Education minister applauds teen author

Kingsway Academy tenth grader Sierra Blair shares her books, Roman & His Mean Family and Roman and the Pink Flamingos with Education Minister, the Hon. Jeff Lloyd and Sharon Poitier, Acting Deputy Director of Education, Curriculum and Instruction Division. From left to right: Mrs. Poitier, Minister Lloyd, Sierra and her mother, Tosheena Robinson-Blair. The first book is available from Amazon in paperback and as an e-book, while the newest release is sold at Atlantis and Ardastra Gardens.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The year just keeps getting better for new, young author Sierra Blair – her latest release appearing in the iconic Atlantis resort, a courtesy call with the Governor-General and now days away from her 15th birthday high praise from high-ranking education officials during a one-on-one sit down and courtesy call.

“It is more than exciting it is impressive that we have such great young minds in our Bahamas as represented by Sierra and encouraged by her parents. Sierra is beautiful, very creative and also very courageous. I’m very impressed with the confidence that young people are expressing today and, in particular, a young woman like her who is still in the precocious years of her life and demonstrating a certain ingenuity with her writing skills,” said Education Minister, the Hon. Jeff Lloyd who met with the young writer and her mother on Monday.

“I hope that through her writing we would be able to inspire and motivate the young people in our own school systems. One of our challenges is the capability within literacy and this is a clear demonstration that the gift is there, it’s only a matter of exploiting it and bringing it forth in our young people so I’m very impressed and I’m grateful to her parents for encouraging her and also taking this very important step of publishing.”

The young author captured media attention last year after launching her first book on Amazon. The work co-authored with her mom, Tosheena Robinson-Blair, is available in paperback and as an e-book.

Ideal for teaching the concept of complying with boundaries to children six and under, Roman and His Mean Family is a 25-page picture book that depicts the rambunctious Roman labelling his family “mean” when he’s restrained from circumventing boundaries set for his own protection.

The newest and independently published children’s book, Roman and the Pink Flamingos, is a colourfully illustrated tale of an encounter with pink flamingos at a bird sanctuary. The children’s book series is inspired by Sierra’s three-year-old brother, Roman.

“It’s been an amazing journey with the book. It’s brought me so many different opportunities. This meeting with the Minister feels like an early birthday gift. It went even better than I could imagine,” said the teen who celebrates her 15th birthday on December 19.

“It’s scary to bring something to the public that you’ve put a lot of work into and someone could very easily tear it apart and say, ‘It’s not good enough.’ Although I have my family and others in my corner to meet persons in power and get a positive feedback from them makes me feel like I’m on the right path.”

Travelling fast and far in such a short space of time, education officials hope Sierra’s journey inspires other youths to leap into their full potential.

“Sierra is already exemplifying a level of confidence and leadership that is rare among young people. She has that gift and she needs to just continue to develop it,” said Minister Lloyd.

“What I find really wonderful about the book is it utilizes the experiences of Sierra’s own life, capturing the vagaries of her, her brother and her family. We hope this would inspire others to share their story. This is beautiful. We are very, very proud of her. I certainly hope our Bahamian children would take advantage of this offering by this wonderful young lady.”

According to Sharon Poitier, acting deputy director of education the books possess tie-ins with the Ministry of Education’s curriculum.

“We could use this to integrate so many things: language arts, the sciences and math in particular,” she said. “For our young people to see themselves in anyone’s writing is a wonderful opportunity.”

As Sierra further develops her series, the Education Minister challenged her to be an example for her peers. He urged the sophomore to be consistent, continuously press forward and not be distracted.