These N.S. kids wrote about their Black community. Now it’s a book | Article

These N.S. kids wrote about their Black community. Now it’s a book | Article

North Preston is one of Canada’s oldest black communities


Students from North Preston, Nova Scotia are published authors and illustrators. North Preston is one of the oldest black communities in Canada. More than two years ago, a class of 5th/6th class with a class project. The illustrated guide to your community is now available. The students got together last week to celebrate their work. Find out what makes their community special. ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

Laughter and chatter could be heard in the hallway at Nelson Whynder Elementary School last week as a group of teenagers wandered through their old school.

These kids, now in junior high, returned to their old homes to celebrate a project they worked on there in North Preston, Nova Scotia.

Today the project is a book called The ABC’s of North Preston.

The children are his authors and illustrators.

You’ve grown up a lot since then.

“I was happy,” said Latajiah Fatima, 13, in an interview with CBC Kids News when asked how it felt to see her book for the first time.

“But I also wish I had made my picture better. I mean look at the birds!” She laughed.

Latajiah designed the cover, which features a word or phrase for each letter of the alphabet and highlights a person or part of their city.

The book is a celebration of the history and culture of this unique Black community, told from children’s perspective for children.

Latajiah Fatima shows the cover of the book she helped create, including her drawing of Nelson Whynder Elementary School. (Credit: Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

How the book came about

The book was originally a project started by Amie Carnes-Arsenault, a 5th/6th grade teacher. class that was looking for a way to teach two key subjects to both classes.

Her class needed to learn about the history and culture of African Nova Scotians, so she had an idea.

She combined the two by encouraging students to share what they knew about their North Preston community.

Located about 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Halifax, North Preston is one of Canada’s oldest black communities.

“Our ancestors have been here for 400 years,” said Principal Anne Johnson-McDonald.

North Preston, located outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s oldest black communities. (Credit: Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

“Originally, our people were brought here expecting that they would not survive. They were brought in during the winter,” Johnson-McDonald said.

Some of the first settlers in North Preston were black Loyalists (people loyal to the British) who fled the United States after gaining independence.

Others were Jamaican.

“But we survived. Not only did we survive, we made it,” she said.

Whom the children have chosen to honor and represent

From the church to local celebrities, the students chose a topic and drew a picture for each letter of the alphabet.

“We have a lot of great leaders and it’s just fun,” said Kamora Cain, 11.

She drew a picture of Quentrel Provo, a North Preston anti-violence activist, and said other children might be interested in learning more about him.

“It’s really interesting to read about someone who is a leader,” Kamora said.

Tianna Smith, 12, drew a picture of Reeny Smith, a singer-songwriter who attended elementary school as a child.

Tianna Smith, right, shows the picture she drew of Nova Scotia singer-songwriter Reeny Smith, left, who also grew up in North Preston. (Credit: Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

Reeny was at school to celebrate with the students.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Reeny said of the role in the book.

“[It’s] I just want to assure you that you are doing the right thing, being a role model and spreading a positive message.”

Kalayjhia Beals, 13, wrote the I Am For Intelligence letter to all the people and business owners who have inspired her in the city.

She also introduced tREv, a clothing company that makes jogging suits, t-shirts and hats.

“It represents more than just a clothing brand,” Kalayjhia said. “He stands for respect and education.”

Kalayjhia Beals holds up the page she wrote and designed with local clothing company tREv. The letters of the name stand for trust, respect, education and worth. (Credit: Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

How does it feel to be a published author?

Classmates at Nelson Whynder Elementary School seemed thrilled to have their own book in their hands.

When asked how she felt about the release, Kalayjhia said she was excited.

“I’m kind of surprised because I didn’t know it was going to come out and be released,” she said.

They held a special meeting on January 27 to officially launch the book.

Many of the local celebrities featured in the book were also in attendance and received copies.

Musicians, entrepreneurs and activists gathered at Nelson Whynder Elementary School to celebrate the publication of the book that features them. (Credit: Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

The North Preston ABC can be purchased online through the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute.

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