A new book, Bolo the Monkey, has swung into the hearts and minds of Jamaicans. Written by Jonathan Burke and illustrated by Nicholas Martin, the children’s picture book received a vibrant, friendly and energetic launch on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The launch event, hosted by celebrated actress Karen Harriott saw many members of the Jamaican culturati in attendance.
Communications expert Kalando Wilmoth read the book, taking the audience on Bolo’s daring attempt to defy tradition by becoming a farmer rather than a forager. Wilmoth’s animated reading was wonderfully enhanced by percussionist M’bala who skillfully added sound effects.
“When I asked Jonathan how he wanted me to read the book, he said he wanted me to do it in my best monkey voice,” Wilmoth told the amused audience.
A huge mango tree framed the event and was expertly made a part of the setting, providing welcome shade and falling mangoes. Plants and other foliage placed around the tent enhanced the feeling of being in the wild, while a wheel barrow stacked with coconuts was available for the members of the audience to enjoy, and enjoy it they did. Cupcakes designed by A Likkle Slice of Heaven were another major attraction.
Children’s author Diane Brown had much praise for the book. “This story is moving and timeless and will appeal to all ages,” Brown said, “and it is delightfully enhanced by the illustrations.”
Burke explained that fatherhood brought him to writing. Moved to tears while addressing the audience he explained that Bolo was born from stories he used to tell hi sons.
“These are my inspiration,” Burke said pointing to Alejandro and John Ricardo who were in the audience.
Nicholas Martin pointed out that although it is a book for children, Bolo can inspire anyone because it teaches about the power of self-confidence.
In tweets of blogger Emma Lewis, the launch was sweet, emotional and fun.
“Lovely launch of Bolo the Monkey today under the mango tree,” she tweeted.
Bolo the Monkey is a children’s picture book, produced by independent press Blue Moon Publishing.