E.P Yorke educator Melissa Bradley came together with a socially
distanced group of supporters at the Image Factory this morning to
discuss her new book, La Partera.
It's a tale rooted in tradition and Magical Realism and this morning
Bradley told Cherisse Halsall where she believes the book fits in
Belize's fledgling literary canon.
Melissa Bradley - Author, La Partera
"La Partera is folklore, it's a story that has its setting in a Hispanic
community and it looks at culture, the richness of culture and how people
are influenced and also changes that eventually affect them and cause them
to stand up for themselves as a community. My first influence for writing
this book is actually my mom who used to tell us a lot of folklore stories
when we were little and so I always wanted to continue that tradition with
my children but we know in the modern times it's not really a thing."
And rather than give up on the stories and the valuable lessons that she'd
received from oral tradition, Bradley decided to commit them to paper.
There are traditions that are evident in the book's namesake and lead
character: a midwife, a figure who in the past held the strength of a
community in her hands.
"The main character one of the main character's is the midwife herself and
she is a very strong character, she's manipulative and she's all about
control, controlling people and having things her way having things go her
way but she's interrupted in her experience when a male from the story got
educated and he started to reveal truths to his people and so this kind of
threw her off her way of thinking and doing things because she was not used
to this type of resistance."
La Partera's characters were brought to life in vivid detail by artist Nisa
Sanchez. The book is her first foray into illustration, and this morning
she shared the process behind two of its most striking images.
Nisa Sanchez - Artist/ Illustrator
"La Partera the midwife she's stirring she's brewing up this concoction to
try and draw out some sort of evil spirit so, I'm not trying to spoil the
book right, but that illustration I don't know it hit me because I wanted
to make her seem so evil like she's making this sort of mix with animal and
plant mixture just to draw out something scary, that's why you see a lot of
with the colour scheme you see a lot of green to it because those kinds of
colours they just, it's supposed to scare you."
While other images strike you:
"For that illustration what I did I looked into, I had a little bit of
inspiration from stories of La Xtabai and from La Sucia which comes from.
Hispanic folklore into it, stories that my own mom would tell me, my dad
would tell me so for that specific illustration I looked into La Xtbai and
La Sucia and I tried to make it but I wanted to make it seem as if she was
going into that realm and just going into something else and that's what
the reader can expect from the pages of La Patera, passage, however brief,
into another world. Still, author Melissa Bradley says that what you
encounter there is more than translatable."
"Although it might seem to be supernatural, there is a lot of context that
we can look at literally from the information given here. Our students, our
children are not reading as much as they should and so I said what better
way to do or to encourage them than to have them experience the past in the
present and so I introduced La Partera, a creative tale of community
activism and strength so that students realize that they as individuals can
make a difference wherever they are."
The book is being sold for only $20BZ. Those wishing to order and
purchase a copy can call 629-9411.
"Paranda Boy" is a book about a young Garifuna boy gifted a magical guitar "Paranda Boy" is a book about a young Garifuna boy who is gifted a magical guitar that transports him to new places. We spoke with the authors of the book about their inspiration. They explained that it was written in hopes that it encourages children to chase their most ambitious dreams. The book will be available on August 14th. They are hoping to also donate some books to children in Belize and Honduras.
Clayton "C. Wills" Williams - Author/Creator, Paranda Boy Keyla Williams - Author/Creator, Paranda Boy