A local author is of the view that Barbados can do a lot more to promote the island’s heritage among our children.
Troy Harewood, who recently released a colouring book aimed at young children entitled “Counting with Sir Gary”, which features illustrations along with information on the cricketing exploits of Barbados’ only living National Hero, Sir Garfield Sobers, told Barbados TODAY: “When children are younger they are asked to bring puzzles to school; why can’t we have puzzles with pictures of well-known Barbadians, places of interest, chattel houses or some of our historic buildings? “Some years ago, I visited Antigua and we went to a market area, and every shop had ornaments, clothing, and other items with the name “Antigua” on them, and much of it looked locally made. And these were small vendors, not big stores.”
He shared the view that Barbadians did not do enough to encourage their colleagues who had business ideas, and that this may be holding the country back.
“We just don’t seem to have that passion for each other’s art. I also knew someone who was building mini chattel houses but eventually I believe he stopped because he did not get much mileage with it. If we had that kind of entrepreneurial spirit and truly fostered it, and worked together instead of trying to pull each other down, the economy would grow.”
On the subject of his publication, Harewood said: “I consider Sir Gary my hero, in that he rose from humble beginnings to the top of his professional career, and I do not think that we as Barbadians have really shown our appreciation and love for him.
“So from time to time, I had thoughts about doing something because of my son, Nathaneal, and I decided on a colouring book because it would have been the right book for his age when the idea first came to me in 2016 when he was four years old.”
Harewood described Sir Garfield as a “cool easy-going man” who liked the idea of the book from the very outset and often checked in with him to see how it was progressing. However, the process was a painstaking one.
“Initially I had done a draft, which was limited, in that it just featured numbers, cricket items, and pictures of Sir Garfield doing cricket strokes. But the first time I met with Sir Gary, he sent me to his agent and he suggested making it more solid, and I ended up doing the pages that same night. I drew up what I wanted, then I took that material to a graphic artist who drew it up on her computer. I also researched information on his records and the artist designed the cover and put that information on the pages.
“Now, the agent did not like some of the pictures used in the first draft as he did not think they resembled Sir Gary and this put the project on hold for a while. However, we accepted that we wanted only the best in terms of what we portrayed, and the agent brought in someone to do another sample copy, but even though that second artist made some changes it still was not up to par. So at that point, I had to sit with the graphic designer again to ensure everything was in order. The book initially came out in 2019, but my efforts to promote it back then did not quite work out, so I decided to relaunch it now.”
Harewood stated that he considered the challenges he faced in bringing the book to market a “learning experience for my son, as he would have seen my efforts to bring the project to fruition and my determination to keep at it despite the various issues that came up.”
He has a second project in the works, which is a story highlighting Sir Garfield’s historic six sixes in one over in England in 1966.