Chronogram Holiday Gift Guide


Jerrice J. Baptiste, illustrations by April Matula

Guanabana Books, 2015, $20

WKZE's Jerrice Baptiste digs into her Haitian roots for this whimsical, socially conscious tale of Astrid, who wishes only for Papa Noël to bring prosperity to her impoverished fishing village. She works hard in her fatherless house, and sure enough, an amusing Caribbean version of Santa Claus arrives. Illustrations by April Matula convey holiday spirit without a hint of snow. Appearing 12/9 at 4:15pm, Morton Memorial Library, Rhinecliff; 12/10 at 5pm, Lace Mill, Kingston; 12/12 at 1pm, Tivoli Free Library; 12/18 at 10:30am, Town of Esopus Library; 12/19 at noon, Ulster Library. —Robert Burke Warren (aka Uncle Rock)

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Local Children’s Book Author Visits Woodstock Primary School

On November 12, local poet and children’s book author Jerrice Baptiste visited Woodstock Primary School and read her book My Cat Adeline to three classes of Kindergarten students. The book, beautifully illustrated by teacher and artist April Matula, is a poetic rendition of the true story of Adeline, Ms. Baptiste’s rescued cat. Select the link to learn more...

Over the course of her readings, Ms. Baptiste also engaged the children in several feline-related songs and answered questions about her creative process. A story begins with ideas that a writer expresses in words, she told the students. “All the wonderful things Adeline did in real life inspired me to write this book,” she added.

“This type of visit is so important because we are working on both writing and reading skills for these young pre-readers,” explained Woodstock Kindergarten teacher Mary Naccarato. “For Kindergarten students just learning how to read, it is important for them to hear authors read their own work.” Ms. Baptiste also visited students in the classrooms of Lynn Clinton and Elohim Pacheco.

After talking with the students about their own pets, Ms. Baptiste displayed the book’s final page, which featured a photograph of the real Adeline. Hoping to leave her animal-loving readers with an inspirational message, her caption for the photo reads, “Adeline is a happily rescued cat and has brought such joy into my life. Please consider giving a warm home to an adopted cat.”

Ms. Baptiste, who was born in Haiti and now lives in the Hudson Valley, noted how much reading to these young students benefits her as a writer. “It is very uplifting and inspiring to read to the children and see their faces light up from what I have written,” she explained. “I take back what I’ve learned from them to write better books in the future. That interaction is a great gift.”