Sep 22, 2007

Books Going to Kenya

Almost all the books in our children's library came out of public schools in Oklahoma. So the protagonists are usually white Americans. Now we are trying to add balance to the collection. So Katie and I are carrying in our suitcases to Kenya children's books that feature African (not African-American) characters. These include For You Are A Kenyan Child; We All Went On Safari; Fire On The Mountain; Water Hole Waiting; Bringing the Rain to Kapiti; A Busy Day for Okoth; A Kenya Christmas; Facing Mount Kenya; A Pride of African Tales; Kidogo; Elizabeth's Doll; and Papa, Do You Love Me? and more. We also are bringing classics like A Wrinkle In Time; Tuck Everlasting; Where the Wild Things Are; Good Night, Moon; Bridge to Terabithia; The Giving Tree and several of Graeme Base's wonderful books. At the request of college students in Meru, we are also bringing some plays written by African playwrights.

During my remarks at the library dedication last February, I held up a book for adults entitled When We Began, There Were Witchmen: An Oral History from Mount Kenya by Jeffrey A Fadiman. Many of the dignitaries at the ceremony approached me later saying, "If you bring more copies of this book, we would each like to purchase a copy!" So I have 4 or 5 copies of that account of the Kimeru tribe's history in my suitcase, too.
There are many other books identified (and "tagged" for purchase on but our big problem is getting the books to Kenya. We are limited on how much luggage we can bring (two 50 pound checked bags and one 13 pound carryon piece). So we may have to mail some books to Kenya at $1 per pound!

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