But not a full week into the school year and Albert Chance of Van Dorp bookstore had to re-order copies of An Introduction to Government and National Symbols of St. Martin, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Individual customers and schools may cause bookstores to pack in these books. “But I think there is a successful response to these books at this time because people who identify with the island, and people who want to identify with the nation’s history and culture, are openly hungry for more and more concrete information,” said Sample.
Sample may be correct, because not a day after Van Dorp received its order that Shipwreck shops had its National Symbols order fulfilled, said the publisher.
One educator who sees the response of students in the classroom to well-written books about St. Martin is Rhoda Arrindell. “I think the positive response is growing because as a people we are finding ourselves in the text; and students are making the connection with people, places, and events in the narrative,” said Arrindell.
“These books are making it comfortable now for students to go back to school with St. Martin books. It’s easier for the young, adults and older heads to take our books home, to the work place, on the beach or on vacation,” said Arrindell. As HNP’s senior editor, Arrindell has worked for years on a number of the titles that are only now becoming popular reading and study material.
An Introduction to Government – Island territory of St. Maarten by Louis Duzanson was first published in 2000. It remains the “island territory’s” only reader in English about how the island and executive councils and the lt. governor’s office work.
The easy-read book explains about the government budget and the responsibilities of island councilors, commissioners, and the lt. governor. “In the very near future, it will probably be used barely for comparison study because of planned adjustments to the territory’s government structure but right now that is not stopping Van Dorp customers,” said Sample.
National Symbols, also a primer, looks at the island as one “nation” and remains popular with teachers, students, the general population, and tourists for well-researched information about the culture, historical personalities, and natural environment of St. Martin, said Sample.
HNP’s reading motivation booklets for boys and girls about early nation builders in sports, music, religion, engineering, and house design from St. Martin, Saba and Statia are also available in bookstores.
Arrindell noticed during her stint with the St. Maarten Academy this year, and contrary to a popular belief, that when it comes to assigning books like National Symbols, The Salt Reaper poems, and Love Songs Make You Cry, teenagers, including boys read strongly, “and probably again it is because they see themselves in the narrative,” said the award-winning teacher.
Photo1: Introduction to Government by Louis Duzanson.
Photo1: Student interns at Min. Roland Duncan’s office with their copies of Introduction to Government. (file photo 2009)