June Book of the Month
Our new Book of the Month is:
This beautiful children’s picture book tells the inspiring true story of Isatou and her work to combat pollution and generate income for her village in the Gambia. The story is beautifully brought to life with gorgeous collage illustrations.
Isatou is troubled by the increasing piles of rubbish in her village of Njau, much of it consisting of discarded plastic bags. People, including Isatou’s grandmother, are losing their goats; a goat will eat anything and the plastic bags are constricting their insides and killing them.
Isatou notices the lovely bright colours of the bags and has an idea. She learns to crochet and gathers her friends together to wash and shred the bags, weaving the strips into pretty purses. Isatou sells the purses in the city and earns enough to buy her grandmother a new goat.
The author’s note gives a follow up to this true story: ‘Today, Njau is much cleaner, the goats are healthier and the gardens grow better . . . The women contributed some of their earnings [from selling the recycled purses] toward an empowerment centre where community members enjoy free health and literacy class . . . and the centre for the region’s first public library.’
This book has been purchased for the Tamer Institute of Community Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), with a grant from the Sobell Foundation, given specifically for book purchase. Books we send are often used in discussion groups in municipal libraries in OPT which provide children with the chance to explore a range of issues, including caring for the environment and endangered animals.
We hope this book will lead to some interesting discussions and provide inspiration for the children’s environmental projects at the library and in school. We also hope they will enjoy learning more about life in the Gambia and Gambian words using the glossary at the end.