Storytelling Day Got Some Spanish Flavour

Photo: Mark Bell Storyteller and Founder of Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks.

Story Highlights

  • National Storytelling Day (NSD) was given a Spanish flavour this year, with the work of late Spanish icon of children’s literature, Gloria Fuertes, presented at libraries across the country.
  • The day, which was observed on November 20 at the 13 parish libraries, was organised by the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Jamaica and the Jamaica Library Service.
  • Storyteller and Founder of the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks, told JIS News that the Foundation has partnered with other embassies in the past to bring storytellers from different parts of the world to Jamaica.

National Storytelling Day (NSD) was given a Spanish flavour this year, with the work of late Spanish icon of children’s literature, Gloria Fuertes, presented at libraries across the country.

Hundreds of primary- and secondary-school students and teachers were introduced to stories and poems written by Ms. Fuertes.

The day, which was observed on November 20 at the 13 parish libraries, was organised by the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Jamaica and the Jamaica Library Service.

At the Joyce Robinson Hall at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library, the work of Gloria Fuertes was presented by Spanish teachers in training at Shortwood Teachers’ College, who read some of the poems in the Spanish language and in patois.

Teachers from Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College conducted readings in Montego Bay while teachers from Church Teachers’ College read in Mandeville, and a Spanish teacher from Spain went to the library in Portland.

Storyteller and Founder of the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks, told JIS News that the Foundation has partnered with other embassies in the past to bring storytellers from different parts of the world to Jamaica.

She cited storytellers from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the wider Caribbean.

“This is our third collaboration with a foreign mission, and we hope to expand that,” she added.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Spain in Kingston, Carmen Rives, told JIS News that the embassy was happy to partner in the staging of the NSD and at the same time promote the Spanish language in Jamaica.

“We thought that the figure of Gloria Fuertes, for whom we (Spain) are celebrating a 100th birthday anniversary this year, would be a perfect match,” she said.

Ms. Rives noted that apart from encouraging the learning of the Spanish language, the activity will empower the teachers who participated.

‘We want to encourage Jamaican teachers to keep teaching in Spanish and to increase their capacity and also focus on the primary students,” she said.

“We are trying to reinforce the Spanish teachers in Jamaica and to help them to connect with the Spanish language,” she added.

NSD is part of the annual storytelling festival dubbed ‘Ananse Sound Splash’ being held from November 19 to 23, and involves reading at libraries, workshops, and discussion fora, among other activities.

It seeks to raise the profile of Jamaica’s rich oral tradition and promote storytelling encounters between senior citizens and younger members of the community as a values-based recreational and educational activity.

The objective is to celebrate Jamaican folk tales while highlighting the importance of storytelling in shaping morals and values from an early age.

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