Writing for Children

Art © Summer Edward 2014

Aside from writing and editing works for children, I am also a children's literature consultant and childhood literacy specialist. I provide literacy support in childhood learning communities, advise individuals/organizations on how to set up or enhance childhood/youth literacy programs, review children's books, develop children's literature curricula, lead workshops for children's authors, and advise on Caribbean children's literature issues. I work as a children's/YA readers' advisory specialist at EBSCOHost NoveList and founded Anansesem Caribbean children's literature ezine. I sometimes perform kamishibai (Japanese paper theater), and run kamishibai workshops for kids.

Below is a snapshot of some of my work. Click on the [+] to explore.


1789: What is a Person?

YA nonfiction book coming in 2020 from Candlewick Press
The companion book to 1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change

Edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Written by 10 Established & Emerging YA Authors
Intended Audience: Ages 12 and up/YA

Essays, memoirs, and more by ten award-winning authors offer unique perspectives on 1789, one of the world’s most revolutionary years.

*I am a chapter contributor to this fascinating and wide-ranging young adult (YA) anthology.

Whaleheart: Journey into the Night with Maya Christina Gonzalez
and 23 Courageous ArtistAuthors

Click on image to view the promotional

flyer for this book.
The Heart of It Anthology #1
Reflection Press, 2015

Written & Illustrated by Maya Gonzalez With 23 New &
Emerging Diverse Children’s Book ArtistAuthors
Intended Audience: Ages 4-10/Grades K-4
Paperback, 84 pages

By the light of the moon, the storyteller stands in the river and gathers what the storyfish bring her, but the wind promises something more…

*My poem 'Grannie's Coal Pot' as well as an illustration

of mine appears in this exciting international anthology

featuring new and emerging diverse voices in children's books.

Charlotte Huck's Children's Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd Edition)

Edited by Barbara Kiefer and Cynthia Tyson
McGraw Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2013
Hardcover, 416 pages

Now in its 2nd edition, Charlotte Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide provides essential information for designing pre-K-to-8 literature programs. Expertly designed in a vibrant, full-color format, this streamlined text has a strong emphasis on researching, evaluating, and implementing quality books in the classroom, the critical skills needed to search for and select literature. Kiefer’s guide gives readers the tools they need to evaluate books, create curriculum, and foster a lifelong love of reading for students.

*My article on Choosing Multicultural Children's Literature appears in this guide to the classic Charlotte Huck textbook.

Children's Literature Web: Books to Discuss Spirituality and Religion with Kids

Children's literature experts like Charlotte Huck and Karen D'Angelo Bromley proposed webbing/mapping as a useful resource device for sharing literature with children— helping develop their organizational skills and fostering greater understanding and appreciation of literature.

I created this themed, pluralistic literature web which provides a visual overview of possibilities to be explored when using children's books to help children understand and appreciate spirituality, as well as learn about world religions.
Lists children's books grouped by the following themes:

Spirituality: Celebrating Nature & Humankind Prayer
The Nature of God Spirituality & the Child Religious Figures/Leaders
Creation Stories Religious Holidays Religious Folklore
Religious Symbols & Objects Religion & Morality

Also includes:

Extension & enrichment activities to promote further, in-depth learning
Note to caregivers & educators
Additional resources

                                                 Lists books suitable for: Ages 6 & up
                                                 *You will receive a printable .pdf of the web.


 "In a Blue Hotel," a poem in Balloons Lit. Journal

 "Shakespeare Goes to Trinidad," a nursery rhyme in the Story & Verse section of the Children's Writer's Guild (CWG) website, selected for CWG Online's author spotlight

 "Flight of the Pigeons," a short story in the Story & Verse section of the Children's Writer's Guild (CWG) website, selected for CWG Online's author spotlight

 "Blue," a short story in Mirrors Windows Doors, with art by Romanian illustrator Diana Cojocaru

 "Sugarcane Dance," a poem in Anansesem

 "The Earth's Water," a poem in Anansesem

 "Wish Quilt," a poem in Anansesem

Stories and poems published under my pen name "Wardsy":

 "Something New for Bettina Barcue," a rhyming story reverse-illustrated by Romanian artist Dan Vuletici. Highlighted as a "Featured Story" by Storybird.com

 "The Forever Rain," a story reverse-illustrated by American artist Nidhi Chanani. Recognized with the "New & New Noted" distinction by Storybird.com

 "This Land," a rhyming poem reverse-illustrated by Metis artist Leah Marie Dorion.


The Nature of Belonging: Making a Home for Children’s Literature in the Caribbean’s Literary Landscape - essay forthcoming in Interviewing the Caribbean journal

The Picturebook is Political: English-Language Caribbean Children’s Literature as Littérature Engagée - essay forthcoming in an upcoming scholarly anthology of Caribbean children’s and YA literature to be published by The University of Mississippi Press

Caribbean Immigrants Tell Their Story: 17 Own Voices Picture Books - list-based article in Novelist, EBSCOhost's reader's advisory subscription database

High Walls, Closed Borders: A Golden Age of Children’s Literature is Not Here Yet - article on Medium.com

7 "Own Voices" Caribbean Picture Books Depicting Empowered Girlhood - list-based article on the official blog of the Commonwealth Education Trust

On the Imperialist ‘Charity’ of Rebuilding Caribbean Children’s Libraries with Eurocentric Books - essay in The Millions

The importance of Caribbean children’s literature - blog post on the official blog of the Independent Publishers Guild (UK)

Beyond the "Four Fs": Caribbean Own Voices - article in Horn Book Magazine

The Effects of Negative News on Young People: Harnessing Literacy for Healing - article on Literacy Daily, the official blog of the International Literacy Association

Caribbean American Heritage Month Children's Book Lists 2017 and 2018 - in Horn Book Magazine

Cultural Authenticity in the Emerging Caribbean Picturebook Aesthetic - essay in sx salon

Challenging the Hidden Curriculum: A Middle School Teacher’s Use of Multicultural Literature in the Classroom - article in WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom journal

Ten Tips for Selecting Multicultural Children's Literature - article in Charlotte Huck's Children's Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd Edition) edited by Barbara Kiefer and Cynthia Tyson, McGraw-Hill (2013)

Children's Literature as a Vehicle for Peace - article on Medium.com

What’s Important to Us?: On the Value of Books, Libraries & Children's Literature in Caribbean Societies - article in Anansesem ezine

An Introduction to Culturally Relevant Reading Instruction - feature on K12reader.com

8 Ways to Foster Reading Growth in Multilingual Learners - feature on K12reader.com

10 Annotated Bibliographies of Multicultural Children’s/YA Books - feature on K12reader.com


Interviews Given:

 Caribbean Research Empowerment Network - CREN's Advocacy Works! Spotlight: Anansesem Caribbean Children’s Literature Ezine

 Commonwealth Education Trust guest speaker interview (part one, part two and part three) for the online course, 'Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest'

 Duotrope Digest's Editor Interviews: Anansesem

Here are a few interviews I have conducted with children's authors, illustrators, librarians and publishers:

 Alice Curry, founder and director of Lantana Publishing (in Anansesem)

 Baronnes Floella Benjamin, presenter of the British children's program, Play School and author of Coming to England (in Anansesem)

 Benrali Ali, author of Manni: From a World Beyond Stars (on my blog)

 Brianna McCarthy, Trinidadian illustrator (on my blog)

 Carmen Milagros-Torres, Puerto Rican children's literature scholar and Puerto Rican English Writers Association Board Member (on my blog)

 Cherie Miot Abbanat, CEO of Haiti Projects, Inc. and Founder of The Haiti Projects’ Community Library (in Anansesem)

 Deborah Ahenkorah, co-foundress and Executive Director of the African children's literacy NGO, The Golden Baobab (in Horn Book Magazine)

 Donna Marie Seim, author of Where is Simon, Sandy? (on my blog)

• Ibi Zoboi, Haitian speculative fiction author and runner up in the Lee and Low Books New Visions Award competition (on my blog)

 James Hackett, Trinidadian illustrator (on my blog)

 Janice Ferdinand, U.S. Virgin Islander school librarian (in Anansesem)

 Joanne Gail Johnson, author of Ibis Stew? Oh, No! (on my blog)

 John Robert Lee, St. Lucian librarian, poet, critic, journalist, editor and educator (in Anansesem)

 Lindsey Dunn, readers' advisory librarian and content editor at EBSCOhost NoveList (in Anansesem)

 Mario Picayo, Owner at Editorial Campana and author of A Caribbean Story from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) (in Anansesem)

 Marsha Gomes-McKie, Regional Adviser for the SCBWI Caribbean South Chapter (in Anansesem)

 Melanie Schwapp, author of Lally-May's Farm Suss (on my blog)

 Michelle Warren, operations manager at the Grenada Community Library (in Anansesem)

 Nancy Viau, author of Look What I Can Do!Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, and Storm Song (on my blog)

 Nicholas DaSilva, creator of the Dread and Alive Jamaican graphic novel series (on my blog)

 Nicholas Gillard, publisher at Macmillan Caribbean Publishers (in Anansesem)

 Olive Senior, Commonwealth Writers Prize winner and author of Birthday Suit (in Anansesem)

 Peta-Ann Smith, author and illustrator of Charlene's Quest (in Anansesem)

 R. Gregory Christie, Coretta Scott Honor Award-winning illustrator (on my blog)

 Ramin Ganeshram, author of Stir It Up! (in Anansesem)

 Stephanie Shaw, author of Bedtime in the Meadow (on my blog)

 Tracey Baptiste, author of Angel's Grace (on my blog)

 Uma Krishnaswami, author of The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, The Problem With Being Slightly HeroicMonsoon and more (on my blog)

 Zetta Elliott, author of A Wish After Midnight, Bird and Ship of Souls (on my blog)

Summer Edward
Me with my butai (wooden stage)
before a kamishibai (paper theatre) performance

Below are some of the organizations with whom I've enjoyed working, advising, volunteering and being a teaching artist, lending my expertise in childhood literacy and (Caribbean) children's literature.


 "Caribbean Children's Literature and Cultural Resilience"— Opening keynote address at the 45th PRTESOL Annual Convention: "Relevant and Resilient: ESL Educators Impacting their Communities", University of Turabo, Puerto Rico (2018)

 "Lifting the Invisibility Cloak of Culture: Beyond the "Four F’s" of Multiculturalism in Caribbean Children’s Literature"— 36th West Indian Literature Conference, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad (2017)

  Author Talk: Nadia L. Hohn in conversation with Summer Edward— NALIS Arima Public Library, Trinidad (2017)

  Author Talk: Tracey Baptiste in Conversation with Summer Edward— Carnegie Free Library, Trinidad (2017)

 "The Most Important Readers Of All: Why Caribbean Children’s Publishing Matters" panel discussion with Marsha Gomes-McKie, Julie Morton, and Summer Edward​— NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad (2016)

 Children's Storytelling and Poetry Performance: Wygenia and the Wonder of the World Leaf​ and Grannie's Coal Pot​— NGC Children's Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad (2015)

 "Case Study - Anansesem: A Caribbean Children's Literature Ezine"— WORD!: A Caribbean Book Fest, St. Francis College, NY (2013)

 "Culturally Inauthentic and Stereotypical Caribbean Children's Books"— A is for Anansi Children’s Literature Conference, New York University, NY (2010)

Youth Literacy Work

 Manuscript Selection Committee Member, Early Childhood Book Challenge— OpenIDEO (San Francisco, USA)

 2019 National Writing Juror, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards— Alliance for Young Artists & Writers (New York, USA)

 Readers' Advisory Expert Contributor (Multicultural Children's and YA Books)— EBSCOHost NoveList (Ipswich, USA)

 Host/Guest Host— #CaribbeanKidLit Twitter Chat and #CaribYAlit Twitter Chat

 Peer Reviewer for Teaching Preschool-grade 3 Children With Multicultural Books: a Guide for Classroom Teachers (forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield)

 Co-organizer of Young Readers Platform— WORD!: A Caribbean Book Fest, a project of Caribbean Cultural Theatre (Brooklyn, USA)

 Course Development Advisor/Curriculum Planner and Guest Speaker— Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest, an online course produced by Commonwealth Education Trust and At Summit Asia Pacific Ltd. (Philadelphia, USA)

 Chair of Chapter Books Judging Panel— The Golden Baobab Children's Writing Competition (Accra, Ghana)

 Teen Girls Book Club Leader— Mighty Writers nonprofit writing center (Philadelphia, USA)

 Storyspotter— Storybird.com, an award-winning collaborative storytelling site

 Literacy Support Specialist and Reading Is Fundamental School Book Fair Coordinator— Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (Philadelphia USA)

 Children's Book Drive Coordinator— ARROW Foundation Literacy Day Extravaganza (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad)

 Title I Reading Tutor/Reading Researcher— Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School (Philadelphia, USA)

 Childcare Advocacy Intern— Childspace Cooperative Development, Inc. (Philadelphia, USA)

 Play Attendant— Please Touch Children's Museum (Philadelphia, USA)

 Caribbean Children's Literature Consultant— Horn Book Magazine

 Writing Mentor/Freelance Children's Book Editor— Little Bell Caribbean, Canadian Organization for Development through Education's (CODE) Remote Editing Mentorship Program, Readit Books and CaribbeanReads

 Camp Mentor and Literacy Support Teacher— ESF Dream Camp Foundation (Philadelphia, USA)

Teaching Artist Work

 "Healing Through Children's Stories: 10 Talents for Cultivating a Caribbean Children's Book Harvest" teacher workshop— US Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (St. Croix, 2018)

 Traditional Japanese Storytelling: Kamishibai Performance and Tachi-e Puppet-making Workshop for Kids— NGC Children's Bocas Lit Fest (Trinidad, 2016)

 Art Day Pilot Program: "Painting the World: Rivers and Bridges" children's writing and art workshop co-facilitated with Trinidadian artist Eddie Bowen— Toco Secondary School (Trinidad, 2015)

 "Mirror Texts: Self-Empowerment and Self-Portraiture Through Poetry and Art" children's writing and art workshop co-facilitated with award-winning children's book illustrator Colin Bootman— NGC Children's Bocas Lit Fest (Trinidad, 2015)

 "Stuff and Nonsense: Writing Limericks" children's workshop— Mighty Writers nonprofit writing center (Philadelphia USA, 2013)


Here are just a few of the dozens of children's book reviews I have written over the years:

 A Coconuts Life for Me by Jonathan de la Rosa - Reviewed on Anansesem

 Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich - Reviewed on K12reader.com

 For the Love of Soccer by Pelé - Reviewed on K12reader.com

 My Brain Won’t Float Away/ Mi cerebro no va a salir flotando by Annette Pérez - Reviewed on K12reader.com

 A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson - Reviewed on K12reader.com

 A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) by Mario Picayo and Earleen Griswold - Reviewed on Anansesem

I review books on NetGalley where I have earned the
Professional Reader and 80% ratio badges.
Members who provide feedback for 80% (or more)
of their approved titles receive this badge.
 Around Our Way on Neighbor’s Day by Tameka Fryer Brown - Reviewed on K12reader.com

 The Caribbean Adventure Series by Carol Ottley-Mitchell - Reviewed on Anansesem

 Drummer Boy of John John by Mark Greenwood - Reviewed on Anansesem


Here are some illustrations I created while taking children's illustration courses through the Highlights Foundation and the School of the Free Mind. Click on illustration to zoom in.

Art © Summer Edward 2014 - Images on this site are original works by Summer Edward and are not to be used without permission.

   info@summeredward.com    |    © Copyright 2019 Summer Edward. All Rights Reserved.


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