2023 Book Program Gave 15,000 Books About St. Martin to Students, Teachers and the Public

July 7, 2024 10:39 am

Grand Case, St. Martin—The Les Fruits de Mer association is delighted to announce the success of their 2023 book program. The goal of the annual program is to create educational books about the island of St. Martin and give them to students, teachers, and the public. In 2023, the program met several key milestones and reached new heights.

The book program is supported in Sandy Ground by the Cité Éducative de Saint-Martin.

 “In 2023, we were able to distribute at least one book to every single student and teacher in all the public schools on the French side, from preschool through high school, which is really groundbreaking!” said association President Jenn Yerkes. “We distributed over 15,000 books in total last year.”

 To date, the all-volunteer association has published over 40 books about St. Martin nature, heritage, and culture. Books have been developed for every age group, allowing children to receive a different book every year they are in school from age 3-18.

The book program is supported by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

 “If you want to give kids a book every school year, then you need a different book for each year,” said association co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “Developing quality books for every age group has been a huge task for the association. But we now have at least one book available for every grade, so that’s a major milestone for us!”

The book program is supported by the Office of Biodiversity of France, thanks to a micro-grant from Te Me Um, a program from the Office of Biodiversity of France to support biodiversity in French overseas territories (TErres et MErs UltraMarines).

 Books developed for this program include coloring and activity books, books about nature and heritage, collections of oral histories, and poetry and literature. In addition to the books developed by association members, there are four books by St. Martin authors, and two collections of oral history interviews with St. Martiners. All of the books are about this island, and all are available in English and French. Many are quadrilingual, with text also in Spanish and Dutch. 

 The program has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from teachers, students, and parents. Some of the new books developed for the program came from ideas suggested by teachers and students.

 The 2023 book program was supported by the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Vie Associative service of Saint-Martin, the Cité Éducative de Saint-Martin, a grant from the Office français de la biodiversité, and the Fonds pour le Développement de la Vie Associative. The book program was also supported by private donations and the help of dozens of dedicated volunteers.

The book program is supported by FDVA (Fonds pour le Développement de la Vie Associative).

The Les Fruits de Mer association is currently working on their 2024 book program. New books are in development to cover more aspects of St. Martin’s culture and heritage and target new areas of learning. The association also hopes to build towards covering all students and teachers on both sides of the island. Local businesses or individuals interested in supporting the program are encouraged to contact the association at info@lesfruitsdemer.com. For more information about the program, and free downloads of the books, visit lesfruitsdemer.com.