Author calls quick turnaround to publish book divine intervention

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Author calls quick turnaround to publish book divine intervention

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Senior staff reporter
dunkleywillisa@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 09, 2019

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A survey of their library of reading material for their very astute four-year-old jolted Kimberly Everett-Solomon and her husband Kori.

“We read a lot to her and of all the books we have there are no Jamaican books in the collection so we acquired one – but looking on the market, it's really limited,” said Everett-Solomon, who recently was one of the 110 exhibitors showcasing their products over two days during the fifth staging of 'A Jamaican Made Christmas', conceptualised by National Baking Company Chairman Gary “Butch” Hendrickson.

Out of that realisation, prodded by a dream of being an author which had marinated in her consciousness for years, Everett-Solomon, an advertising and marketing specialist, and her husband, a fine arts specialist and marketing professional, decided to exercise their inner scribe.

Enter, main character Piglert – whose name was chosen by the couple's daughter – a Jamaican pig who lost his very expressive grunt. But he is no ordinary pig and his journey is far from commonplace.

“This book is designed to help children with resilience and to help them understand that there are others who are different and they deserve their respect,” Everett-Solomon said.

In the story line, which has tickled adults and children alike, Piglert wakes up to find that his grunt is missing. The experiences the five stages of grief as he tries to process what is happening to him.
“He meets a lamb who can't bleat and it's another set of devastation because it can't speak to this lamb and so the lamb teaches Piglert sign language, and he realised life has not ended and he has a new friend and a new way to communicate. It's really about teaching children resilience and also allowing them to respect others. So it's empathy and resilience,” the newly minted author shared in-between chuckles.

What was new-found knowledge to her has also piqued the interest of her readers.

“Pigs are actually very emotional creatures. Research shows that they cry and they feel emotions, so when I thought of all the stages he goes through, processing five stages of grief, the pig came to mind first. I thought of the elephant, too, but most Jamaican children have seen a pig at least once,” Everett-Solomon shared.

The book, titled, The Pig Who Lost its Oink, which she says is a true family effort, has illustrations by her spouse and came together in three months – which she believes is nothing short of miraculous.

“The National Baking Company accepted the concept and I really appreciated their decision to accept my application. I am one of eight authors who are here; it has been great exposure. This is the fifth year that they are doing it. I came last year and I decided I have this story, let me see what can happen for me for this year,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“This is not normal. It took us three months in terms of writing, editing, proofing, illustrating, printing. This is absolutely not normal. When I think of how everything came together there was some sort of divine intervention that just brought everything together right until the last moment, because I collected these books on Friday at about 2:00 pm and the show began Saturday morning, so when I tell you God is good, trust me, God good. It's not normal; something like this would take 12 to 18 months in terms of production,” the animated author shared, evoking laughter from her captive audience.

She said plans are to have the book, which targets children ages four to 10, made available through several stores in the near future.

“The little people love it and the big people love it, too. I did not expect the reactions from grown persons; some people were unaware of the stages of grief,” Everett-Solomon said, noting that there will be a “follow-up” to the story.


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