Recently in Africa Children's Books Category
I particularly loved her answer to the following question:
What were the 'turning points' for you as a young reader? What literature do you continue to treasure? What made you think?
I have always treasured the stories that my maternal grandfather told me around the fire during the holidays in the village. All of those stories in our oral tradition were rich, imaginative accounts of mythology, wonderful tales. He taught me to pay attention to what occurred around me, to listen to the stories, and then become a storyteller. These stories of the Ivory Coast provided fertile ground for my imagination. Then when I arrived in Paris, I discovered the libraries and I started to devour all kinds of literature. The 4 girls of Doctor March, Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Shakespeare, Maurice Leblanc, Jules Romain, Welles, were my favourites at that time. I loved to read mysteries and try to guess at the culprit in the first pages of the story.
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I am definitely putting Aya on my list of things to read! It looks like a feature-length animated film adaptation of Aya is in the works for 2011. I can't wait! Thanks Olugbemisola!
Stories help us examine and shape the world we live in. Stories give us hopeful answers and insights to questions no one person can answer on their own -- stories help us share our lives. This is what I love about being a writer.
So says Jerdine Nolen-wife, mother of two, educator, school administrator, and author of numerous picture book titles, at least 11 of which are currently in print: Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm, In My Momma's Kitchen, Raising Dragons, Big Jabe, Plantzilla, Plantzilla Goes to Camp, Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life, Max and Jax in Second Grade, Lauren McGill's Pickle Museum, Thunder Rose...and her latest, Pitching in for Eubie (Amistad/HarperCollins).
I don't think I was ever bored as a child. I was always making up games. I enjoyed the company of my dolls or my little toy lamb, and I enjoyed my own company. Among some of the other things I did to amuse myself, I collected words. I collected words because I liked the way certain words sounded, what they meant, how they made me laugh because they sounded so silly. And I loved putting words together.
My mother noticed this tendency in me and gave me a hand with my deep and abiding desire. She gave me an empty cardboard cigar box. Then we made what would be the equivalent of index cards (the cardboard from my dad's shirts from the dry cleaner, cut to size). Because I loved the sounds of words, some of them would give me a tickle. And certain words-words like "chutney" or "cucumber" or "watermelon"-- these food words would crack me up just to say them. Words I thought sounded mighty silly, I wrote down on my makeshift index cards and kept them in my empty cigar box. It was my great treasure. If I ever needed to be entertained, or have a big belly laugh, I would look at my word supply. And I laughed a lot. Sometimes I played with the rhyme and rhythm or cadence of the words, too. It was fun. I mean it was really a lot of fun. I know what you're thinking...and that's o.k. because you had to be there to see just how fun it was!!!!! :o)
I want her to come and be a teacher in San Jose!!!
Donkey Says No! (English/Spanish)
Regular price: $12.00 Sale Price: $10.00
A timid donkey teaches his friends that he does not like rough play. This story was inspired by the Aesop's fable "The Ass and the Lion's Skin" and is told through pictures that highly match the text. The beautiful digital art was produced by Edward C. Rooks, a wildlife illustrator and naturalist. This English and Spanish edition is written at the 3rd grade level. The Spanish translation, by Dr. Henriette Langdon, is a native speaker retelling of the same story using the pictures. Information about Uttar Pradesh and animal conservation is included at the end of the book.
Although Raeez Writes is the only book (selected from the original 2002 set of books) that uses photographs, it was chosen because the committee felt that the topic of illuminating how we can support reading and writing habits was significant and because the characters would be familiar enough with children from the different regions of Africa. The story provides an example of how a young child, Raeez, apprentices himself to his grandfather, who helps him to write. When Raeez is asked where he is going, the reader is told “Raeez knows where he is going.” He is then depicted sitting at a table with Grandpa who is holding a newspaper: “Grandpa wants to read. Raeez wants to write.” We then see Grandpa stand up and help Raeez: “Grandpa helps Raeez.” “Then Grandpa reads and Raeez writes.” The final page has emergent writing around a drawing, and Raeez’s words, “Look what I wrote!”—celebrating and valuing the young child’s immature explorations in writing.
In dealing with names in the different language versions of the books, it was decided that as a rule, we should keep the name of the original, existing characters. For example, Ali and Titilope would remain such—as it is in life, people usually only change their names for cultural reasons or if they are oppressed in some way. At the same time, there are differing views on this and once the stories went for translation, they sometimes took on a life of their own, with one or another translator expressing adamantly that a name needed a spelling adaptation. For example in Orange, the original name “Beruk” became “Beruki” and “Mimi” became “Mimii” in Kiswahili. In Raeez Writes, it was decided that the name Raeez would be impossible to pronounce in Portuguese and so he became Rafique.
Nice and Clean, written in Ethiopia, is about personal hygiene. The first draft of the story was reminiscent of a lifeskills lesson, probably due in part to the challenge of translating from Amharic into English as well as the new challenge of writing for very young children. In the edited English version lightness and humor were introduced into the text through the use of repetition and wordplay. We also discussed where to best situate the story, and who the characters should be. What kind of technology should illustrate cleaning? Were baths, showers, and taps attached to sinks and basins appropriate? Could we illustrate brushing teeth with a toothbrush? None of these would be familiar practices for all children.
The challenge of where to situate a story and what characters to use was resolved in this case by a decision to use a simple outside rural environment, with a basic building that allowed for inside scenes. The characters are animals common to many African settings instead of human beings thus allowing children anywhere to identify with their actions. A mixture of scenarios were chosen and used—washing outside using a tap and bucket as well as indoors with all the modern features. On the first page we read, “Everybody needs to wash” and the story ends, “Now everybody’s nice and clean,” helping to pass on the message to young children, wherever they may be, that one of the things we share is a need to keep clean.
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