Friday, November 23, 2007

Yatandou


Today I saw the most beautiful picture book, Yatandou. This one is award-worthy. By Gloria Whelan, who has written beautiful, lyrical novels, it tells the story of Yatandou, a girl living in a traditional Mali village. She spends her days tending her goat and pounding millet. The women in her village have heard of a contraption that will pound the millet for them - if they save enough money they can buy one. Yatandou dreams of learning to read and write and not having to pound millet three hours a day. Soon, all these dreams come true.

Whelan writes, in an author's note, about the "multi-functional platforms" that African women own, operate, and manage to make money for their villages.

The language is simple and beautiful with passages like, "Mother is returning. A water jug has had its little journey on her head."

The richly colored paintings by Peter Sylvadia evoke the heat of the desert and convey a sense of African life.

Not only is this picture book gorgeous, it also supports a good cause - the non-profit Building with Books. Building with Books engages urban youth in after-school programs where the kids engage in community service projects and go to developing countries to build schools. 90 of these schools where built in Mali.

1 comment:

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