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Jamaica's 10-year-old author supported by PM at book launch

MAKING HISTORY: Young author Shaun Brown

A WELL-organised, professionally efficient book launch is a treat for any guest, but when the author hasn't even started to grow facial hair, it's even more unique.

Ten-year-old Shaun Brown impressed friends and family who turned out to support him at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa last week for the launch of his book, The Candle and the Bear and Other Stories.

Among those who turned out to support Shaun was newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith, who delivered the main address.

Before going into her address, however, Johnson Smith read a letter from Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who congratulated the young author on what he described as a noble achievement.

Johnson Smith afterwards indicated that Shaun's milestone was an achievement for Jamaica.

"Jamaica is proud of Shaun. He has made history as the youngest published author in Jamaica and the Caribbean. He is among the top 10 young authors in the world. What an achievement!" she declared.

"This is an achievement for his family, the Shortwood Practising Primary, his teacher, and Jamaica. In our modern fast-paced digital world, it is wonderful to see a child taking delight in the simple pleasures of writing and reading," she told the gathering.

The minister used the occasion to urge parents to create a nurturing environment to allow their children to excel and added that each individual was unique.


CELEBRITY FANS: Shaun Brown (right) reads an excerpt of his book to Usain Bolt after meeting the Olympian at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last week

"Surely, the significance of this moment cannot be lost on us as a society. This success is an example for us all as to the possibilities that lie within our children when they are provided with the opportunities in the context of a nurturing home and an enabling school environment," she said.

"It is true that he must be gifted, and it is also true that he must be highly imaginative and self-motivated, but the support from his parents must have been a huge contributor to his success. We can't help but wonder how many more 'Shauns' are out there with God-given talents to achieve and excel in addition to the capacity to make a difference in our world," she said.

"I am convinced that the light that shines through him also illuminates through the hearts and minds of kids his own age throughout Jamaica."

Meleisa Witter, manager at Pelican Publishers, recalled how ecstatic she was when she first met the 10-year-old.

AUSPICIOUS OCCASION

"I feel very proud as a representative of Pelican Publishers to celebrate this auspicious occasion with friends and family. For me, book launches are celebrations because writing is difficult. Believe it or not, the shorter they are, the more difficult it is, but Shaun has written not one, but six interesting stories," Witter said.

"When I met with his mother, we started talking. During that time, she handed me the manuscript, and after about 10 seconds of going through it, I realised that I wasn't paying him a favour, I was actually paying Pelican Publishers a favour. I recall when we met, he asked all the questions. I was more on the spot than when I meet with my adult writers. I am looking forward to great things," she said.

In his brief reply, Shaun gave credit to God, his parents, and sponsors, including the National Commercial Bank and The Gleaner Company, among others.

He was also presented with a Dell Inspiron laptop from Sure Financial Services.

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