St. Mary’s School Spanish teacher, Danielle Y. C. McClean, a recent recipient of the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature, traveled with three other Burt Award winners to meet with students, teachers, librarians, and young people in Trinidad and Tobago from November 9-13, 2017, as part of the Read with Me Caribbean Author Tour.
A part of the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago, CODE’s Read With Me campaign is designed to promote the love and habit of reading by providing encouragement and inspiration. Ms. McClean had the opportunity to visit schools, libraries, and homes for at-risk youth across Trinidad and share her own love of reading, discuss its importance, and encourage its practice for pleasure.
Ms. McClean also appeared as a guest author at the 2017 Miami Book Fair on November 19, where she presented her middle-grade novel, Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge, at the Rescue Missions and Other Worlds event.
Ms. McClean holds advanced degrees in French, Spanish, and law, and is passionate about language, mythology, and learning about different cultures, which she eagerly shares with our students.
When asked to share details about her inspiration as an author, she commented, “I have always enjoyed reading and was that child who was genuinely happy to receive books for Christmas and on birthdays. Reading opened new worlds, sparked my creativity, and enhanced my written expression. I was comfortable with words – they were my friends – and began to keep a diary at the age of 8, faithfully writing about daily happenings and my feelings. I started to compose poems, short stories, and plays as a pastime, sharing them with my immediate family.
“Despite my love of writing, I did not set out to become an author. I pursued the study of languages and then law, and it was only when it became clear that the United States would be my home that I began to write a book that could link my future children to my dearly held native culture of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am often asked how long it took to write The Protectors’ Pledge. The process—from conception to publication—took nine years. It was a project that I believed in, was passionate about, and always came back to, no matter how long the manuscript was put aside. It has grown far beyond what I initially envisioned, and I marvel at the blessings that I have received as a result—most recently in the form of the CODE Read with Me author tour in Trinidad, during which I and three other Burt Award-winning authors visited schools, libraries, and homes for girls and boys to promote the love and habit of reading. Connecting reluctant readers with a story, seeing the spark in their eyes, and bringing the words on a page to life have been priceless gifts.”
St. Mary’s School is blessed that Ms. McClean shares her talents in the Spanish classroom and through literature, too!