A group of young Belizean students collaborated with students of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to educate the world about jaguars, while they seek to encourage and foster the importance of literacy. The labor of the young students, ages nine through thirteen materialized into a book, called ‘Pat the (Great) Cat. The book covers information on Jaguars, the ecosystem as well as their history, geography and conservation. On Wednesday, the book was launched in Belmopan to coincide with the start of a literacy campaign across the country.

Nancy Kennedy, Pat the Cat

Nancy Kennedy

“After this book launch, it’s not just a book launch; it’s also the launching of this whole literacy project. We are going to go work in the schools with the help of Literacy volunteers from the Peace Corps; they are going to go out to the schools, take the book with them and that is how we are going to deliver the books to the schools. They will give tips on how to do the reading and the responses and have little things to do with each page and each chapter. So it will help the teachers if they are not sure how things are going, they learn some good ideas about how to read to the kids, how to get responses from the kids, etc. and so we are doing it in that way. I decided that will be how I’d like to get it. So we are going to travel to every district trying to get to as many schools as possible with this story. Btu on top of that a doctor from the University of New York will help the team to build the curriculum that will have activities to go along with this book and they are doing it not just by themselves; but we are having Belizean educators take part in the building of that curriculum. So it’s gonna be another cooperative effort”

Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for women and children

“I had the chance to read earlier today with the children and this book is really an incredible creation. Nancy Kennedy did an amazing job along with Barbara Thummalapally and I would really like to congratulate them. I think it will be a success. I love the fact that it was really the input from the children of Belize and the children of Milwaukee. I love the fact that there is already a curriculum attachment to it and it will not only be for Belizean children but for children in the United States and the Americas. It means that more and more people will be hearing of Belize and that is very important for us.”

While distribution has started in the U.S, it will be a couple of weeks before they become available in Belize. The book will be for sale online at www.patthegreatcat.com.

Channel 5