Author Mario Picayo invited by Office of Cultural Education to present the book at Virgin Islands Council on the Arts gathering this Thursday, May 22.
New York, NY – May 14, 2008 – Photographer and cultural activist turned author Mario Picayo will visit his old home turf, St. Thomas, this coming week to talk about his illustrated children’s book A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z). The talk and book presentation, followed by a reception, will be on Thursday, May 22nd at 6 PM at the VI Council on the Arts Gallery. The event is part of the Active Voices of Authors Series, featuring artists and writers whose work promotes cultural awareness. There will also be a book-signing event on Saturday May 24 between 12 and 2 PM at Dockside Bookshop in Havensight.
The Active Voices of Authors Series is presented by the Office of Cultural Education with collaboration from the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute, and the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, and the Virgin Islands Humanities Council.
Born in Cuba, Picayo called St. Thomas home from the mid seventies until he moved to New York in the 1990’s. He is known in the Territory for his work as photographer and video artist with a strong socio-cultural component.
Picayo does not stray very far from his passions and obsessions with this intelligent, fun, and gorgeously illustrated children’s book. A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover what Happened to the Z), more than a typical ABC is a guide to the islands, one letter at a time. In its 64 pages the reader can explore the history, culture, fauna, flora and geography of the Caribbean. With colorful, richly detailed illustrations and the simplicity of language required to engage small children, the book succeeds at several levels, and introduces words and concepts ripe for discussion. The letter “S” alone includes animal extinction (Caribbean seals), sailing, sugarcane, and slavery (“one of the saddest of words”, as the text reads). Little known facts are inserted in almost every page, and simple questions (sometimes with no quick answers) make the reading interactive. Do you know the difference between a tortoise and a turtle (letter “T”), a house and a home (letter “H”), from which island is the Caribbean’s only astronaut? (letter “R”). There is also pleasure to be found in searching the illustrations for words that begin with the page’s letter: bananaquit and bougainvillea are two examples from the letter “B” and St. Thomas’ own unmistakable Fort Christian serves as background for the letter “F
The book’s title with its reference to a mystery, “Read and Discover What Happened to the Z” does not let children or adults down. Picayo turns the last letter into a closing and an opening, recognition to our heritage and a perfect farewell to this delightful journey.
Don’t miss the chance to meet and talk to the author. Books will be available for purchase at both events.