Tag Archive | Africa

T is The Last Tree, by Denise Getson – final hope for desert Earth?

book cover of The Last Tree by Denise Getson published by CBAY Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAble to make water where there is none!
Mutation? Gift?

Generations after the Devastation of chemical and biological weapons nearly wiped out life on Earth, mutations may be nature’s way of keeping humanity around, perhaps to save the very last tree in the whole world, hidden where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers once flowed.

Look for the first book in the series, Dry Souls (my no-spoiler review here), to visit Kira’s world as she first discovers her affinity for water in this parched future Earth.

How far would you go for friendship?
**kmm

Book info: The Last Tree (Dry Souls, book 2) / Denise Getson. CBAY Books, 2016. [author’s Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kira isn’t sure how she can call water through solid rock into places where it once flowed, but the United Territory Council government will stop at nothing to capture her and find out how she can bring forth water when all land is desert.

The teen must stay free so she, Tuck, and J.D. can rescue friend Tamara and continue their stealthy mission to get Kira near old lakebeds to call their waters back.

When she is asked to help a special tree, how can Kira say no?
Is this last tree in the entire world truly the Tree of Knowledge?
But how can she keep her family of friends safe from the UTC?

Kira’s adventures in the dry and toxic world introduced in Dry Souls, book one of the series, continue as she jumps across the world from danger into world-altering risks.

Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid, by Guiseppe Catozzella (book review) – run for glory, run to stay alive

US book cover of Don't Tell Me You're Afraid by Giuseppe Catozzella translated by Anne Milano Appel published by Penguin Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comRun, so you don’t get caught.
Leave home, because staying is deadly.
Olympic dreams in a war-torn land.

Samia ran for joy when a child, ran for her country in the Olympics, fled Somalia knowing the dangers of “the journey” seeking a better life as her sister had.

A fictionalized account of the real young woman who was part of Somalia’s 2-person team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, happy US book birthday to this strong story of hope and determination, released earlier this year in the UK as Little Warrior !

Could you leave your family behind, for freedom?
**kmm

Book info: Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid / Guiseppe Catozzella; translated by Anne Milano Appel. Penguin Press, 2016. [author site – in Italian]  [translator website] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In the war-torn streets of Mogadishu, Samia loses her childhood friend and running coach to extremist gangs, perseveres as a athlete dreaming of running in the Olympics, and keeps traveling toward freedom, regardless of the dangers.

From the age of 10, Samia ran with the 2008 Olympics as her goal, inspired by refugee and world-class runner Mo Farah, coached by her best friend Ali, winning race after race in their Somalian city.

As rival militias recruited all young men into their religious factions, Ali left Samia’s neighborhood. Still she ran, gaining the attention of Somalia’s small Olympic Committee and earning a spot at the 2008 Beijing Games as a teen. How proud she was to represent her homeland!

But militia fighters wouldn’t let her practice when she returned to Mogadishu.
Time to take “the journey” as her sister had – through the desert, across the Mediterranean, to Europe – as Mo Farah had – to a place with enough to eat and running shoes that fit and freedom to run…

Based on the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar, who grew up with constant war as an “older sister” and ran anyway.

African stories of truth and justice – this week’s free audiobooks

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Be sure to download these complete audiobooks before Wednesday (27 July 2016) night, so that you can listen to them any time, as long as they’re stored on your computer or electronic device.

Click on the link after each title to go to the AudioSYNC site for your free download.

CD cpver of audiobook Mandela: An Audio History by Nelson Mandela | Read by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Joe Richman Published by HighBridge Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comMandela: An Audio History (download here)
by Nelson Mandela
Read by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Joe Richman
Published by HighBridge Audio

From Mandela’s 1964 trial to conversations during his life sentence in prison to his inauguration as President of South Africa in 1994, interviews, music, and radio broadcasts are woven into a stunning narrative of this lifelong crusader against apartheid.
 

Things Fall Apart CD cover of audiobook Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe | Read by Peter Francis James Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com(download here)
by Chinua Achebe
Read by Peter Francis James
Published by Recorded Books

Onkonkwo is becoming a most respected man in his African village, erasing the shame of his father, but incoming Christian missionaries cause conflicts with tradition, threatening his family, neighbors, and happiness.

These stories of struggle and justice – how do you respond?
**kmm

Live? Die? Choose audiobooks with impact!

Life-changing choices highlight this week’s pair of free audiobooks from SYNC!

Click each title for your free download – just needs your name and email address.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury | Read by Amy Shiels Published by Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Sin Eater’s Daughter

by Melinda Salisbury
Read by Amy Shiels
Published by Scholastic

Twylla’s touch kills, so the royal family uses her as executioner. Now the 16 year old must decide whether to be a deadly tool in the Queen’s audacious plan or to follow the possibility of love that can only end in death.

 

CD cover of DIVINE COLLISION: An African Boy, an American Lawyer, and Their Remarkable Battle for Freedom by Jim Gash Read by Brandon Batchelar Published by Oasis Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com Divine Collision: An African Boy, an American Lawyer, and Their Remarkable Battle for Freedom

by Jim Gash
Read by Brandon Batchelar
Published by Oasis Audio

True story of an American lawyer and a Ugandan teen whose fight for the young man’s freedom changes an entire nation’s legal system.

How would you choose which way to go?
**kmm

F for flying and family in Black Dove, White Raven, by Elizabeth Wein (book review) – wings and war

book cover of Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein published by Disney HyperionTheir mothers were closer than sisters.
They are sister and brother against the world,
and the world has turned its back on Ethiopia…

What do you know about the Second Italo-Abyssinian War? I knew nothing of this conflict which preceded World War II, but have learned that the League of Nations ignored the pleas of Ethiopia’s emperor to stop the 1935 invasion of the only African nation never ruled by Europeans…

Just published on March 31, this story of the flight-loving children of two aviation-daredevil women – one white, one black – connects World War I France with still-prejudiced USA with becoming-modern Ethiopia, as told through the school essays and journal entries of Emilia and Teo over the years.

The author counts Black Dove, White Raven as part of her Young Pilots series, along with the incredible Code Name Verity  and Rose Under Fire (check out the fascinating variations in cover art as published in other countries).

What books about young people in wartime would you recommend? Share in the comments, please!
**kmm

Book info: Black Dove, White Raven / Elizabeth Wein. Hyperion Books, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.

My book talk: With war edging nearer Ethiopia in 1935, an American aviatrix tries to help her adopted country and placate enemy forces while keeping her daughter Emilia and black foster son Teo safe – but some troubles cannot be flown away from.

Retired from stunt flying as ‘White Raven’ when her partner and best friend Delia ‘the Black Dove’ was killed, Momma eventually moves to Ethiopia as the pair had planned, bringing her white daughter and Delia’s half-Ethiopian son in 1930 to the only African nation never conquered by Europeans.

Seeing Emperor Haile Selassie crowned, meeting Teo’s uncles, living in a rural settlement and learning to speak Amharic – Em and Teo enjoy life with Momma, until the true price of the plane given to them by Em’s Italian aviator father is revealed.

Will old secrets send Teo to the battle lines?
Can Momma take reconnaissance photos for Italy and Ethiopia at the same time?
Will Em ever get comfortable with landing the plane?

Warriors with spears against machine guns, the League of Nations turning a deaf ear to Ethiopia’s calls for help, new calendar masking old laws. “Spiderwebs joined together can catch a lion” goes the Ethiopian proverb, but what a fragile thing to carry all the country’s hopes for peace. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Monster in the Mudball, by S.P. Gates (book review) – ancient hunger, on the loose!

book cover of Monster in the Mudball by SP Gates published by Tu BooksTrapped for decades,
she awakens hungry,
violently hungry…

Every time ancient Zilombo is reborn, the monster from deep in an African lake has new and frightening powers that help her hunt – this time in England!

Try out three chapters for free here and you’ll be hooked as Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z go after The Monster in the Mudball  along the Oozeburn River’s littered shores.

Do you hear the shivery jangle of a bottle cap anklet…  or is it just me?
**kmm

Book info:  Monster in the Mudball (An Artifact Inspector Book) / S. P. Gates. Tu Books, 2013.  [author biography]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A baby, a monster older than the world, and a mysterious inspector – Jin and Frankie need the last one to help them rescue the first one from the middle one, before Zilombo eats him!

No one would expect that dusty old ball of mud contained an African monster which would gladly eat anything, especially when the mudball had been high on a shelf in a small British house for 20 years. How the dried dirt became mud again, hatched out its oversize feet and huge-clawed hands, escaped from its exile just before the Inspector of Ancient Artifacts arrived on her annual inspection… Jin knows, and Mizz Z the inspector knows that his baby brother is in great danger if this Zilombo monster isn’t caught – soon!

After such a long imprisonment, ancient Zilombo needs food and a hiding place, so she runs toward the scent of water, finding a secret spot near the river and sniffing for the delicious scent of that Smiler baby – oh, how she will enjoy eating it!

Jin and Mizz Z are on Zilombo’s trail, recruiting big sister Frankie along the way, but they may be too late, as baby Smiler chooses this night to take his first steps at Grandma and Grandad Tang’s riverside house.

Why does Mizz Z know so much about this ancient monster?
What new powers does Zilombo have in her newest form?
Can Jin and Frankie really save their baby brother?

Wild adventure along the muddy banks of the deceptively calm Oozeburn River as Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z try to recapture the monster with her jangling ankle bracelet of soda bottle caps before she strikes again.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

A Girl Called Problem, by Katie Quirk (book review) – move our village, change our luck?

Book cover of A Girl Called Problem by Katie Quirk published by Eerdmans Move our whole village?
School for all the children!!
Leaving behind our memories and starting from scratch?

In 1967, Tanzania was still “becoming” a single country after the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar following their recent independence from European powers. President Nyerere asked all his people and tribes to work together as one. Sometimes this meant moving from small poor villages into larger villages to have schools and medical care.

Ask for this April 2013 paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore, and travel in its pages to discover how Shida and her family cope with big changes in those early years of Tanzania.

When has moving to a new place helped you grow?
**kmm

Book info: A Girl Called Problem / Katie Quirk. Eerdmans, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A new start sounds good to Shida, as Tanzania becomes a unified country in 1967, but can the 13 year old and the other villagers truly find a better life in their new town?

So many problems in her life – mama depressed and thought to be a witch, a curse tied to their family, even Shida’s name means ‘problem’ in Swahili, her only gift from her late father’s family. She learns about healing herbs from the village grandmothers and helps families with small illnesses – why can’t the village elders see that she should become a true healer, instead of just planning to be married?

To become a strong new African nation, the people need schools and health care, so the president asks those in small villages to move and form towns. Move from Litongo? Each family will have a new hut with tin roof and a plot for growing food. All the children will go to school, even the girls!

The president’s promises are true – new huts, plots of land, a school, and a clinic! But some already living in Njia Panda don’t want more people in their town, and many traditional men think that girls shouldn’t be in school, including their teacher! Odd things begin to happen in the Litongo part of town – cattle wander from the thornbush corral, clothing goes missing (Mama Shida is sure it’s another curse).

Can Shida and her cousins convince their teacher that girls belong at school?
Can Shida care for her mama and have time to work with the clinic nurse, too?
Can she solve the mysterious things happening to her neighbors?

A full and vibrant slice of life in the early days of Tanzania, A Girl Called Problem tries to outrun her own name and find a way for the Litongo villagers to truly become part of the town and their country’s future.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Laugh With the Moon, by Shana Burg (fiction) – grief and laughter, new friends in Africa

book cover of Laugh With the Moon by Shana Burg published by Delacorte

Roosters wandering through the school.
Sharing one pencil between ten students.
Daily anti-malaria pills too pricy for most families.

On this World Wednesday, United Nations Day, travel us to Malawi, as a grieving American teen and her dad try to help others, despite their own pain.

Clare does indeed  feel like “a marshmallow that fell into a bag of dark chocolate” (p. 5) as she arrives with her doctor-dad in the “warm heart of Africa” which has the fewest doctors per capita of any country in the world.

Missing her late mother, her friends, the conveniences of modern life, Clare learns to ignore enormous centipedes, to find alternative ways to get around shortages, and to appreciate her newfound friends, especially Memory, who has lost both her mother and her father.

This summer 2012 new book takes you to a far-off land with just a short trip to your local library or independent bookstore. Could you Laugh With the Moon,  instead of crying alone, if you were in Clare’s place?
**kmm

Book info: Laugh With the Moon / Shana Burg. Delacorte Press, 2012.  [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]  

My Recommendation:  Malawi is not Massachusetts – Clare can’t believe that her father has uprooted her from junior high school to come to Africa for a season. After her mother died, they were both so sad for so long… he thinks the change of scenery will do them good, but Clare isn’t sure she can adjust to any more changes!
Mosquito netting around her narrow bed, no cellphone service out here in the bush, riding a borrowed bicycle down a bumpy dirt road to Mzanga Full Primary School where she’s the only white student, wearing a hand-me-down school uniform, but is fully welcomed with smiles…

Soon Clare becomes accustomed to helping pack up her classroom’s books to take to the school’s only lockable room, to placing cans beneath its worst leaks during the rains, to understanding almost enough about her classmates to keep from embarrassing herself too much.
Her sketchbook fills with drawings of her friends who have chosen English names like Innocent and Memory, of jungle animals, and of Fred the hen who arrived as a mystery gift on their doorstep. She finally can see her mother’s face and hear her voice in her dreams. And her father the doctor tries to help all the children who flood into the free hospital, day and night.
An emergency during an outing to Lake Malombe leaves the school friends stranded, with time running out. How can they get everyone to safety? Why can’t an ambulance get there? Why is everything so difficult in Malawi? How will Clare ever feel whole in her heart without her mother’s gentle love?
From teaching tools made from termite-mound mud to the charming style of English spoken in Mkumba, readers will be delighted to explore Clare’s new world as she learns to Laugh With the Moon and embrace life after loss.  (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Memories of Africa (reflective) – tales of travel, hope, survival

The idea of “getting lost in a good book” brought to mind several memorable stories that I’ve recommended on BooksYALove over the past year.

These books set in Africa are worth a second look; click on each title to read my no-spoilers recommendation in a new window/tab, then find them at your local library or independent bookstore.
**kmm

book cover of Now Is The Time For Running by Michael Williams published by Little BrownNow is the Time for Running,  but not just to play soccer. Deo must help his disabled older brother escape guaranteed death in Zimbabwe and stay alive long enough to find sanctuary in South Africa. Wild animals, deceitful travel companions, and city gangs all pose unpredictable dangers to the young teen.

Author Michael Williams lives and teaches in South Africa, where he’s seen  first-hand the prejudice of city folk against the flood of refugees caused by political instability, as well as dedicated street-soccer coaches who turn around lives today.

book cover of This Thing Called the Future by JL Powers published by Cinco Puntos PressFourteen-year-old Khosi wonders and worries about This Thing Called the Future,  trying to balance her schoolwork with caring for her little sister and grandmother while Mama works away, wondering if she should pray only to God-in-the-sky instead of using traditional remedies, knowing that “the disease of these times” could end all her dreams of going to college.

Named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012 list, this novel examines life and love in the South Africa shantytowns where beliefs from the past collide with the modern reality of the AIDS virus.

book cover of Mamba Point by Kurtis Scaletta published by KnopfBrought from unremarkable Ohio to exotic Liberia by his father’s work in the 1980s, Linus decides to reinvent himself as a cool guy. Reading about Africa, he learns that the black mamba snake is secretive and rare. Yet the first thing Linus sees when the plane lands in Africa is a black mamba!

The U.S. Embassy residence area is called Mamba Point,  but no one ever sees black mambas there…except Linus. An old man in the neighborhood tells him about connections with spirit animals – is the venomous snake truly his ‘kaseng’?

(For all books, review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.)

To Timbuktu, by Casey Sciezka (nonfiction) – art, teaching, love, travel

Nine countries,
Two people,
One true story.

Travel the long route To Timbuktu with Casey and Steven on this World Wednesday, sharing their everyday joys, occasional mishaps, and adventures on their two-year journey together.

Steven’s charcoal sketches perfectly complement Casey’s retelling of their experiences as teachers of English in Beijing (becoming residents instead of visitors that cold winter ), as travelers in Vietnam and Thailand (paradise of warmth and way too many tourists), and as observers in different towns of Mali, including the remote and legendary Timbuktu.

Returning to the US, they’ve established the Local Language Literacy foundation to provide humorous books to African students in their native languages. Casey’s first LLL book was translated into Bamanakan by a teacher they worked with in Mali, and 1300 copies are now in the hands of Malian high school students. Currently, she and Steven are working with author Daour Wade to create books in French and Wolof for students in Senegal.

What an adventure Casey and Steven had as they traveled together! You’ll be glad that you came along on their winding journey To Timbuktu!
**kmm

Book info: To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story / Casey Scieszka, illustrated by Steven Weinberg. Roaring Brook, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: World travel – that’s the plan for Casey and Steven after graduation. Now, actually getting jobs overseas – that’s another thing…

When they met in Morocco during junior semester abroad, the pair tried to just live in the moment, as they’d be in college on opposite coasts when they returned to the US. But they couldn’t let each other go and kept up their long-distance romance through that long, difficult year before graduation.

Casey dreams of living overseas and writing the stories told by Muslims who live in different cultures, examining how Islamic schools differ from others in the same country. Steven’s art is his passion; what career that will lead him to is still uncertain. As Casey writes grant applications for her research, Steven wonders how his future fits into hers…

When Casey finally gets funding to live and write in Mali – a year from now – she and Steven decide to travel and work in other countries along the way. Teaching English in Beijing, touring Southeast Asia, grabbing a quick rendezvous with their families in Paris, a detour through Morocco to see their host families again, then they’re finally in Mali!

But can the couple stay in love through traveler’s flu, bureaucratic red tape, and erratic train schedules? When Casey is piled-up with research, will Steven have enough to do? And once you’ve gone all the way To Timbuktu, what do you do next??

This autobiographical travel memoir leaps off the pages, thanks to Casey’s evocative narrative and Steven’s many sketches, taking us from their Beijing neighborhood to the schools of Mali and everywhere in between. And, yes, Casey is the daughter of author Jon Scieskza. (Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher)