Itah Sadu writes a children's book about Leroy's first day of school in Canada
Children’s Literature – First Day At School In Canada For Jamaica’s Leroy
By Stephen Weir
Immigration and children is The hot topic button today. The differences between Canada’s approach and the United States have never been so profound. In the genre of Children’s Literature, Toronto author, storyteller and bookstore owner Itah Sadu’s latest book (her sixth) – Greetings, Leroy – is suddenly germane to the discussion.
Itah Sadu has written a new children’s picture book as an email to a friend back home about Roy’s first day at a Canadian school. His family has just moved to Canada from Jamaica. His new home is different from his old home – in in the North, even the sun feels cold! His nerves ease, though, as welcome reminders of home follow him through his day.
It begins when his neighbour gives him a Bob Marley button as a gift to get him through that stressful first day at school. The principal tells him about the soccer team and his new class makes him feel welcome. Everything is looking up until Roy looses his button! Roy looks everywhere, including the principal’s office, before finding it in an unexpected place and is able to show it to his new friends. The friendly people he meets, and their shared love of Bob Marley, make for a good start in his new country. By the end of the day, Roy is happy to find a piece of his old home in his new home.
“ There are a lot of great books out there for kids in terms of their first day at school, but this is unique in that it addresses the Caribbean Canadian story of Day One,” explained author Itah Sadu. “Leroy is every child. I didn’t base Roy on any one person but rather I’ve included stories that I have been told by many adults (from Jamaican to Ireland) about their first experiences here.”
The book, published by House of Anansi Press, has been out for about six months and, is doing well. With book fair season just about to begin in Canada, Greetings, Leroy will be making the rounds.
“ The funny thing is, I own a bookstore (A Different Booklist on Bathurst Street) and I haven’t done enough to promote it,” laughed Sadu. “ Been so busy pushing other authors and their events, that I haven’t gotten around to talking about mine.”
“That will change this summer, and we are hoping for good things,” she continued. “ Greetings, Leroy is a gentle story with a strong strong message. As Bob Marley says, One Love.”
Sadu captures the voice of a young boy in a new country in this story about finding a new home while still staying proud of where you’re from. Haitian artist Alix Delinois shows the joy of making new friends with his vibrant, layered paintings.