Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 8
- Grade: k to 5
A Kirkus Reviews most anticipated picture book of fall 2019 by Nadia L. Hohn, named one of CBC’s “6 Black Canadian writers to watch”
Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as Miss Lou, was an iconic poet and entertainer known for popularizing the use of patois in music and poetry internationally—helping to pave the way for artists like Harry Belafonte and Bob Marley to use patois in their work. This picture book tells the story of Miss Lou’s early years, when she was a young girl growing up in Jamaica.
As a child, Miss Lou loved words—particularly the Jamaican English, or patois, that she heard all around her. As a young writer, Miss Lou felt caught between writing “lines of words like tight cornrows,” as her teachers instructed, and words that beat more naturally “in time with her heart.”
The uplifting and inspiring story of a girl finding her own voice, this is also a vibrant, colorful, and immersive look at an important figure in our cultural history. With rich and warm illustrations bringing the story to life, A Likkle Miss Lou is a modern ode to language, girl power, diversity, and the arts.
End matter includes a glossary of Jamaican patois terms, a note about the author’s #OwnVoices perspective as a Jamaican-Canadian writer, and a brief biography of Miss Lou and her connection to Canada, where she lived for 20 years.
About the authors
NADIA L. HOHN is a writer and educator. Her first picture book, Malaika’s Costume, won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children’s Story Award and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Children’s Literature Award. She is also the author of Malaika’s Winter Carnival and Malaika’s Surprise, both illustrated by Irene Luxbacher; A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes; Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, illustrated by Gustavo Mazali; and two titles in the Sankofa series — Music and Media. Nadia’s writing is inspired by her childhood memories, Jamaican heritage, Black culture, world travels, and social issues. She lives in Toronto.
Née en 1943, près de New York, EUGÉNIE FERNANDES puise son admiration pour les animaux et la nature dans les souvenirs de son enfance. Son inspiration, elle la doit en grande partie à son père, illustrateur de bandes dessinées, avec qui elle passait de longues heures dans son studio. En 1965, elle obtient son diplôme de l'école des Arts Visuels de New York et commence alors sa carrière en tant qu'illustratrice. Eugenie a écrit ou illustré plus de 80 livres dont Grosse journée, petite souris! et Caféolait s'en va-t-en ville. Elle vit aujourd'hui dans le sud de l'Ontario et travaille depuis sa maison dans son studio surplombant un lac et la forêt environnante.
EUGENIE FERNANDES loved exploring the outdoors and making her own little books when she was young. As an adult she has combined these interests by creating books such as Ribbon Rescue, The Tree that Grew to the Moon, Waves in the Bathtub, One More Pet, and Grandpa Dan's Toboggan Ride.
Eugenie is part of a very artistic family. Her father was a comic book illustrator, her husband, Henry Fernandes, is a picture book illustrator who collaborated with her on the book Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish, and her two children are also artists. Eugenie lives near Peterborough, Ontario, where she works in a studio that is surrounded by water and woods.
- Commended, Best Canadian picture books of the year
- Commended, Nadia Hohn won the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Writer’s Award for this manuscript
"Bright illustrations in creamily vivid color by Fernandes capture the richness of life reflected in the language that so captivated Coverley and conveys how the things she sees reappear on the pages she writes."
"This story is a welcome reminder that language varies and has a strong connection to those who speak it."
Canadian Review of Materials
"Recommended for biography collections wishing to incorporate some lesser-known and inspiring persons."
School Library Journal
"This is a picture book that must be read aloud. It’s a wonderful tribute to a woman who found her voice and shared it with the world, and it reminds us that language should be celebrated and preserved."
"Hohn offers young readers a glimpse into Louise’s childhood and, more importantly, her love of language and delight in Jamaican patois [while] Fernandes’s illustrations beautifully capture the heat of Miss Lou’s world."
The Globe and Mail
"Miss Lou’s sweet Jamaican patois speaks to a whole new generation."
"This joyful book celebrates the importance of language and taking it as your own."
"This biography of the poet as a young girl is a tribute not only to her literary beginnings but also to patois itself."