Jamaica Magazine

Little Lion Goes to School – Jamaican Book

‘Little Lion Goes to School’ tells the story of a young Rastafarian boy, struggling to fit in at a new school where the children tease him for being poor and different. With his fathers’ help, he learns to value who he is, not what he possesses and that what makes him different, also makes him special. The book is written in rhyme and is meant for children 8 and under.

‘Little Lion Goes to School’ is the first in a series that will follow the young Rastafarian through his adventures growing up in the Caribbean. While the book is set in the Caribbean, its themes and message are appropriate for children of all ethnicities.

Praise for ‘Little Lion Goes to School’
“A strong, beautiful, wonderful story. Such a joy to read! Little Lion made my day.” ‘Miss Lou’, Dr. The Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley

“Little Lion sends a message that is badly needed in this world where children are intimidated by possessions. It is handled with a real understanding of the parent who recognizes the fears of a child and who can guide the child to be proud of what he has. A childrens book that teaches while it entertains. We need more of this kind of writing.” Prof. The Hon. Rex Nettleford. Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies

“Every child is a star and Little Lion shows every child how to shine in this world.” Jared McCallister. New York Daily News

“A great lesson for kids in understanding self pride and acceptance. Nuff respect Little Lion!” ‘Native’ Wayne Jobson. XM Satellite Radio

“Cute. Lots of fun and well written.” Dan Storper. President, Putumayo World Music Inc.

“Fun! The theme is terrific and the character is strong and endearing.” Dr. Rebecca Tortello. Professor of Education, former classroom teacher and author of ‘Nancy and Grandy Nanny’

“A story that children can easily relate to and one that carries a moral that will take them through life.” Alan Magnus. Host of Good Morning Jamaica

“An inspiring tale of courage, honor and self discovery – written in a poetic yet accessible style, with a theme children can easily identify with.” Delia Olufokunbi, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Associate.

About the Author: Kellie Magnus

Kellie Magnus is a Jamaican writer based in New York. She writes on the Caribbean arts, entertainment and media scene for numerous publications, including The Daily News (New York), The Jamaica Weekly Gleaner (New York), Caribbean Life (New York), Caribbean Beat (BWIA In-flight magazine), MACO: Caribbean Living (Trinidad) and The Ticket (Trinidad).

She is also a lyricist and is currently writing songs for reggae artists Abijah and Mikey Dread.

“I love telling stories about quirky and interesting characters,” says Kellie. “Whatever I’m writing – from a 3 minute song to a 3,000 word essay – I always try to get inside the head of the central character and really describe the world from his or her point of view.”

“With Little Lion, I wanted to create a character that Caribbean children could relate to and look up to. I think that Caribbean children – whether in the region or in the Diaspora – need to have their own characters that they can identify with; characters that convey positive values and Caribbean traditions.”

Kellie is also a Director with Media Magic New York, a firm that develops media projects and provides marketing and consulting services to artists and companies in the Caribbean American market.

Kellie has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and both a Master’s Degree in Educational Media and an MBA in Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia University.

She is a member of JAMPACT: Jamaica Impact Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors of the Harlem Youth Soccer Association.

About the Artist : Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson is a Jamaican artist whose diverse body of work includes painting, sculpture and computer generated imagery.

“I am an imagesmith, not a sculptor or a painter or graphic designer,” says Mike. “I am in the business of creating images that transfer ideas to the minds of others. Whether I create that image with pieces of wire or pigments and brushes or computer software, my aim is to get the idea across in the most efficient way.”

Mike is currently a graphic designer at the Jamaican Business Development Centre and is a co-owner of a t-shirt company that specializes in urban Jamaican designs.

He has won several awards at the national level – including a silver medal – for writing as well as fine art.

Mike is a founding member of Atman, a group of young Jamaican artists known for their habit of exhibiting in non-traditional spaces to make art more accessible to the wider community. He has exhibited at the Grosvenor and Mutual Life Galleries in Kingston and at group shows in the Caribbean and Japan.

Mike lives in Kingston, Jamaica with his wife Tammy, a psychologist and their six month old daughter, India.

“As a recent initiate to fatherhood, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to children’s books,” says Mike. “When this project came along, I was very impressed with the story. The messages were positive and meaningful and the storyline was fresh and undeniably Jamaican.”

“Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the project. As an illustrator, I was humming with ideas since the first time I read the draft. As a parent, I’m excited to be a part of a project that will make a valuable contribution to childhood education.”

Excerpt from ‘Little Lion Goes to School’: “Wake up, sleepy head”

Little Lion sat up in bed
His little locks fell round his head
He stretched out with a great big yawn
Outside it was barely dawn
A bit of blue in a black, black sky

“The sun’s not up
So why am I?”
Papa did not even smile
Little Lion thought a while
I need to make a rule that sticks
Little kids should sleep till six

Down the hill
They rode along
Papa and Little Lion
Past the church
Where Grandma prayed
The grassy field
Where his friends played
Pele and Bolt
And Brains and Cool
Every day right after school

Down the hill
And to the coast
Where the fishermen
Waited with their boats
Baldhead Benjy, Uncle Stan
Johnny Reds and Preacher Man
They talked and laughed
And drank some tea
The boats pulled out
They were at sea
The sky so blue
The sea so calm
The air so fresh
The sun so warm
Papa cast the net
And sang a song
” Come little fish
Come along, come along
Come to my net
Where you belong”

When I grow up
To be a man
Will I fish like you
And Uncle Stan?”
” Oh, Little Lion
You’ll be much more
Your new school will open the door
Tomorrow will be
A new beginning
With a good education
You can be anything”
Oh no. Oh no. This isn’t cool
Don’t make me go to that new school
Why can’t Papa change his mind?
I like my old school just fine
Looks like I need another rule
Kids should get to pick their school

Little Lion lay in his cot
If I’m lucky, Papa forgot
But there was the voice
At the foot of the bed
” Wake up, sleepy head”

For information and orders:

Website: http://www.jackmandora.com/
Email: Kellie DAT Magnus HAT jackmandora DAT com

About the author

Staff Writer