A Bubbling “Callaloo” Reading warms with nostalgia for Washington DC Caribbean audience

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We were introduced online by Maud Arnold, whom I have known since her preteen years. She is the taller half of the Chloe and Maud Arnold Tap Dance Productions. I got the hail out on facebook from Maudie; ” Ms. Grace! meet Marjuan Canady, she is one of your people”, which means, that ‘she’ and I are Trini. To the unacquainted, we share Trinidad & Tobago born bloodlines. Maud mentioned that Marjuan just wrote a book and was looking to do a launch in DC. Maud asked me to share Marjuan’s work with fellow Trinbagonians and our community.

photos courtesy of Carl Gray III

“Aooooh!” resonated the shrill sounds of the Lagahoo. When Papa Bois bellowed “Little Boy! Why are you stealing from my forest ?!” she sounded deep and guttural. In a lilting Caribbean accent, the words, “Your greed troubles me.” were spoken to Winston by Mama D’Lo, wife of Papa Bois and protector of all the sea animals.

After virtual hellos, and shared information, I had the pleasure of attending the special reading of the book Callaloo, A Jazz Folktale authored by Marjuan Canady and illustrated by Nabeeh Bilal at the Crown Bakery, on Georgia Avenue, Washington DC, on Saturday, December 21 2013. I attended with my son, Daryean and grand daughters Deana Grace and Raylynn Maxine.

As the kids and grownups sat around, some of the little ones were up close and personal. Others who were too grown to bend too low, remained seated on the chairs as Marjaun read from the book and Nabeeh turned the pages.

For the enjoyment of the group in attendance, Marjuan read each page with inflection and intonation and vivid coloration. In voice sounds, she embellished the narration with the animated accents of the West Indian grandma from Tobago, to the New York vendor icee lady, shouting “Delicioso! Compra Una Icee!” Marjuan assumed each character with effortless acting transition.

The kids were filled with excitement and anticipation. They listened attentively as Marjuan assumed character. She mimicked the haunting sounds of the Caribbean folklore characters.

The illustrations on each page of the book are bold and engaging. They capture artistic drawings of the characters and their activities. The video link Callaloo A Jazz Folktale … The Reading at Crown Bakery DC with Marjuan Canady is a picture collage of the evening’s activities.

Callaloo, A Jazz Folktale, is a short story filled with vivid depiction and Caribbean colloquialisms. It takes its audience on a journey to a Tobago island to meet some fabled characters. It is charming, it is frivolous and, just looking at the expression from the kids in the Callaloo, A Jazz Folktale picture collage video , it is great storytelling.

Ten year old attendee, Deana Grace shared this compelling review:

“Callaloo is a very Awesome book I think kids around the globe would love!”

Go to www.callaloothebook.com to purchase your copy and find out more details about Callaloo.

“Something magical lay within that Callaloo”

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