Authors…

Please take some time to read about the participating books in our scheme and their Authors – their personal stories  and experiences are as compelling and inspiring as the stories they have created… 

“A IS FOR AFRICA” by Ifeoma Onyefulu

One of the books participating in the scheme is “A is for Africa” written by Ifeoma Onyefulu.  We love this book particularly because it allows older children of secondary age who may not be as inspired by early learning story books to be stimulated to read and learn about words and objects prevalent in African village life.ifeoma Onyefulu signature3

Talking about her book, Ifeoma, says she was inspired to write this book because she was frustrated about the many books written on animals in Africa and few on the daily lives of people.

“This book is my way of showing what the people of Africa mean to me and what we all have in common: the traditional village life, warm family ties and above all the hospitality for which Africans are famous.  Although it was set in Nigeria I had purposely photographed all the things I believed showed the rich diversity of this huge continent.”  

For more news about Ifeoma’s published works, photographs and current projects please visit her website;  www.ifeomaonyefulu.co.uk

“THE GARBAGE KING” by Elizabeth Laird

Critically acclaimed “The Garbage King” (which just finished a run in London’s West End) is probably the most advanced book in terms of reading ability on our reading list.  A novel that has been shortlisted for many awards and won a few along  the way too, it is a heart warming story of loss, friendship, love, hope and adventure set on the streets of Addis Ababa that will actually inspire readers young and old.  In my humble opinion it should be ranked as one of the great modern classics of  children’s literature and am excited to think that through supporters posting this book via the Pelican Post, that this book may affect many African children who get the opportunity to read it in the same way that it affected me.  (-still get a lump in my throat thinking about it!) 

The story is actually inspired by Elizabeth’s own experiences whilst living in Ethiopia and features personal messages from some of the street children she met.  One particular boy who inspired Elizabeth to write the main character in the book had a dream come true last month when he got to fly to England to see the opening of The Garbage King Production at the Unicorn Theatre in London.  For the full story please visit Elizabeth’s blog -.http://lairdelizabeth.blogspot.com/

An avid fan of this beautiful country, Elizabeth has also most recently been involved in an ambitious project to collect and document as many traditional Ethiopian folk stories and tales to ensure that their stories are kept alive for generations to come.  These stories are free for everyone and anyone to access, download and pass on.  For more information on this amazing project please visit http://ethiopianfolktales.com/ and for more on Elizabeth’s latest writings and adventures please visit www.elizabethlaird.co.uk.  Elizabeth has also been a wonderful supporter of the Pelican Post with much thanks 🙂

“MAMA PANYA’S PANCAKES” by Mary Chamberlin

A husband and wife writing team from Naperville, Illinois, U.S.A.,  Mary and Rich love Africa and are excited to share their experiences as travelers, writers, and world citizens. Their beautifully illustrated and award-winning book “Mama Panya’s Pancakes” is published by Barefoot Books in the US and UK, and in numerous translations across the world.

What is especially nice about this story is that although it is set in Kenya, the story is universal in its appeal with a strong message to young and early readers about the importance of generosity and community.

Mary and Rich regularly visit schools throughout Illinois and indeed all over the US to talk about their book and share with school children their stories and experiences.   

“Kids seem to like that Adika loves to share, and that he has faith things will work out when all his friends in the whole world show up for dinner – together – at the same time.! It is wonderful that our book’s journey will help more children in Africa.  As writers and creators, we are so happy to have written something that can help kids read and enjoy the love of the story. ”   Mary and Rich are currently working on another children’s picture book set in Ethiopia for release in 2011, which we are sure will be another success with early readers round the world.  For more information about the latest writings and antics of the couple and their pets (Janice the Dog and Bean the rabbit) please visit www.richnmarywriters.com.

“JOURNEY TO JO’BURG” by Beverley Naidoo

This incredible book,  which celebrates its 25th birthday in 2010 and known the world over is perhaps as famous about the subsequent headlines the story created after being published as is the story itself.  Set in South Africa during the Apartheid era, this story of two children travelling great distances to find their Mother was inspired by a true story but was banned in South Africa as propaganda until 1991.

“Most exciting for me is when I feel my writing has really touched a nerve – as with an eleven year old who wrote a long letter full of questions about injustice and children. She was indignant that a book like Journey to Jo’burg could be banned:  ‘Why shouldn’t young people learn what is really happening on Earth? The quicker we learn the more intelligent and strong willing we shall become. That way we can make peace.'” 

Beverley has been a supporter of the Pelican Post’s aims and objectives right from the beginning and very kindly agreed to be interviewed to endorse the scheme, for which we are immensely grateful.  As Beverley so eloquently quoted in the interview, “the wonderful thing about books is that they go on journeys for whoever is going to read that book.” 

You can access the podcasts in full at https://pelicanpost.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/author-beverley-naidoo-gives-her-support/ and please visit her website for more about Beverley’s other inspiring children’s stories at www.beverleynaidoo.com

 “THE BUSH” by Bernard Ashley

Another great author perhaps more renowned for his tough, and gritty, fast paced teenage novels than the early reader picture book listed in the Pelican Post scheme.  Just like his older teenage fiction however, here is a story that builds up to an emotional turning point – namely what is going to happen to Joyce’s pet rabbit Kipenzi?  When Mum says that she’s going to take them to ‘The Bush’, a misunderstanding leads to an exciting chain of events.   Like many of Bernard’s stories, The Bush reveals a deep fascination and love for Africa, as well as an undimmed passion for decency and justice.  Bernard very much enjoys doing the research for his books. For Little Soldier (another brilliant story) he went to Uganda – which also inspired the setting for The Bush; and for Down to the Wire he went to Ghana, which led also to Angel Boy, set in the slave fort town of Elmina.

Bernard has been a great supporter of the Pelican Post from the very outset and very kindly gave a talk about what inspires him to write and of his experiences in Africa at the Big Book Swap (www.bigbookswap.co.uk) held earlier this year in support of the Pelican Post in central London.

For more on the works of children’s fiction by Bernard Ashley, please visit his website; www.bashley.com

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