N is for Nature: The nature and science of BUBBLES!
N is for Nurses: Another nonfiction book that would probably be appreciated by Ethiopian students and teachers alike.
O is for Our: Our New Guinea Pig was a paperback book on caring for a guinea pig as a pet. The drawings were adorable, but the content is not really relevant to any child in Debre Markos.
P is for Pease Porridge? Now this reference to porridge is relevant to Ethiopia, because they do have an oat and barley hot porridge that sometimes is made into soup. However, even I don’t understand what the word pease means! I looked it up and my computer’s dictionary doesn’t contain this word.
P is for Potatoes: A familiar and relevant topic.
Q is for Queen: The images of a King (Emperor) and Queen (Empress) are familiar enough to Ethiopians, even if governance by “royalty” is an historical and not a contemporary reality. What is relevant in this nursery rhyme is the image of a maid in the garden (compound) hanging out the clothes. A woman in Addis told me the other day a kite (large urban raptor) once swooped down on her and snatched food from her hand, removing a part of her index finger. She showed me the scar. She disliked kites!
R is for Rain: Clever “text as image” book!
R is for Rainbows: Inside page from the Rain book.
R is for Recycle: The formal, systematic book on first-world recycling is good, but the day-to-day practice of recycling in the developing world is quite different. See my earlier post on “Bag-o-Bananas” for one example of how paper is recycled in Addis Ababa to form bags (for bananas!)
S is for Say: “Say it loud: The story of rap music.” I remember thinking this was nice art, but that it might be a better fit sociologically for students in Addis Ababa than Amhara, where rap music was almost never heard.
S is for Steel: The Steel Flea was a new book for me. it has relevance to life in Amhara and only one person ever checked it out (see next photo).
S is for Steel: I wonder if Theresa B in Minneapolis, Minnesota remembers checking this book out from the Visitation School Library and reading it. :)
S is for Steel: Nice cover art!
S is for Spongebob: Spongebob Squarepants would be a great way to work on compound nouns if nothing else, right?
S is for Shoemakers: The black and white scratchboard art in this non-fiction book were stunningly beautiful. You never know, it may just inspire someone to take up making shoes in the future.
S is for Shoe: Great illustrations!
T is for Tigers: Another great nonfiction book.
T is for Tractors: Nonfiction, tractors are just starting to appear in some places in Ethiopia
T is for Tractors: These non-fiction children’s books contain quality photos and simple text. Tractors are still very rare in Gojjam, Amhara. Normally, fields are plowed by two oxen, one wooden plow, and one adult (usually male).
U is for Understanding: This “kid’s guide” on understanding human rights was a book I didn’t donate to any library. I just didn’t. I kept it in a box and moved it with us to Addis. Several books with ultra-western cultural values (such as this) or possibly offensive topics (for Ethiopian culture) were censored. By me. I don’t want to give Peace Corps Volunteers or US Citizens a bad reputation as people coming in pushing a human rights agenda. We are here for capacity building and English language education and our community roles should not involve anything that could be construed as “political” or “religious” in nature. I mean, look at the cover! I don’t think most kids in Ethiopia have the right “to take part in any decision regarding me” nor does everyone have the right to “be free.” It was better to err on the side of caution, I figured, in censoring a book.
V is for Veterinarians: Animal care is a growing field in Ethiopia, starting with large animal veterinarians (one college in Debre Markos) and evidence of pet-oriented veterinarians in the capital city.
W is for Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too!
W is for the Wonders of Woodchucks: A beautiful non-fiction book on the lives and habitats of these large rodent, documented in black and white photographs.
X is for Explore: As Peace Corps Volunteers, we naturally embrace the idea of exploring our new culture. Here, Betsy Bowen explains that “there are many places where no one goes much, places with no paths and no roads, good places to explore in December.” Well, that’s true in the Minnesota North Woods, but not always so true in Amhara. Everywhere we went, there were foot paths and people. Sometimes I miss the walks we took in nature in all four seasons, the solitude was sublime. I can’t think about it very often, or I’ll just want to go home and life a simple life, enjoying nature. That can wait until our service is over!
Y is for You Never Know! Where in the world will your books end up? The children’s books with personal dedications (such as this from a Grandparent) were strangely poignant…
Z is for Zero: