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May 15, 2007

Local children’s book sets new publishing standards

Story PictureThere may be a crisis of governance in Belize right now but the Musa you’re most likely to see on television is not Said; it’s his son Yasser. And the reason has nothing to do with politics. While his dad comes under increasing fire, Yasser seems to build on success. Whether as president of NICH or–as in today’s case–proprietor of the Image Factory, Musa continues to introduce Belizeans to a world of art that has few limits. The latest offering comes from a former student whose talent has grown to an impressive level. News Five’s Stewart Krohn reports.

Girl #1 Reading
“Off the coast of Belize and enclosed within the waters of Lighthouse Reef lies an island known as Halfmoon Caye. Many creatures enjoy sanctuary here.”

Stewart Krohn, Reporting
It’s a slim little book–indeed two Standard Six students from Wesley Upper read it aloud in less than ten minutes–but what a gem! In thirty-eight pages of imaginative illustrations and elegant text, twenty-two year old Ian Sean Gibson has managed to produce a children’s book that is at once both universal and unmistakably Belizean.

Girl #2 Reading
“The island was not an island after all, it was a whale who had been swimming around in the Blue Hole for some time now and had at that moment sprayed a fountain of water over its blow hole.”

Gibson, a graduate of S.J.C. produced Booby Trap as his senior project to graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. And while he now has some academic credentials to accompany his natural talent, Gibson has been into art for a long time.

Sean Gibson, Author/Illustrator
“I was at the age of, I believe five or six and there was a friend of mine who was a lot older than me and drew cartoons and I guess it’s also partially acquired because I would look at his cartoons—and I wasn’t very good at first, but I keep drawing his cartoons over and over and over, trying to mimic what he did and eventually it just developed into my own style.”

And that style has combined fascinating drawings with a story line–involving the relationship between Frigates and Booby birds at Halfmoon Caye–that manages to pushy environmentalism without being pushy. According to Sean, it was his mother, pioneering Belizean conservationist Janet Gibson, who set him on the right track.

Sean Gibson
“She wanted to do something about the Booby birds. She felt sorry for them and want to cast them in a light where you can understand what kind of suffering they are going through, so you can understand how pristine Halfmoon Caye is and how it should be untouchable because it’s a very core ecosystem and it deserves remaining untouched and preserved.”

But don’t for a minute think that Booby Trap is just another kid’s book about the world of animals. The most important message carried by Gibson’s birds goes straight to the heart of the human condition.

Sean Gibson
“You might be oppressed in life, but if you have the willpower you can overcome anything.”

Stewart Krohn Reporting for News Five.

Gibson hopes that Booby Trap will be the first of a series built around local animals. The book, printed by Print Belize, is on sale at the Image Factory and other bookstores for fifteen dollars.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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