Around the World in African Books

African book display, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane Washington. USA

Window display, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, USA, January 2012

Which African stories suitable for children and young adults are being noticed and read around the world, even if they are not yet reaching more than a few children in Africa?

How will a school child in India or Slovenia respond when asked for the name of an African book, writer or story?

For the answer to these intriguing and also vexing questions we’re circling the globe in pictures. Perhaps this small project will draw attention to the critical need for books with African content to be accessible to Africans!

Very often the reading public in African countries does not even know of the existence of the works of published African writers.  The books may not be sold in Africa at all, or if they are, may be expensive.

We first came across the “around the world” in books idea on the blog of our literary friends Paper Tigers, back when we contributed a bookcase to their collection.  Why mess with a good idea?

So send your image of any African book or books in any context from wherever you are,  to info@mmofraghana.org.  If it’s a good fit for this project, we’ll post it here.

Please let us know where the picture was taken, identify at least one of the books in the picture, and tell us who we should credit for the image. We won’t be able to share your contributions without this information, however wonderful they are!

Window display of African books at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, USA

Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, USA

From the United States Pacific Northwest in Spokane, Washington:  a window display in the  independent Auntie’s Bookstore, on a cold day in January 2012.

Looking at the display, we wondered what the motivation could have been for the bookstore to post the legend “Continent of Contrasts”?

Still, it was an eye-catching and quite varied selection including the ones which we could identify which are listed below.

The countries associated with the books in the pictures here relate to the authors or the settings:

A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone)

Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton (South Africa)

How the Leopard got his Claws, by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)

The Three Little Dassies, by Jan Brett (Namibia)

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Adichie (Nigeria)

Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia, by Won-Ldy Paye, Margaret Lippert and Julie Paschkis (Liberia)

Invictus: Nelson Mandela and the Game that made a Nation, by John Carlin (South Africa)

Running the Rift, by Naomi Benaron (Rwanda)

Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder (Burundi)

This Child Will Be Great:  Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President, by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  (Liberia)

 What is the What, by Dave Eggers ( Sudan)

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