A new children’s book will soon be out, and it’s set right here on the island. Steve takes a Stand is the first in a series of books, called Soualigan Tales, which will highlight local iconic historical figures, as well as moral lessons. In this first book, the author Ralph Cantave explores the topic of bullying, and highlights three local historical figures: entrepreneur Lionel Bernard Scott (better known as L.B. Scott), political advocate Leonides Richardson, and publisher Jose Lake Senior.
Mr. Cantave is a journalist and writer, and has always wanted to write about the island, he told The KIDS Herald. When telling us about himself, he said, “I enjoy sharing information, empowering people, and learning.” Besides writing, you can also hear Mr. Cantave on the radio. He is also an entrepreneur (someone who sets up a business), as he started The Johnny Caker with his wife, Charity Cantave, a few years ago. Mr. Cantave has published two books before this one.
In this book, as well as the future books belonging to this series, Mr. Cantave wants to include “real life stories of our local heroes and ‘she-roes’, so that their stories live on. There are so many people to write about, and every story defines our national heritage. I want people to see themselves in that. The goal for the series is to write specifically for St. Maarten/St. Martin children, so that our history lives on.”
So, what should we know about the main character Steve before we get started?
Steve is a young boy, growing up in Downstreet, in the early 1960s. He lives with his grandmother, Ms. Mary. His parents left the island to work in the Lago oil refinery in Aruba. This was the reality for many St. Maarteners/St. Martiners at the time.
Steve is facing a problem with bullying. One day, as he’s walking through town, he comes across L.B. Scott, Leonidas Richardson, and Jose Lake Senior, one by one. As they stop and talk, he gets to ask them lots of questions, and also asks them about bullying.
They each share their personal stories, which have a common theme: triumph over adversity. They too were bullied, Steve learns. Through these interactions with his elders, Steve not only learns about history, but he feels empowered and gains a sense of strength and courage.
Through Steve’s eyes, you can learn a lot of interesting things about an important era in local history, and some of the people who helped to shape our story. References to local monuments, illustrations by Shamika Popo, and conversations in St. Maarten English help to bring the story to life.