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Shivohn N. García

was born on 2 February 1899 in Cidra, Puerto Rico, to Felipe Belpré and Carlota Nogueras. Belpré’s passion for stories and her desire to share the culture of Puerto Rico through storytelling and children’s literature can be traced to her childhood. In an unpublished autobiographical essay, she mused that “growing up on the island of Puerto Rico in an atmosphere of natural storytellers was fun: a father whose occupation took him all over the island; a grandmother whose stories always ended with a nonsense rhyme or song, setting feet to jump, skip, or dance; elder sisters who still remembered tales told by a mother; and finally, a stepmother whose literary taste was universal” (Pura Teresa Belpré Papers, hereafter PBP). As Belpré reached adulthood, Puerto Rico was undergoing a dramatic change: in 1917 the Jones Shafroth Act bestowed US citizenship on Puerto Ricans which triggered a migration from the island ...


Hassoum Ceesay

director of The Gambia National Library and author of the first Gambian Who’s Who, was born in Bathurst and attended the Methodist Girls’ High School. She worked at the General Post Office and later at the British Council. She pioneered library services in The Gambia, and she was one of the earliest professional librarians in black Africa. In 1957, she had a yearlong internship at the Ghana National Library Board, and did further studies in the United Kingdom, where she qualified as a chartered librarian in 1959. At the time, very few Gambian women were in professions outside the traditionally female jobs of teaching, nursing, and secretarial work.

Bishop John Daley of the Anglican Mission opened the first public library in Banjul in 1945; a year later, the British Council opened its library and reading room. When the British Council closed operations in 1963 it handed ...


Patricia-Pia Célerier

was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, to a Francophone mother from that island and an Anglophone father from Antigua. Following the early death of her parents, Myriam Warner was raised by her maternal grandmother. She attended primary school in Guadeloupe, but left the island at the age of 12 to attend secondary school in France. In 1961 she married the Beninese-Senegalese filmmaker and historian Paulin Soumanou Vieyra (1925–1987), famed for having shot the first Francophone African film, Afrique sur Seine, in 1955. He also founded the Fédération Panafricaine des Cinéastes in 1969.

Following her move to Senegal in 1961, Warner-Vieyra trained at Cheikh Anta Diop University’s École des Bibliothécaires, Archivistes et Documentalistes, and subsequently worked as a medical librarian and researcher at the University of Dakar’s Pediatrics Institute. She is the author of two novels, Le Quimboiseur l’avait dit …(1980) and Juletane ...