Morales’ latest children’s book baptised at Oba Oba

From left: Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sport Silveria Jacobs, author Loekie Morales, Francis Carty, Claudette Forsythe-Labega, and members of Beyond Kultura Foundation with children at the launching of “Chella and the Weird Woman.”

SIMPSON BAY–The latest brainchild of author Loekie Morales, Chella and the Weird Woman/Chella en het vreemde vrouwtje, was baptised at Oba Oba in Simson Bay on Friday in the of presence book illustrator Penka Petkova, “godfather” Francis Carty, “godmother” Claudette Labega and many visitors.

  “The event was well visited. We had much more people than we have expected and that is a good sign. A ‘Madrina’ and ‘Padrino’ are like the Godfather and Godmother of the book, and often we select for these functions two highly respected persons within our community who have shown interest with actions in literature, culture and youth, but, moreover, who have their hearts at the right place when it comes to our society and especially our youth,” Morales explained.

  The bilingual book, with a Dutch and English translation on each page, is well written and uses imagery and a fast-paced storyline to capture the reader’s imagination. The story makes children aware of ways to keep safe in today’s society.

  Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sport Silveria Jacobs attended the event and spoke about the importance of reading, starting from a very early age.

  She stressed the importance of reading and building vocabulary which aids in speaking and writing, not just for children, but for all. “Reading also opens the imagination and encourages creativity,” Jacobs said.

  She encouraged adults to read often and continue to learn at every opportunity. “The fact that the author translated the book into English also gives readers the opportunity to utilise and broaden vocabulary in both languages,” Jacobs said.

  She commended Beyond Kultura Foundation (BKF) on the launch of another St. Maarten book and for making it accessible to schoolchildren. She encouraged the public to purchase the book and make it a special gift for children this Christmas.

  A skit was performed during the launch, with Yvania Richardson as Chella and Morales as the Weird Woman. Dawryles Carty-Ozuna, Jaldon Giterson and Li’Anne Peterson sang the “Chella Song,” a tumba composed by Morales and arranged by Dennis van Putten. Two persons won a door prize and received a copy of the book.

  Chella and the Weird Woman is available to the public. In the coming two weeks, starting from today, Monday, BKF representatives, and in some cases some sponsors, will be visiting schools to hand over a box of 27 books per school as part of BKF’s reading and storytelling programme.

  Many children in St. Maarten and Curaçao will be able to read this book thanks to donations by Windward Islands Bank, Henderson Insurance Risk-Management Investment Consultants, the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund and the Dutch Representative in Philipsburg.

  Proof-readers Elsje Bosch and Mariette Schrijver gave their cooperation free of charge and translator Rietje Sint, designer HD Ontwerp and the illustrator contributed for a small fee with the best interests of the youth in mind. Oba Oba’s owner facilitated the usage of their cosy room and saw it transformed into a scary house.

  “I got already enthusiastic reactions from the schools. They cannot wait to have us visiting them and mentioned that the books are such a great welcome in a time when St. Maarten is recovering from the devastating Hurricane Irma. We of BKF are always happy to see all those happy faces in the schools,” said Morales.

Source: The Daily Herald