In an effort to increase literacy levels, promote the love and appreciation for West Indian literature, introduce students to new authors, and improve vocabulary and writing skills among Form Ones, the National Library and Information System Authority’s (NALIS) Educational Library Services Division (ELSD) established its annual One Book, Many Schools project.
For its 2022 - 2023 edition, students have been invited to read the book, Salt and Roti by Kenneth Vidia Parmasad. The programme, which lasts throughout the school year, provides an opportunity for students to meet authors as well as participate in read aloud sessions, book discussions, art competitions, dramatisations, mount displays and immerse themselves in other educational and fun activities pertaining to the book. These activities support the school’s curriculum by raising the levels of comprehension and developing students’ creative and critical thinking skills.
Since the project’s introduction in 2015, School Library Media Centre’s (SLMC) staff have reported positive results with students looking forward to being engaged in the abovementioned activities. School librarians advise that some of the activities also allow for collaboration with the Staff (Teaching and Administrative) in the schools’ English and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Departments.
This project is in alignment with the Ministry of Education’s thrust to emphasise Trinidad and Tobago’s rich cultural diversity and to develop and encourage a culture of research. In addition to the selected book fulfilling this mandate, copies of the book must be available in all secondary schools and the author must grant permission for its use in the project.
In granting permission for Salt and Roti to be used for the One Book, Many Schools project, Roslyn Parmasad, widow of the late Kenneth Vidia Parmasad said, "The book is the result of original research into the folk traditions of the descendants of Indian indentured labourers in the Caribbean.” Stories from the book can be accessed via NALIS’ digital library.