Araba's Bookshelf, side view   We recently came across a wonderful project over at Paper Tigers,  a blog devoted to multicultural children’s literature. They are traveling “Around the World in 100 Bookshelves,” inviting families to share their home bookshelves and favorite stories. This is a wonderful way to explore children’s literature and encourage reading, and we couldn’t wait to submit our own favorite bookshelf to the list!
Our own Mmofra blogger Araba has kept many of her favorite childhood tales over the years, storing them in a one-of-a-kind handpainted bookcase. There are early picture books, like The Invisible Princess, collections of poetry like Honey, I Love – and of course, who could forget our favorite Voice in the Forest? There are novels from every continent, stories that blend the magic of everyday life with myths and traditional legends, from America (Seedfolks) to Zimbabwe (The Ear, The Eye and The Arm).
Araba's bookshelf, side view
But the books on this shelf aren’t the only ones telling their stories! The bookcase itself is a globetrotter with international roots. These beautiful decorations were painted in Jamaica by artist Tukula Ntama. Do the symbols below look familiar? They come from Ghana’s Adinkra tradition. See if you can identify them!
With a rich blend of Ghanaian and Jamaican visual influences, Araba’s bookshelf continues to draw interest as it travels with her!
Detail of bookshelf painting
Were you able to guess which Adinkra symbols are featured?
From left to right: Nsoromma, Nyame Biribi Wo Soro and Akoma. You can read more about Adinkra symbols and their meanings here.


What you can do

Submit your own bookshelf story to us, and share it with Paper Tigers!
Build yourself a bookcase, and decorate it with your favorite images (perhaps scenes from a childhood book?). You can find simple tutorials for recycled cardboard bookcases here and here.

  1. We are so pleased that you discovered and our Around the World in 100 Bookshelves project. Many thanks for your submission which will be posted on our blog today.
    I am in awe of your gorgeous bookshelf and it’s globetrotting adventures. I don’t know what might draw people’s attention the most: the lovely titles inside ( 2 great books I can spot are Elisa Kleven’s Abuela and Faith Ringgold’s The Invisible Princess !) or the stunning artwork on the bookshelf. Simply beautiful!


  2. […] I learned of the Paper Tigers “Around the World in 100 Bookshelves” project, I had to submit a photo of […]


  3. Hi.Thanks for the big up! There is nothings that I love more than seeing my artwork still enjoyed and making it’s own life! Thank you for a smile today, More another time, Tukula


  4. […] 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 […]


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