Tag Archives: October

Children's Corner a MYSA Library

October Book of the Month

Our Book of the Month for October is:

A Woman of Firsts
A Woman of Firsts by Edna Adan Ismail

This is an unputdownable memoir by a truly inspiring woman, Edna Adan Ismail.

As the title suggests, Edna really is a woman of firsts. She was Somaliland’s first midwife and later went on to become the country’s First Lady and the first female cabinet minister.

From the blurb:

The daughter of Somaliland’s best-loved doctor, Edna saw first-hand how poor healthcare, lack of education and ancient superstitions had a devastating effects on Somaliland’s people, especially its women.

After experiencing the horrors of FGM as a child and seeing the dangers of childbirth at her father’s hospital Edna’s main focus throughout her life has been to campaign for better women’s healthcare.


A Woman of Firsts insides


But it has been far from easy. When growing up, it wasn’t traditional for girls to receive an education. And when she started work as a hospital midwife, she was met with hostility, given no salary and even had to fight to be allowed to drive. The hospital had not encountered a trained female nurse before.

Today Edna is the director of the maternity and teaching hospital that she built and founded in Hargeisa, Somaliand’s capital, the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital. It is described as one of the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospitals.

In spite of holding governmental positions, Edna believes this hospital is her greatest achievement. Her aim is to see as many women trained in midwifery as possible in order to improve healthcare for women in Somaliland and beyond,  preventing much suffering families and ultimately saving lives.

This moving and true story of a remarkable woman who overcame many obstacles to make a difference in Somaliland and the wider African continent will be an inspiration to women and girls across the world. It will be particularly poignant for women in Africa who will relate to many of the challenges Edna has faced.

Copies of this book will be going to the Somaliland National Library in Hargeisa where we hope it will inspire the next generation of women determined to bring about change for the good of other women and the wider community.

Children's Corner a MYSA Library

October Book of the Month

Our Book of the Month for October is this wipe-clean book for pre-schoolers:

First numbers
Topsy and Tim First Numbers


First Numbers is part of Ladybird’s Start School with Topsy and Tim series of activity books to support children as they prepare for school. The series includes books on the alphabet and simple sums as well as an introduction to learning to write.

Using the special pen provided, children can practise writing numbers by tracing over the dotted lines. Each page also includes other activities to help reinforce learning:




The wipe-clean pages mean that these books can be used time and again, making them perfect for children’s areas in community and public libraries as well as in Early Childhood Development centres.

For many families in the countries where we work, books are too expensive to buy so having access to bright, inspiring re-usable activity books like this in the local library provides welcome resources to help young children learn.


Lots of children reading in the library



They will also be useful resources for children’s librarians to run reading sessions for pre-schoolers and their parents:

We are happy that the library is preparing them for school. I have been bringing my three-year-old son to the library daily for five months. He can count up to 10 and sing the letters of the alphabet.

– Khalid Suleiman, parent, Pemba island, Zanzibar.

Copies of First Numbers and others in the Start School with Topsy and Tim series have been sent to our partners in many of the countries where we work, like our Children’s Corners in Tanzania, in order to give as many young learners as possible the chance to learn and grow using these inspiring resources.



October Book of the Month

Our October Book of the Month is:


Looking at the Stars
Looking at the Stars by Jo Cotterill. Published by Oxford University Press, donated by the British Library


What if all you had left were the stories in your head?

Looking at the Stars is a novel for young adults that vividly portrays the experience of people displaced by war and conflict.

When Amina’s homeland is ravaged by war, she, her two sisters and their mother have no choice but to flee. Together they begin a long and arduous journey to find sanctuary in a refugee camp. As they wander, the stars above them inspire stories which help Amina to distract herself from the realities around her.

This book is part of Oxford University Press’ Rollercoaster series, specially designed for teachers to use with a class. It includes questions to guide group discussions and help pupils to imagine themselves in the girls’ situation. It will be welcomed by school librarians like Maha in the West Bank to use for reading activities with her pupils and Mayol in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya who likes to read about people who have overcome challenges in their lives.