The Legend of the Spirit Serpent Trade Book (Hardcover)
Written ByAdaiah Sanford
Illustrated byKen Daley
This modern retelling of a traditional Kalinago legend from the Caribbean island of Dominica recounts the story of a huge serpent who once guarded the indigenous people. This book is the winner of the 1st Annual Caribbean Writer’s Contest sponsored by Reycraft Books and the Ducreay Foundation.
GenreLegends, Myths and Legends
ThemeCivilizations of the Americas, Culture, Stories from Many Times and Places, World Cultures
BISAC Subject HeadingsLegends, Myths, Fables / Caribbean & Latin American Juvenile Fiction / Monsters Juvenile Fiction / Social Issues / Friendship
Legends, Myths, Fables / Caribbean & Latin American Juvenile Fiction / Monsters Juvenile Fiction / Social Issues / Friendship
Best Children’s Multicultural Books of 2022 by CSMCL
Evanston Public Library Great Books for Kids 2022
Author & Illustrator
Adaiah Sanford, the winner of the 1st Annual Caribbean Writer's Contest sponsored by Reycraft Books and the Ducreay Foundation, lives on the island of Dominica. She is the youngest of five children and born to parents of Kalinago descent. Adaiah’s passion for writing books began in Kindergarten, where she made leaflets and scribbled stories within the pages. She started sharing Kalinago words via short videos on social media. Adaiah’s passion for the revival of the Kalinago language resulted in her first book: The Beginner’s Guide to the Kalinago Language. The Legend of the Spirit Serpent is based on a story passed down through the generations to Kalinago children. The cave in the story is an actual tourist’s attraction site within the Kalinago Territory called the L’Escalier Tete Chien, where a huge serpent was said to have once lived and guarded the indigenous people. The legend was adjusted to include Natari, a brave Kalinago girl like Adaiah.
Ken Daley’s passion lies with stories that reflect his heritage as the child of immigrants, his connection to the Caribbean, and the richness and expanse of the African Diaspora. He believes that diverse stories are essential to creating a more just, and equitable world, and this is something he is deeply committed to manifesting through his art. As an award-winning illustrator, he is known for his use of bold colours, and authentic details to depict Black Life, in all its iterations.
Ken has exhibited his artwork within Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, and can be found in numerous private collections. He has illustrated five published children’s books - Joseph’s Big Ride, Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings (nominated as one of the best picture books in 2018 by Kirkus Review), A Feast for Joseph, In the Spirit of a Dream, and Jayden’s Impossible Garden.
★ Based on the ancient legend of Bakwa, a giant snake that emerged from the Atlantic Ocean and proclaimed itself guardian of Dominica’s Indigenous people, this transporting picture book is engrossing, with atmospheric language. Daley’s cinematic, color-drenched illustrations revitalize Kalinago artifacts and symbols and are the stuff of animated blockbuster movies. Electrifying are moonlight scenes of Natari ascending a natural staircase resembling L’Escalier Tête Chie, a real-life landform said to have been formed when Bakwa climbed a cliff, and facing the majestic snake in its glittering domain. All characters are brown skinned. A rare jewel of a tale that asserts the place of Indigenous Caribbean lore within the picture-book tradition.