Even as one who has spent considerable time in Africa, "in the trenches," so to speak, one who has many African friends, I cannot say that I truly undEven as one who has spent considerable time in Africa, "in the trenches," so to speak, one who has many African friends, I cannot say that I truly understand Africans. Their different ways of thinking, their cultures, their perceptions, often leave me, a white Western woman, bewildered and exasperated. Should I spend the remainder of my life among them, I believe I would always be aware of the vast gulf of understanding that stands between us and my own ingrained and presumptive Western ideologies. That's why it's invaluable to run across a book that helps me to understand, as much as I am able, the African social and familial ideologies that so fundamentally differ from my own.
SAY YOU'RE ONE OF THEM by Uwem Akpan is a collection of five short stories, each written through the point-of-view of an African child. From the genocide in Rwanda to the epidemic of violence in Nigeria, the children narrate the events of their lives -- the prejudices and fears, the joys and the horrors, through writing that is both vivid and stark. Born and raised in Nigeria, Akpan has truly captured the voice and heart of Africa's children. Through their chatter, their confusion, their longings, and their grief, the children communicate universal needs: to be loved, to be secure, and to be happy.
When we allow ourselves to be as children, willing to give love and be loved unconditionally, then we embrace these universal needs as fundamental human rights. And when we do that, all ideologies that before stood like fortressed walls between us, crumble into dust.
I've often wondered it myself . . . What would happen to our planet if women were in charge? Would hunger end? Wars cease? Would harmony prevail? In hI've often wondered it myself . . . What would happen to our planet if women were in charge? Would hunger end? Wars cease? Would harmony prevail? In his book, EPITAPH ROAD, Northwest author David Patneaude seeks to answer these questions. The year is 2097. Ninety-seven percent of the human male population were wiped out thirty years previously due to an airborne virus. Women are now in charge . . . Patneaude deftly weaves a gritty tale, unpredictable and mesmerizing. The future setting is well-drawn, realistic, the scenario plausible, the writing solid. The story raises interesting ethical questions suitable for classroom discussion: Do the ends justify the means? What is peace? True peace? and "What price would you pay for a perfect world?"(Ages 12+)
In TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Harper Lee captures the essence of childhood amidst the tensions of a small southern town torn by prejudice and intolerance.In TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Harper Lee captures the essence of childhood amidst the tensions of a small southern town torn by prejudice and intolerance.
I don't know how old I was when I first read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD -- eleven maybe, or twelve. As a child, I was immediately drawn into young Scout's world. Like her, I worshiped her father, Atticus. And like her brother, Jem, I wept the tears of a child in the face of blatant, horrific injustice.
Having just finished it again after many years, I not only recalled my experience of first reading it, but I discovered the many layers in Harper Lee's story, the subtleties that had eluded my child's mind. But while the subtleties are brilliant, there is something about the innocence of a child's tears, wept on the pages so long ago; for it's the perfect capturing of that very innocence, like a bird nestled softly in the hand, that makes this book a masterpiece....more
I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. And on one level, I did. I enjoyed the setting, the Civil War so realistically and unapologetically renderI really, really wanted to enjoy this book. And on one level, I did. I enjoyed the setting, the Civil War so realistically and unapologetically rendered, the poetic descriptions, and uncommon dialogue. But on another level, I found myself not able to connect with the main characters. At times I found the characters to be so darkly introspective as to cross the line into the unbelievable. I do admire the story itself though, and I certainly admire the historical Carrie McGavock, a true heroine who acted against crushing odds....more