.

 

We are very glad at Editorial Campana that the event went so well. We are also in the process of finshing our study guide version of A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover what happened to the Z). We hope that educators and parents will use this resource to enhance children’s knowledge of the Caribbean. This title has had major success- just recently the Americas Award Recognized A Caribbean Journey From A to Y.

Editorial Campana currently has 2 children’s book that are available through Amazon (and another one is in the works to be released later this Summer). These titles include,  A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) & My Brain Won’t Float Away/ Mi cerebro no va a salir flotando. Want to learn who the finalists are for the 2008 Children’s Choice Book Awards?

My Brain Won’t Float Away

Before I was a nanny, I worked with children with special needs.   One of my classes was the first autistic class to be mainstreamed in our school district.  What I took away from that experience was that children are basically more kind than cruel if they have information about being different.   When I read My Brain Won’t Float Away, I had to smile with the gentle humor the mother used to help her child understand her disability.  Children relate to blunt questions and quiet humor.  I think it helps them process their world better.  The reason we read to our children is to open up dialog whether it be about the monsters under the bed fears or dealing with emotions, it is our doorway to helping them to think out loud.   The book doesn’t talk down to children but rather lifts them up to a world they may know nothing about in simple words and story line.   I read extensively to all the children I mention and when I was given this book for an INA raffle, I admit, I read it first!   I knew if i didn’t win it in the raffle I would be online ordering it the next day!  Lucky for me, it was given to me as a Nanny of the Year present.  I will still have to order it as I know two children already who will love it.

A Caribbean Journey from A to Y

My speciality is as a traveling nanny so naturally this book with its bright colors caught my eye immediately.   I often judge books first by the illustrations as they are so important to jump starting a child’s desire to read a book.  The first thing I do is tell them the author and who drew the pictures.   A Caribbean Journey from A to Z was a delight to read as I have had many trips with children to the various islands.   Sometimes when I go to a new child they ask me where I have been and we look on the maps.  The map in this book is gorgeous and a wonderful page to use just by itself!   I love using fun books to teach children and this will definitely go into my nanny bag.  Our world is getting smaller and books that help define or arouse curiosity about a different culture are important.   This book would be the perfect jumping off place a children’s monthly theme in the playroom.  I was very curious as how they would use the letter Z and I thought the ending was just perfect!   You will have to read it yourself to see if you agree! 

 Donna Robinson, The Traveling Nanny & 2008 INA Nanny of the Year Recipient.

 

The 2008 Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature winners have just been chosen and we are excited to announce that A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) was selected as a Commended Title!

The award winners and commended titles are selected for their 1) distinctive literary quality; 2) cultural contextualization; 3) exceptional integration of text, illustration and design; and 4) potential for classroom use.

The Américas Award is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. The award is sponsored by the national Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP). 

Join us in this fun and educational journey through the Caribbean islands, one letter at a time.  From Aruba to Trinidad and from Alligator to Yam, you will learn the names of many of the islands, plus fascinating facts about them.  A Caribbean astronaut? From which island? Seals in these tropical waters? An island with over 300 rivers? And what is a cokí? Beautifully illustrated, this is a book that readers of all ages will enjoy opening again and again.  And wait until you see what happened to the Z…

 

If you’re not familiar with A Caribbean Journey from A to Y yet, we encourage you to check it out! The book is available at your favorite bookstore, or online at amazon.combarnesandnoble.com and many other booksellers on the web.

Visit us at www.editorialcampana.com.

           

“A Caribbean Journey from A to Y, written by Mario Picayo and illustrated by Earleen Griswold, describes insular portions of the Caribbean region in a manner that truly teaches and delights the child reader for whom the book is intended.”
                            -Silvio Torres-Saillant, Author of Caribbean Poetics and An Intellectual History of the Caribbean 


The text, simple enough for very small children to understand and sophisticated enough to entertain and educate older ones, offers way more than any ABC book I’ve seen to date.”

-Tanya Torres, Artist, Cultural Acitivist, and Writer, New York