Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For You Are A Kenyan Child

By Kelly Cunnane, art by Ana Juan. This is a charming picture book about a Kenyan boy who is greeted by this kind of day:

Roosters crow, and you wake one morning in the green hills of Africa, sun lemon bright over eucalyptus trees full of doves.

His chore for the day is to take his grandfather’s cows to the pasture and watch them. He has good intentions but like any child he gets distracted by all the interesting things and friendly people in his village. He travels from adventure to adventure, calling out a cheery “Hodi? Anybody home?” and hearing “Karibu! Welcome!” in return. At last he remembers the cows and rushes back to find them gone. On the path home he sees grandfather with the cows, doing what he should be doing. He hangs his head in shame but grandfather simply says “Twende nyumbani sasa - let’s go home”. Once home he is greeted with open arms, receives his supper and curls up in his hut to sleep. I absolutely love the illustrations with their warm colors, vibrant movement and big-eyed adorable children. I love the a scattering of Swahili words and phrases, and am glad there is a brief glossary with pronunciation notes in the opening page to assist me with reading it out loud. The author has such a wise and loving understanding of this boy’s spirit of joy and curiosity I can’t help wishing I could visit with him a while and learn his games and songs.

I wanted to nominate this book as best picture book of 2006 at the Cybils, but someone else beat me to it. It really is a gem and it is on my Christmas wish list.

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2 comments:

Kohana said...

My mom lived in Kenya as a girl. I bet this would be a good Christmas present for her (of course that means for my kids playing at her house!).

Global Kids Oz said...

Hi Andi, My name iss JJ and I run Global Kids Oz in Australia, I got the link to this blog from the Global Learning Centre in Brisbane who was looking of e the book you featured on Kenya. I'd love to connect with you (I just did through Google Plus)I run a blog called www.simplymulticultural.com and my business www.globalkidsoz.com.au supplies multicultural resources to the education sector across Australia and beyond. Id love you to be a guest blogger if you liked on my blog as clearly our paths are aligned. Cheers JJ