Jamaica Magazine

Book Review: Justice pon di Road

Justice pon di Road is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary island. It’s a new children’s picture book about the sights, sounds and tastes of Jamaican culture as experienced by a toddler and his Momma on a morning walk.

The book is about the kindness of strangers and attention little Justice receives from strangers they pass on the walk: the fruit man, a Rasta with a horse, two boys with a herd of goat, fishermen, the Patty Man, a woman in a taxi etc.  The book highlights the benefits and importance of exposing children to different parts of the world, in addition to presenting Jamaica as an ideal family friendly destination.

Illustrated with digitized photographs, the book has a sharp modern feel and small details beautifully capture tidbits of Jamaican culture: a cloud in the shape of the island, the doctor bird makes several appearances, a bottle of Ting, and even the national flower shows up.

While the story lends itself perfectly to a children’s picture book, one of the things that makes Justice pon di Road extraordinary is the back matter: there’s a glossary of patois terms (and food & fruits) used through the book.

The National Heroes of Jamaica are listed but also included are other notable Jamaicans such as Maurice Ashley (First Black Grandmaster of chess), Jody-Anne Maxwell (National Spelling Bee Champion) and Barrington Irving (World record holding pilot), among others.

The book also includes educational and factual information about Jamaica as well as gorgeous photographs of Reach Falls, Boston & Frenchman’s Cove beaches and a dish of ackee & saltfish with dumplings, callaloo and green banana.


In this story, Gibson shares so much of the Jamaican culture – more than I learned in any of my previous research. The story is about a toddler and his mother going for a walk on the road (pon di road as Jamaicans would say) while on a trip in Jamaica. The story is based on her own family visits to Jamaica. As you read the story you feel like you are experiencing the walk with them and get to really know a bit about the people they meet. When I read it I felt like I was watching Justice learn about a new place and get more comfortable while on the walk. Gibson uses the language of Jamaica throughout the story, and the reader sees how caring the Jamaican people are.

At the end of the story there are pages of information from a patois glossary for the terms used in the book to a map and information about Jamaica and Jamaican National Heroes and other celebrities. You gain so much knowledge just from these pages.

Finally Andy Chou did a beautiful job illustrating the book. The pictures are wonderful and tell the story right along with Gibson’s words. Chou did an amazing job showing details of the Jamaican culture. – Carrie (Crafty Moms Shares)

Justice Pon Di Road by Aliona Gibson is a travel diary of sorts through the eyes of her little boy, Justice.

Justice is visiting Jamaica for the first time to see where his father was born and so we discover this Caribbean gem in the way that most of us in the region often take for granted. A walk through a country village is a chance to take in the sights and sounds of island life. It also brings a reminder that not everyone is too busy to notice a newcomer and also that we can still care for each other.

Travel photos have been animated and words and phrases unique to Jamaica and other words which cross island borders are highlighted. The use of word sounds help to engage the reader and makes it a book that a parent or teacher will enjoy reading to young children.

Justice Pon Di Road is a treat as we observe fishermen bringing in the days catch, roadside sellers with their fruits and tasty goodies, and other people in the community who are making a living while looking out for their neighbours.

I have to say I smiled and cringed a bit at some of the advice that passengers on a taxi and people roadside dish out to the mother and child but that is Caribbean life. Everyone gets in your business and gives you child rearing tips whether you ask for it or not.

The glossary at the back provides details on the various Jamaican words and phrases used in the book, which may not be familiar to the reader.  More information on Jamaica is also given as the book closes. –Truly Caribbean

Aliona L. Gibson took her first trip international trip to Kenya as a high school graduate. She enjoys serving as a story time volunteer at her local preschool. This is her first book for children. She lives in Oakland, California.

Get your copy of Justice Pon Di Road here

About the author

Staff Writer