Friday, April 28, 2006

Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS by Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis traveled to Malawi and Zambia in the summer of 2003 and met with children living in several villages and cities, some on the streets, some with grandparents or extended relatives, some with living parents. All are living with the effects of the AIDS pandemic. In Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS they tell their stories simply and with touching candor. Their lives take my breath away. In spite of all that they struggle with, their fear, sadness and loss, they are still often filled with hope and joy. They share their dreams and plans for the future as well as the grim hardships they live with at present. After seeing what poverty, hunger and disease can do, many want to become doctors, nurses, lawyers and teachers in order to make the world a better place. Interspersed with their stories are informational charts telling the facts on AIDS. The illustrations are lovely sepia toned photographs of the children and their families and schools. The book is written for 6th – 9th grades, but I think it’s good for adults too. In the back there are resources for further reading in books and websites of organizations involved in supporting AIDS work.

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