Yolanda’s Lit picks from great Caribbean authors

My Lit picks

By Yolanda T. Marshall

Juleus Ghunta

Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows: A Story about ACEs and Hope, written by Juleus Ghunta and illustrated by Rachel Moss, highlights the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their connection to children’s academic weaknesses, destructive behaviours, life, and health outcomes. The book also emphasizes the role families and communities can play in aiding survivors of childhood abuse.

The author, a Jamaican born Chevening Scholar, expresses, “this story is based on true events from my childhood. It depicts some of the ordeals, adult behaviours, and social realities that shaped my life and the lives of some of my peers. As a survivor of multiple ACEs, I am engaged in a lifelong journey to understand and reduce their impacts. Healing is an ongoing process, but what I have already learned has not only given me an understanding of the complex literacy and health challenges I have endured; it has also led to significant improvements in my wellbeing and relationships with others.

In addition to my life, the book draws inspiration and text from ‘How to Read’, an essay by Jamaican human rights advocate Marcus Garvey. It also has an appendix that provides a brief overview of ACEs. We recommend that you use this book as an entry point to conversations on ACEs and toxic stress. We hope it will inspire you to do further research and to join communities that are working to reduce the prevalence of ACEs around the world.”



Title: Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows: A Story about ACEs and Hope

Publisher: CaribbeanReads

This book will be released on December 31, 2021, and is available for purchase on Amazon.ca and A Different Booklist.





This week’s recommended reads in the Lit Corner



Written by Khodi Dill, an educator and spoken word artist who was born in Nassau, Bahamas and raised in Moose Jaw, Canada.

Illustrated by Awuradwoa Afful, a Ghanaian-Canadian artist, designer and animator.

Publisher’s book description: Starting with beatboxes and fingersnaps, an exuberant narrator introduces kids in his community to the powerful possibilities of rap, from turning “a simple phrase/into imagery that soars” to proclaiming, “this is a voice that represents me!” As Khodi Dill’s rhymes heat up, the diverse crew of kids—illustrated in Awuradwoa Afful’s bold, energetic style—gain self-confidence and a sense of freedom in this wonderful picture book debut that is perfect for reading aloud.

Age group: 4-8

Published by Annick Press




Written by Liselle Sambury, a Trinidadian Canadian author raised in Toronto, Ontario.

Publisher’s book description: A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

Age group: 13-18

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada | Margaret K. McElderry Books






Written by Shanice Nicole, a Black feminist educator, facilitator and spoken word artist. Illustrated by Kezna Dalz, a multidisciplinary Black artist from Montreal, Canada.

Publisher’s book description: Dear Black Girls is a letter to all Black girls. Every single day poet and educator Shanice Nicole is reminded of how special Black girls are and of how lucky she is to be one. Illustrations by Kezna Dalz support the book’s message that no two Black girls are the same, but they are all special–that to be a Black girl is a true gift. In this celebratory poem, Kezna and Shanice remind young readers that despite differences, they all deserve to be loved just the way they are.

Age group: All ages

Published by Metonymy Press

Recommended books can be purchased from most major bookstores in Canada.