The year 2017 was certainly one of the most magical years of my life so far, in so many ways. The photo above illustrates main character Ma Yaya the healer from my latest publication ‘Overal Monsters en Spoken' (Monsters and Spooks Everywhere), a short story collection based on this year’s Children Book Week 2017 theme: 'Gruwelijk Eng!' (Creepingly Scary!)
Writing books and getting them published is one thing, but receiving an invitation to represent your island and sharing your stories abroad, is such a blessing one cannot even begin to describe. I’ve been participating with Aruba’s Children’s Book Festival for more than 10 years and as part of the Dutch Kingdom, our island has always invited authors, artists and storytellers from the Caribbean, Suriname and The Netherlands to share their stories. In 2017, in the midst of celebrating 25 years of Children’s Book Festivals in Aruba, we (6 Caribbean writers) are invited to share our stories with the children of The Netherlands during the Caraïbische Letterendagen (Caribbean Literature days) in Amsterdam (photo fr.l.to.r. Diana Lebacs, Roland Colastica, Jacky Bernadela, Hilli Arduin with son, me, Indra Hu- Ramdas and sister, Cynthia McLeod, Charlotte Doornheim, Curt Fortin and friend, Loekie Morales), and to visit the Dutch schools and libraries during the Children’s Book Week 2017.
Caribbean Literature Days in OBA (Public Library Amsterdam) ~ Video courtesy of Jahyro Adonis, The Netherlands
Most of us know the importance of books and the pleasure of reading, but do we understand how literature can bring us together? How stories give us a closer look inside each other’s lives, a better feel of what it's like to be part of this beautiful planet. I think the process of writing has taught me a great deal about myself, but it wasn't until I started to share those parts of me, that I truly understood what it meant to become part of oneself; this universe that connects us all together, whether we realize it or not. There’s nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing to fear... there’s only love, in what we do, in what we give and receive, for who we are.