A to Z: Books For Africa

Betsy Bowen is one of my favorite Author/Illustrators.  I was happy to find her alphabet book in the Leisure Reading box!

A is for Alphabet Book:  Betsy Bowen is one of my favorite Author/Illustrators. I was happy to find her alphabet book in the Leisure Reading box! 

 

This blog entry is my effort to shares with you the contents of our Books For Africa boxes.

As you may already know, we were focused on Early Grade Reading books, so we ordered from the category “Grade 1-4: English Leisure Reading.”  

In addition, we also ordered books from the category “Grade 1-4: English Reading Skills.”

As you can see by these photos and captions, there were many quality books in the Books For Africa shipment.

B is for Books, of course

B is for Books

C is for Curious:  How will this classic US book be received by students and teachers in Debre Markos?  Time will tell.

C is for Curious: How will this classic US book be received by students and teachers in Debre Markos? Time will tell.

C is for Chicken:  The school director who selected this book for her Private School library said she loved the quality of the illustrations.

C is for Chicken: The school director who selected this book for her Private School library said she loved the quality of the illustrations.

C is for Corn:  There were many quality non-fiction books with simple sentences.  I think these books would appeal to students and teachers because they are familiar topics and the color photographs are really nice.

C is for Corn: There were many quality non-fiction books with simple sentences. I think these books would appeal to students and teachers because they are familiar topics and the color photographs are really nice.

C is for Cows:  Here is another quality, hard-cover, non-fiction book with simple English sentences and great images.

C is for Cows: Here is another quality, hard-cover, non-fiction book with simple English sentences and great images.

C is for Cool:  This book was very cool!  It was a unique format (tall, thin) with a hard cover and wonderful images.  Students in Ethiopia love science and non-fiction and place higher value on books such as this with factual information.

C is for Cool: This book was very cool! It was a unique format (tall, thin) with a hard cover and wonderful images. Students in Ethiopia love science and non-fiction and place higher value on books such as this with factual information.

D is for DISCARD: Many Books for Africa donations from Public Libraries had this official stamp.  We liked to think of it as "Book Recycling" where discarded books from US libraries are now  living in a new home where they will be valued and (we hope) used!

D is for DISCARD: Many Books for Africa donations from Public Libraries had this official stamp. We liked to think of it as “Book Recycling” where discarded books from US libraries are now living in a new home where they will be valued and (we hope) used!

E is for Erosion:  This was another non-fiction book with text aimed at intermediate level English readers.  The topic was perfect for the region, which suffered from obvious erosion problems!

E is for Erosion: This was another non-fiction book with text aimed at intermediate level English readers. The topic was perfect for the region, which suffered from obvious erosion problems!      

IMG_1109IMG_1104                          

F is for Fable: Fox and Stork (Aesop)

F is for Fable: Fox and Stork (Aesop)

F is for Fox: Nonfiction again!

F is for Fox: Nonfiction again!

F is for Five Famous Authors: Leveled Readers were a great find in some of the BFA boxes!

F is for Five Famous Authors: Leveled Readers such as this were a great find in some of the BFA boxes!

G is for Guess:  This was another clever science book that engaged readers in a game of guessing the animal based on photographs of shadows.  Very clever and a good example that could be repeated here using local content.

G is for Guess: This was another clever science book that engaged readers in a game of guessing the animal based on photographs of shadows. Very clever and a good example that could be repeated here using local content.

H is for Houston:  Many public libraries donate books to BFA.  In my opinion, some of the best children's books with quality illustrations and black American or African themed fiction came to us from the Houston Public Library.      Thank you to the library staff or volunteers who gathered up these books and donated them to BFA!

H is for Houston: Many public libraries donate books to BFA. In my opinion, some of the best children’s books with quality illustrations and black American or African themed fiction came to us from the Houston Public Library. Thank you to the civic-minded and global-minded library staff and volunteers in Houston who gathered up these children’s books and donated them to BFA!

I is for Inside:  Inside your Heart was a great book that someone will surely enjoy.

I is for Inside: Inside your Heart was a great book that someone will surely enjoy.

I is for Inside:  Inside the Slidy Diner is one that may (or may not) appeal to Ethiopian readers, but I had to include it here because the author is a friend of ours we knew back in our Iowa City days!  Laurel Snyder: Your book made it all the way to Debre Markos, Ethiopia!

I is for Inside: Inside the Slidy Diner is one that may (or may not) appeal to Ethiopian readers, but I had to include it here because the author is a friend of ours we knew back in our Iowa City days! Laurel Snyder: Your book made it all the way to Debre Markos, Ethiopia!

I is for Iowa City:  Here is Laurel Snyder, whose children's book made it all the way to Amhara, Ethiopia!  I love Iowa City, Iowa, my home town and source of so many successful writers!

I is for Iowa City: Here is Laurel Snyder, whose children’s book made it all the way to Amhara, Ethiopia! I love Iowa City, Iowa, my home town and source of so many successful writers!

J is for Johnny

J is for Johnny

K is for King:  Here, 4 and 20 blackbirds were baked in a pie, when the pie was opened the birds began to sing, wasn't that a crazy dish to set before the king?

K is for King: Here, 4 and 20 blackbirds were baked in a pie, when the pie was opened the birds began to sing, now… wasn’t that a crazy dish to set before the king?  :)

L is for Life:  We gave this book as a gift to a school supervisor who was one of our closest counterparts.  He was a great supervisor with endless enthusiasm and was the only person in our professional work who NEVER ONCE asked us to give him anything.  What a gem of a human being.  We will miss you and your spirit, Ato Abiot!

L is for Life: We gave this book as a gift to a school supervisor who was one of our closest counterparts. He was a great supervisor with endless enthusiasm and was the only person in our professional work who NEVER ONCE asked us to give him anything. What a gem of a human being. We will miss you and your spirit, Ato Abiot!

M is for Make:  This was one of my favorite books as a child.  I saved one copy for my personal collection and brought it with me to Addis to possibly use as an example of how beautifully illustrated books can be done using simply pencil, pen, charcoal and white paper.

M is for Make: This was one of my favorite books as a child. I saved one copy for my personal collection and brought it with me to Addis to possibly use as an example of how beautifully illustrated books can be done using simply pencil, pen, charcoal and white paper.  We did some bookmaking classes at Debre Markos CTE with students and they enjoyed the process.  Some of the BFA books with simple designs and quality illustrations will serve as good examples for students to emulate this semester as I begin programs at Kotebe (in Addis).

M is for Minneapolis:  Another source of quality books was Minneapolis, Minnesota (our former home).  Every time I saw this sticker inside a book, I felt very proud to have connections to that community!  Thanks to the civic-minded citizens of Minneapolis and the metro area who donated books to BFA.  Know that your generosity is appreciated in Debre Markos, Ethiopia.

M is for Minneapolis: Another source of quality books was Minneapolis, Minnesota (our former home). Every time I saw this sticker inside a book, I felt very proud to have connections to that community! Thanks to the civic-minded citizens of Minneapolis and the metro area who donated books to BFA. Know that your generosity is appreciated in Debre Markos, Ethiopia.

M is for Mother:  Classic stories for English language learners to help understand culture.

M is for Mother: Classic stories for English language learners to help understand culture.

M is for Maya:  So glad she made it to East Africa!  Seing her biography made me so happy.  I gave this book to the Public Library, where there is a chance someone else may appreciate learning about her life and work.  You never know!

M is for Maya: So glad she made it to East Africa! Seing her biography made me so happy. I gave this book to the Public Library, where there is a chance someone else may appreciate learning about her life and work. You never know!

M is for Mare in the Meadow:  Many "Chapter Books" for grade 1-4 readers focus on fiction and horses.  The typeface was large and I think the topic may appeal to Ethiopian kids.  I'm not sure if anyone will find the chapter books useful, but possibly teachers or students may pick up a book and enjoy the stories.  If only there was some way to track the reading of these books, we could determine which ones are most useful in the Ethiopian context.  Well...that's another project for another day!

M is for Mare in the Meadow: Many “Chapter Books” for grade 1-4 readers focus on fiction and horses. The typeface was large and I think the topic may appeal to Ethiopian kids. I’m not sure if anyone will find the chapter books useful, but possibly teachers or students may pick up a book and enjoy the stories. If only there was some way to track the reading of these books, we could determine which ones are most useful in the Ethiopian context. Well…that’s another project for another day!

M is for Mathematics of Money:  Some in Peace Corps say we as PCVs shouldn't import and donate books, such as this BFA project to build libraries and mini-libraries in our communities.  Others say we should do this type of work because resources in most schools for Early Grade reading in English are often poor or non-existant.  In my opinion, the money we invested (thanks to donors) in bringing resources to our community was a first step.  Ideally, the books in the future will come from publishers inside Ethiopia or at least from African publishers.  But where are the books from African publishers?  And how expensive are they?  Books For Africa is meeting the need for books in English in Ethiopia.  We could not have done this project without their organization.  BFA estimates that the cost of one book is about 50 cents.  Doing the math, I would say this is one of the best ways to build library resources.

M is for Mathematics of Money: Some in Peace Corps say we as PCVs shouldn’t import and donate books, such as this BFA project to build libraries and mini-libraries in our communities. Others say we should do this type of work because resources in most schools for Early Grade reading in English are often poor or non-existant. In my opinion, the money we invested (thanks to donors) in bringing resources to our community was a first step. Ideally, the books in the future will come from publishers inside Ethiopia or at least from African publishers. But where are the books from African publishers? And how expensive are they? Books For Africa is meeting the need for books in English in Ethiopia. We could not have done this project without their organization. BFA estimates that the cost of one book is about 50 cents. Doing the math, I would say this is one of the best ways to build library resources.

Look for more in the next blog entry,  

where I continue to explore the contents of our Books for Africa shipment:  

A to Z part II!

About Jebena Jen

This blog is about my experiences as an Education Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. All contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

One comment

  1. Clare Shea

    Hi Jebena, I was a PCV in Debre Marcos in 1965-1967. Many former PCVs sponsored a BFA shipment to
    Debre Marcos in 2005 with several of our former Ethiopian students. After the shipment arrived,
    we visited (with the students who now are working in Addis at the University, at EAL, at the hospital, etc.).Negus Tekle Haimmanot high school, our old high school (down the road from the old hotel,) visited the new TTS, visited several elementary schools, etc. One of my former students who is a PHd
    chemical engineer in Philadelphia told me that another BFA shipment fwent out to DM
    Keep doing your blog, Don’t bother with what others say… The old “saw” about buying Ethiopian
    books in Ethiopia often comes from Socialists who really do little to improve the culture, the schools, etc, but SURE know how to COMPLAIN, and put others DOWN who are trying to get things done..I used to just listen & agree that if they buy the books, I’d be happy to assist them in shelving, cataloguing them , etc.& training librarians…. :) :) :) OH, well, It’s snowing here in DC tomight— Not your problem, except in rainy season. Thanks for what you are doing/Been there..Have Fanta & doro wat with 2 eggs for me..Clare

    Clare Shea .. .

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