Island Princess in Brooklyn

Island Princess in Brooklyn

Level: Secondary

Series Title: Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series (SPPS)

Subject: Literature

ISBN: 978 976 638 110 3

Pages: 192

Age Group: 10 - 14 years

Published: 2011

Thirteen year old Princess arrives from Jamaica to live with her mother in Brooklyn, New York. How will she ever get accustomed to the many unexpected (and sometimes really weird) experiences in this place far away from her beloved Granny?

Can she settle into her new life, a new school, making new friends, and find a place for herself? Her life is full of anxiety, and surprising twists and turns, but eventually she must decide where friendship, forgiveness and love fit in or be forced to return to Jamaica. How she overcomes the challenges of settling into a new environment, including school, makes an interesting story.

Organization of the text
  • The book is divided into 29 manageable chapters.
  • There is also a glossary.


Diane Browne
former teacher, publisher and editor, is also a successful, award-winning writer. Many of her stories are used in reading material in Jamaican schools. Diane was the recipient of the prestigious bronze Musgrave Medal for Children's Literature from the Institute of Jamaica.

Key Features

The language of the story is mostly Standard English, but with words, phrases and idioms which represent the Jamaican creole. Explanations are skilfully integrated in the text to make it easy to understand them.
  • The story places emphasis on an individual's moral strength which often makes the difference between success and failure.
  • The characters in the story, both boys and girls, are well drawn and representative of the early teen years. Princess experiences many of the kinds of challenges a sensitive teenager in a new situation would face.
  • The story gives a glimpse of the culture and habits of life in Jamaica as well as among migrants in Brooklyn.
  • Among other aspects of family life, the story deals with the experience, common to many Caribbean young persons, of having to accept a stepfather in the absence of the natural father.
  • There is a glossary which explains words and phrases which were not dealt with in the text.
  • This book is an excellent choice as an online reader for the diaspora, in schools as well as for families.

Look out For:

  • Short, manageable chapters
  • User friendly typeface and layout
  • Many interesting characters and situations

Notes To Teachers:

Island Princess in Brooklyn, by Diane Browne

Carlong Publishers and the Curriculum

Target Audience: Schools
Island Princess in Brooklyn, although specifically targeting grades 6 and 7, can be read by students in grade 8.

Target Audience: Colleges/Universities

Students in Teacher?s Colleges and those doing Education Studies and Library Studies at University Colleges and Universities will find this book interesting of itself because, in telling the story of a so called ?barrel child, it is so relevant to our society. In addition, the curriculum connections indicated below make it a book that teachers/librarians will want to use in their teaching .

Curriculum Connections:

Health and Family Life Education
The obvious curriculum connection is that of Health and Family Life Education as the book relates directly to family relationships and the effects of migration on the child. In addition, it deals with the individual?s concept of self and self-evaluation.

Language Arts

There is an abundance of material for Language Arts.
  • Elements of a story: plot, setting, mood, characterization, roles of characters, point of view of the protagonist, conflict and so on
  • Use of language: Jamaican Creole and Standard English and how characters use these in varying situations, as an expression of familiarity/affection, anger, resolve and so on; Creole influences from the Caribbean; the version of English used by American teenagers, other minority groups in the USA.
  • Distinguishing fact from opinion: For example, Princess, influenced by her granny, has many opinions which she states as facts without questioning them.
  • Comparisons: Princess makes many comparisons between her new home and Jamaica.
  • The ability to express feelings and opinions
  • The ability to express/communicate the thinking and learning process, doing research. Princess not only does research on the Internet she utilizes research in the field.
  • Use of figurative language
  • Writing skills (Princess writes letters and an essay)
  • The use of imagination and its impact on reality.
  • Influence of the media. Princess and her granny get information about America from TV and movies
  • Voice: Most interesting is the fact that Princess tells this story in the first person, therefore the language and thoughts reflect those of a teenager. In addition, she repeats the ideas of others, for example, her granny and her previous principal in Jamaica. An interesting activity must therefore be the discerning of whose voice we are hearing - how to differentiate between Princess voice and others?

Other Curriculum topics and themes Grade 7 and upwards

  • Climate and shelter
  • Relationships with others
  • Earning a living/careers
  • Roles of family and friends: family types/peer groups
  • Living together in groups
  • Migration
  • Social and environmental issues
  • Science and real life connections

Other Curriculum topics and themes grades 5 & 6

  • Sports
  • Comparing life in two climatic zones
  • Foods we eat
  • Modes of transportation
  • Caribbean people/customs
  • Weather as experienced in two different climatic regions
  • Value of information from books/reference to literary genres like poems and fairytales

Appeal of the book: Although the protagonist is a girl, the story will also appeal to boys as there are significant male characters in Princess?s life who help her to understand it : her stepfather, two school friends, Jamal and Chuck; her new principal, and even her absent father, who only appears in the book through the accounts of others. An activity might well be to ask boys to identify how each of these male characters impact her life, and what impact, if any, they have on the resolution of the story.

Diane Browne


I love the book, I couldn’t put it down. I love how it is written and the inclusion of Jamaican creole make for an amazing read