This article was submitted by Bermudian author Mwalimu Melodye Micëre Van Putten at the invitation of BermudaReal.com, following the launch of her latest book, which is on sale locally at The Bookmart.

Admittedly, she said she was “amazed” that the book, which retails for $55 ” sold out the first night of the book launch last week.

“The manager at Bookmart called early Saturday morning to ask me if I still wanted to come to the book signing as they, too, had SOLD OUT before we could have it. A new shipment is on order with a waiting list of two dozen folks,” said Ms Van Putten.

“Another reading and book signing will be scheduled once the new shipment of books arrives at both the Bermuda National Library and Bookmart.”

Author: On Ashay! Bermuda Stories for Children

By: Mwalimu Melodye Micëre Van Putten

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The Bermuda National Library hosted the book launch of Mwalimu Melodye Micëre Van Putten’s highly anticipated book, ‘Ashay! Bermuda Stories for Children’ on Thursday, May 19th, and it was a sell out!

The demand for this book carried over to the scheduled book signing at Brown & Co’s Bookmart, where the book sold out before the book signing could happen. A new shipment of the books is due to arrive in a couple of weeks; many are already spoken for with pre-orders.

Years in the making, ‘Ashay! Bermuda Stories for Children’ is a coffee-table book – in full, vibrant colour, over 150 pages, printed on thick, glossy paper. It is beautifully illustrated by Bermudian artist and educator, Mrs. Angela Ming-Bean, a veteran art teacher in the Ministry of Education.

Mwalimu Van Putten is an Africalogist, educator, lecturer and award-winning poet with eight books and two cd’s to her credit.

According to Mwalimu Van Putten: “The intention and purpose of Ashay! Bermuda Stories for Children is to provide an exciting and important opportunity for parents and grandparents to be able to teach their children the history armed with academically based and empowering
information.”

The book begins with the scientific fact that Black people were the first people to live on the earth; Bermuda’s history is placed within the context of the longer existence of African people. It provides academically based information about Kemet (ancient Egypt), the African Empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay, the values of Ma’at and what African ancestors valued (education, artisans).

The financial institution of enslavement is approached from a very truthful perspective and references the ‘new slavery’ practiced by some young people today – poor attitudes in school, mis-education and having no goals.

Ashay! Bermuda Stories for Children includes the stories of Sally Bassett, the poison plots, Joseph Rainey and Mary Prince; it discusses the formation of the Bermuda Industrial Union, the Bermuda Workers’ Association and Dr. E.F. Gordon’s pivotal leadership role. It also includes the 1959 Theatre Boycott and National Heroes Dame Lois Browne Evans and Dr. Pauulu Kamarakefego (Roosevelt Brown).

Individual stories conclude with glossaries and study questions; the book ends with lessons for today’s young people.

Van Putten is the creator of the Ashay: Rites of Passage program that was once in Bermuda’s public schools at the middle school level but was discontinued. She currently teaches in her adult continuing education programme, Ashay University and lectures abroad.

Having received numerous academic, civic and governmental awards and citations, she is also the subject of a documentary film, Healing History (A Kristin Alexander film) highlighting her work as an African-centered educator with adults, children and performance poetry in Bermuda and in the United States. Released in 2015, the film has been screened in Bermuda, the United States, Jamaica, the Cameroon and Cannes, France. She is married to Bermudian W. Carvel Van Putten and splits her time between Bermuda and her native Philadelphia.

By Ceola Wilson

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