Former Police Chief Devon Clunis releases children’s book illustrated by RRC student

Shondell Babb, CONTRIBUTOR

Devon and Pearlene Clunis answer questions at Salisbury Morse Place School after reading The Little Boy from Jamaica. THE PROJECTOR/ Shondell Babb

Former Police Chief Devon Clunis and his wife Pearlene Clunis are inspiring youth to achieve their goals. The pair has been doing readings throughout the city from their new book: The Little Boy from Jamaica. Clunis visited many of the Winnipeg School Division schools as police chief, but he is now returning to a warm and exciting welcome from the kids as an author.

“We want to inspire and we want to help people reach their potential,” said Clunis.

The children’s book is about Clunis’s story of immigrating to Canada from Jamaica, and struggling in school until his teacher, Ms. Hanna, played an integral role in his success. He made history as the first black police chief in Canada.

At the Salisbury Morse Place School reading on Feb. 7, the children were fascinated by Clunis’s experience in Jamaica and at the concept of not having the things they’re used to in life.

“All the questions surrounded, ‘What was Jamaica like?,’” said teacher Nadia Krawchenko-Chaput, 43.

One of the kids asked Clunis to clarify that he had never smelled, tasted, or seen pop as a kid in Jamaica. Clunis said he had not and shock-filled murmurs and giggles broke out in the room.

Red River College Graphic Design student Emily Campbell, 22, was the book’s illustrator. The book gave her the opportunity to embark on fulfilling her passion for illustrating.

“In high school I never thought I could make drawing into a career,” said Campbell. “I’ve always liked drawing people and faces. I especially liked creating his character and drawing him in different ways. Keeping him consistent throughout the book, for example: the side view, front view, and different expressions was a bit of a challenge, but a fun challenge,” said Campbell.

Over 300 Winnipeggers attended the launch for The Little Boy from Jamaica at McNally Robinson Booksellers store on Jan. 28. All 260 copies of the book were sold out before the launch began, with another 170 copies on back order. Fans filed their way between bookshelves to capture a moment of Pearlene and Clunis’s readings.