Far from the usual generic stereotypes of poor children in Africa, this picture book, based on a true story, tells of one child, Kedi, in 1931 Cameroon, who hears from her white teacher about hungry people in New York City during the Great Depression. True to a local expression, Kedi’s “heart stands up and will not sit down,” and she inspires her village to send help “across the great salt river.” The brightly colored pictures, in watercolor with thick ink lines, root the story in daily village life: an uncle weaves baskets, women pound cassava, girls carry water from the river, and old men talk together in the palaver house. At first, everyone refuses to join Kedi’s cause; with life so hard, they cannot find money to send away. But Kedi’s “heart will not sit down,” and neither will the hearts of the others in her community, and, finally, everyone donates a coin for the hungry overseas. A long note fills in more about this title, which will make a terrific choice for cross-curricular sharing and discussion. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman
About the Author
MARA ROCKLIFF's recent books include The Busiest Street in Town
(an IndieNext Pick); the Milo & Jazz Mysteries (an ALA Best New Books for the Classroom Pick); and Get Real: What Kind of World Are You Buying?
She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her family.
ANN TANKSLEY is a fine artist who graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). She is the illustrator of the picture book The Six Fools
by Zora Neale Hurston, and the creator of a series of monoprints based on the writings of Hurston titled, "Images of Zora," which Maya Angelou described as "dazzling." She lives in Great Neck, New York.