We are proud and honored to share the BIG NEWS that the Grenada Community Library’s first publication, a children’s coloring book entitle The Grenada Chocolate Family was named BEST IN THE WORLD at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (considered the “Oscars” of Cookbooks) in Yantai China in the Fundraising and Charity category, and, 3rd place (but still Best in The World) in the Caribbean Cookbook World Cuisine, and Chocolate (tied with Paul A Young’s UK publication, Sensational Chocolate) categories. It is the only book among 97 finalist to have won in three separate categories.
Who?! What?! Where?! and What does this amazing news have to do with us?
Keep on reading to find out how the whole thing unfolded…
In 2015 the Grenada Chocolate Fest, an annual event organized by our boutique resort, invited some of the youngest members of the Grenada Community Library to take part in the festival at it’s closing day Chocolate Extravaganza and Bazaar. The Grenada Community Library was opened in 2013 through the efforts of a few concerned community members. The National Public Library closed its doors in 2011 due to continued insufficiently addressed structural deterioration of the library’s building which was initially damaged by Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005). This left Grenada without a free and safe space where the public could have access to books for over 2 years.
The intention behind organizing this fun outing for the children was:
- To educate them about cocoa and chocolate production in Grenada through creative expression; and
- to raise awareness among festival goers about the library’s struggle to keep it’s doors open due to financial constraints.
That day the children made lots of fun cocoa and chocolate themed art and craft and read a story which they wrote at the Grenada Community Library’s free creative writing program facilitated by the library’s co-founder; Oonya Kempadoo. The narrative of the story was contributed to by over 15 children between the ages of 6 and 12. It takes it’s audience on a journey through the eyes of children following the process chocolate making from mountain tops of Mt. Qua Qua where cocoa pod babies grow on the cocoa tree called Mama Le Sedi to its evolution into chocolate bars, traditional cocoa tea balls, chocolate cake and other delicious chocolate confections.
Founder of Grenada Chocolate Fest and part owner of our boutique resort, Magdalena Fielden, and Oonya Kempadoo thought it would be a great to turn this story into a publication. Acclaimed Grenadian writer, playwright and actor Richardo Keens Douglas together with Kempadoo edited the children’s narrative into a storybook. At the time Magdalena was preparing to open House of Chocolate, a chocolate museum and boutique and had enlisted the help of Italian creative Sara Scodeller. By profession Sara is an illustrator. She volunteered at the Library’s arts and craft program and was asked to illustrate the book in consultation with local artist and illustrator, Stacey Byer, who advised it be done in coloring book style.
Sara Scodeller and Oonya Kempadoo at the books launch at the Grenada National Museum
Rausch Cacao Stiftung (“Rausch”), a German Chocolate Company using Grenada cocoa was interested in sponsoring an educational based project in Grenada. Rausch in collaboration with House of Chocolate and and True Blue Bay Boutique Resort financed the printing and transportation (respectively) to Grenada of the first copies of The Grenada Chocolate Family. The books arrived just in time for the third annual Grenada Chocolate Fest in 2016 where they were officially launched at Grenada National Museum. Approximately 40 primary school children, their teachers, a few festival goers , cocoa farmers and chocolatiers were in attendance.
Launching and promoting The Grenada Chocolate Family throughout Grenada Chocolate Fest 2016
Half of all The Grenada Chocolate Family books printed are given to primary school children free of charge and the other half are sold- all proceeds from sales go directly to keeping the library open. Local cocoa and chocolate businesses including: Belmont Estate, Grenada Chocolate Company and Rococo Chocolates in the UK bought copies of the book to sell without commission and therefore support the libraries cause.
Towards the end of 2016 the book captured the attention of Mr. Edouard Cointreau, president of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Upon a personal invitation from Mr. Cointreau, who felt that The Grenada Chocolate Family was “very special” the Grenada Community Library entered the competition representing Grenada among 211 other competing countries. A few months later it was announced that The Grenada Chocolate Family won the national award and thus became a finalist for the following categories: Charity and Fundraising, Caribbean Cookbook World Cuisine, Chocolate and Children. It was the only book in the 2017 competition to be finalist in 4 categories.
Youngest member of the Grenada Community Library (including some of the children who contributed to the narrative) celebrating its success at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards.
On 27th and 28th May Oonya Kempadoo, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Grenada Embassy in Beijing and the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (airfare and accommodation respectively), attended the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Yantai China to receive the awards personally on behalf of the Grenada Community Library.
Grenada Community Library co-founder, Oonya Kempadoo, in Yantai China moments after The Grenada Chocolate Family was announced BEST IN THE WORLD
Imagine that! What an inspiring story of the potential of something as simple as an after school creative writing class. It birthed an authentic tale told by children, now recognized as one the best in the world, about how a cocoa bean becomes chocolate in their home island. This is testament to the potential of having free access to a safe space for reading, learning, imagination and creativity.
Magdalena Fielden comments “True Blue Bay Boutique Resort and House of Chocolate are proud to be part of such a great achievement for education and the cocoa and chocolate industry in Grenada. I invite readers to help the library in any way possible by purchasing one of ”The Grenada Chocolate Family” books or donating kids books, money and or materials to the library.”
If you are staying with us you can get your copy of this award winning book at our gift shop, Truebluetique. It is also available throughout the island at book and gift shops including House of Chocolate on Young Street near the Grenada National Museum . You can also find it on Amazon.