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J is for Jamaica (World Alphabet) [Paperback]

Benjamin Zephaniah , Prodeepta Das
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Jan 2009 World Alphabet
From Cricket to Pumpkin, from Hummingbird to Yam - this is a photographic alphabet showing Jamaica in all its colourful diversity. In vibrant rhyming verse, Benjamin Zephaniah explores some of the sights, sounds and tastes of Jamaica, from the bustling capital of Kingston, to the peaceful and serene Blue Mountain. A perfect way to introduce children to this small and beautiful Caribbean island with a big heart.

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Frequently Bought Together

J is for Jamaica (World Alphabet) + Sing Me a Story!: Song and Dance Tales from the Caribbean: Song and Dance Stories from the Caribbean + Clever Anansi and Boastful Bullfrog: A Caribbean Tale
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Product details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; First paperback edition edition (15 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845076095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845076092
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 26.7 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Benjamin Zephaniah is probably one of the most high-profile international authors writing today, with an enormous breadth of appeal, equally popular with adults and children. Most well-known for his performance poetry with a political edge for adults and ground-breaking performace poetry for children, Benjamin has also written several urban novels for teenagers. Benjamin has his own rap/reggae band and has appeared on Desert Island Discs. He travels the world speaking about his books and poetry.


Product Description

Review

The striking coloured photographs on each page breathe meaning into the diversity of Jamaican life and contrast vividly the sometimes drab existence we have in the UK Not only in the bright colours but in the attitudes to life, which is for living, and love, which is for everyone (Carousel)

... beautifully vibrant photographs ... What makes this different from similar books, and therefore special for me, is that Benjamin doesn't stick to the usual touristy sights but shows us the zinc roofs of the downtown shanty towns in Kingston, the hair plaiting and the gatherings on the veranda, which are so much a part of life at the heart of the island. A lovely introduction to Jamaica for children ... (Val Bloom Junior Education)

This book is an enchanting way of introducing children to this beautiful Caribbean island, as well as sharing in Benjamin Zephaniah's passion for poetry. Prodeepta Das's photographs add authenticity and atmosphere to the book (Books for Keeps)

With a vivid poem and photograph for each letter of the alphabet, this is a beautiful introduction to all aspects of life in Jamaica. Sugar cane, pumpkin and ugli fruit are just some of the gorgeous foods on show, netball and cricket some of the sports. And behind it all is the wonderful background of a beautiful country. A book to feast the eye and the ear (Book Ahead 0-7)

This well-known series of photographically illustrated books has expanded to cover many worldwide localities. Although it is, strictly speaking, non-fiction the text here is unusual, and rather special: lovely, witty verses covering Jamaican life and people from A to Z. The author’s obvious affinity with this island comes across well, as folklore, poverty, colour and crops are all covered in sharp-eyed, sharply written pages with evocative photographs as a perfect accompaniment. (Boys into Books 5-11 Riveting Reads)

The verses are as full of Jamaican beauty as the stunning photographs. (Ibby Link)

With a vivid poem and photograph for each letter of the alphabet, this is a vivid introduction to all aspects of life in Jamaica. Sugar cane, pumpkin and Ugli fruit are just some of the gorgous food on show; netball and cricket are among the sports. Behind all are Prodeepta Das's atmospheric and vibrant photographs of a beautiful country. (Guardian)

About the Author

Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham, England. He cannot remember a time when he was not creating poetry but this had nothing to do with school where poetry meant very little to him, in fact he had finished full time education at the age of 13. His poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls 'street politics'. His first real public performance was in church when he was 10 years old, by the time he was 15 he had developed a strong following in his home town of Handsworth where he had gained a reputation as a young poet who was capable of speaking on local and international issues.

He loved Handsworth, he called it the Jamaican capital of Europe but although his work had become popular within the African-Caribbean and Asian community he thought the town was too small, he was not satisfied preaching about the sufferings of Black people to Black people, so he sought a wider mainstream audience. At the age of 22 he headed south to London where his first book Pen Rhythm was published by Page One Books. This was a small, East London based publishing co-operative that were keen on publishing poets who were rooted in their communities. They published Zephaniah when others failed to tune into the new poetry that was about to emerge. The book sold well going into 3 editions but it was in performance that the Dub (Reggae) Poet would cause a revolution, a revolution that injected new life into the British poetry scene and attracted the interest of many mainstream publishers, many of whom had sent refusal letters to him only 12 months earlier.

In the early Eighties when Punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about SUS Laws, high unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Zephaniah's poetry could be heard on the demonstrations, at youth gatherings, outside police stations, and on the dance floor. It was once said of him that he was Britain's most filmed, photographed, and identifiable poet, this was because of his ability to perform on stage, but most of all on television, bringing Dub Poetry straight into British living rooms. The mission was to take poetry everywhere, he hated the dead image that academia and the establishment had given poetry and proclaimed that he was out to popularise poetry by reaching people who did not read books, those that were keen on books could now witness a book coming to life on the stage. This poetry was political, musical, radical, relevant and on TV.

In the nineties his book publications, record releases and television appearances increased in Britain, although he has concentrated on performing outside Europe. He feels at home anywhere the oral tradition is still strong and lists South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan and Colombia as some of his most memorable tours. In fact life has been one long tour but this is the only way the oral tradition can live. Over a 22-day period in 1991 he performed on every continent on this planet.

Periodically The Benjamin Zephaniah Band takes to the road, the nature of the modern music business means recordings reach places around the globe a lot quicker than the poet does, and this means that many people around the world are more familiar with the poet's music than his performances, plays or books. His only official fan club developed in Malawi in Central Africa and his only Number One Hit Record was in the former Yugoslavia where the Rasta LP was released on the Helidon label. He was the first person to record with the Wailers after the death of Bob Marley in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela. Free South Africa by Benjamin Zephaniah and the Wailers was recorded at Marley's Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Mandela heard the tribute whilst in prison on Robben Island and soon after his release he requested an introductory meeting with Zephaniah, they have now built a relationship which has led to Zephaniah working with children in South African townships and hosting the President's Two Nation's Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in July 1996.

Most of his own musical recordings fall into the Reggae or Dub Poetry category, but his latest album 'Naked' defies categorisation. It is produced by the legendary drummer Trevor Morais and features artists as diverse as Howard Jones, Aref Durvesh, Rupert Heaven, Mike Cahen, Jamie West-Oram, Jean Alain Rousell, and Dennis Bovell. It is a mixture of Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Rock and house music. In order to compliment the music the graffiti artist Banksy gave exclusive permission for his artwork to feature in the 36 page booklet that comes with the CD. The album was critically acclaimed and received substantial radio airplay worldwide. On hearing the album Rodney P, Britain's' foremost Hip Hop artist and BBC radio DJ decided that was content with just playing the album, so he asked for permission to re-mixed four of the tracks, this put the album firmly on the dance floor. Other musical collaborations include 'Illegal' with Swayzak, 'Theatricks' With Kinobe and the classic 'Empire' with Sinead O'Connor.

To visit Benjamin Zephaniah's website click here



Prodeepta Das was born in Cuttack, in eastern India. He is a freelance photographer and author whose pictures have been published in over 20 children's books. In 1991 Inside India, which he also wrote, won the Commonwealth Photographer's Award. Prodeepta's books for Frances Lincoln are P is for Pakistan, Prita Goes to India, K is for Korea, We are Britain!, Geeta's Day, I is for India, J is for Jamaica, Kamal Goes to Trinidad, P is for Poland, T is for Turkey, S is for South Africa, R is for Russia and B is for Bangladesh.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jamaica Kids Book 30 July 2009
Format:Hardcover
I love this book. Great for showing my son the feel of the island and helping to understand his heritage. The language & rhyme is spot on to read to a 4 year old with nice clear pictures too - just wish I could find more books like this
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big up J.A! 24 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this book for my daughter as I wanted her to learn more about the rich and varied Jamaican culture, her father and grandad are Jamaican. It details the food, pastimes, people and wildlife in a rhyming style from A-Z e.g A is for Ackee, B is for Blue mountain and so on. It's a bit advanced for daughter, she's only 20 months, but she does enjoy looking at the pictures, the understanding will come later. The book is written with a lot of affection and pride for Jamaica (as you would expect) and best of all it is one of the few books my husband likes reading to our daughter! Which can only be a good thing.
Another excellent book from the talented Mr Zephaniah.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very nice 20 Dec 2013
By Gilly
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
nice cultural book, bought has a present for child of afro carribean parents, so could identify heritage am told the child loved it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jamaica 18 Sep 2013
By Ladydee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book for young children. Colourful pictures, easy to follow, great for using in schools to educate children about Jamaica. I got this for a 5 year old who wanted to know about hs Jamaican roots.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic ! 9 April 2011
By Pam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a year 1 primary school teacher and found this book excellent to inroduce the topic about the Caribbean. After reading this story to the children they then wrote their own Caribbean poem.
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