The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Apart­ner­ship be­tween Saint Lu­cia Books, a newly es­tab­lished book­shop, and Al­liance Française has given im­pe­tus to ef­forts to pro­mote read­ing in Saint Lu­cia, es­pe­cially among chil­dren.

Read­ing is a way to open the mind, de­velop the imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity of chil­dren and in­spire the dreams and am­bi­tions of read­ers. Dur­ing May, which is ob­served as read­ing month in Saint Lu­cia, a ro­bust pro­gramme put on through a joint ef­fort by the two en­ti­ties added sub­stan­tial value and height­ened the pro­file of read­ing month.

The Al­liance Française/ Saint Lu­cia Books cal­en­dar for the month launched with Martha Blan­chard, au­thor of The Plum Tree, read­ing a chap­ter from her book to Form 1 and 2 Al­liance Française stu­dents, fol­lowed by an­i­mated de­bate on the story and its par­al­lels to ev­ery­day life and their own ex­pe­ri­ence. This was fol­lowed by vis­its to sev­eral schools by teams from Al­liance Française with au­thors car­ried by Saint Lu­cia Books read­ing sto­ries to chil­dren. The fea­tured writ­ers were Pe­tra Au­guste (Chief Tree), June Fred­er­ick (Piti Kon Nou Piti), Jacintha An­nius Lee (Com­père Lapin Tales) and A.D. L. French (The Peanut Se­ries). In ad­di­tion to school vis­its, classes were also hosted at Al­liance Française for the same pur­pose.

With Al­liance Française hav­ing re­cently of­fered a home to the pre­vi­ously mo­bile book­shop, a ma­jor high­light of the month was the of­fi­cial open­ing of Saint Lu­cia Books' book­store and its cof­fee shop Café Lit­téraire on May 20th. The cof­fee shop ex­pe­ri­ence has the aim of at­tract­ing gen­eral pa­tron­age, which can lead to ex­plo­ration of the book­shop, brows­ing and, ul­ti­mately, book sales for the fea­tured Saint Lu­cian au­thors.

At­tend­ing the for­mal launch was H.E Dame Pear­lette Louisy, Gov­er­nor Gen­eral of Saint Lu­cia and Pa­tron of the No­bel Lau­re­ate Fes­ti­val, and H.E Mr. Philippe Ar­danaz, French Am­bas­sador to the OECS and Bar­ba­dos in Saint Lu­cia. The Rust­ing Gate, the very first col­lec­tion of po­ems by Hon. Charles Cadet, at 92 years old, was also spot­lighted. A vis­ual dis­play fea­tur­ing book re­views writ­ten in French by stu­dents of Al­liance Française was another in­ter­est­ing fea­ture of the launch.

Ac­cord­ing to Sab­rina Lipoff, Deputy Di­rec­tor of Al­liance Française, while it was a suc­cess­ful read­ing month, these ac­tiv­i­ties must not be lim­ited to May. “It is an ef­fort that we have to make through­out the year,” she said. “We hope the re­la­tion­ship we are now cre­at­ing with the teach­ers will help mo­ti­vate the stu­dents to read more. And with the new part­ner­ship we have with Saint Lu­cia books, I am ab­so­lutely con­fi­dent we will have a pos­i­tive im­pact”.

Prin­ci­pals and teach­ers in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ini­tia­tive are asked to con­tact Al­liance Française and Saint Lu­cia Books.

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