by Dawn Reyes
Children’s activity books focusing on preserving and promoting Chamorro culture and addressing important social issues
About this project
Latte People Books- Culturally Relevant Teaching Tools based on Guam Legends!
My Latte People Books are locally produced children’s activity books based on Chamorro (Guam) legends. Each book is an interactive mini humanities lesson featuring a full color glossy soft cover, original artwork illustrating the legend, Chamorro and English story pages, art activity pages, language learning activities, cultural and historical notes that help explain the origins, meaning and moral of the story, and guiding questions designed for teachers and parents to engage children in discussion about the social situations presented by the story.
The Latte People motif is derived from the shape of the Latte Stone, which Ancient Chamorros used as supports to elevate their homes and other shelters. The Latte is unique to the Marianas Islands and only found on Guam, Rota and Tinian. Next to language, the Latte is one of the most important and enduring symbols of the strength of character in the Chamorro people.
One of the series, “The Boy Who Leaped to Rota”, is already published and out in book stores and other venues supporting locally produced cultural items. At least four of the local elementary schools own 100 copies each. It has been featured in two local magazines, on two local radio stations, and on the local televised news station. I have been invited to present to schools and libraries during the Chamorro month celebrations and have exhibited the original art work in local galleries. If you would like to see the original art work, you will find it for all three books on my FaceBook page- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dawn-Lees-Reyes/1560989264130869.
Because of the very positive response to the first book, I have been encouraged to create two more: The Story of Sirena and The Tale of Two Lovers. The Sirena book is being partially supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This grant covers the production of a prototype, but does not support reproduction or shipping, and this is where I need additional support. Kickstarter funds will be used to print and ship 2500 units of each book to Guam by October, 2015.
This timing is entirely possible since the Sirena book is undergoing the last of it’s review process prior to printing. The Tale of Two Lovers is translated and illustrated and the development of the other components of the book is nearing completion, which will put me well ahead of the August deadline in order to get the books printed and shipped to Guam by October.
Guam became my permanent home 16 years ago. For 10 of those years I taught art in the public school system. I’ve been a practicing artist for nearly 30 years and have had exhibits on Guam and in Europe. I also have a broad and varied business background, so I am no stranger to deadlines and planning. These books are important because they provide an opportunity to engage in the Chamorro culture and language through art and story telling. From the beginning, my platform for these books has been to provide culturally relevant educational tools to teachers and parents. Your generous donations will go a long way in helping me to perpetuate and promote the culture of a great people.
Risks and challenges
Guam is a tropical island and we are subject to typhoons. Sometimes these events can interrupt operations for several weeks. The contingency plan for typhoons is always be ahead of the game and make sure there is adequate time to complete a project.
There is always a possibility that the books will arrive at the port damaged and require a re-do. Shipment is by boat and re-do’s can set things back for several months.
There is always a possibility that people I am depending on for lay out may not follow through. While I feel I have chosen the best people for the work I need done, there are other alternatives on island.