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Memories of Sun: Stories of Africa and America Hardcover – December 23, 2003

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. Avoiding the usual exotic, primitive stereotypes, these 12 stories and three poems take readers up close to contemporary young people in all their diversity and connections. Born in Ghana, Danquah came to the U. S. when she was six, and her free-verse poem, "An African American," celebrates the two places she considers home. Nikki Grimes' short story tells of a white kid visiting a Bushman community, where she makes a friend and moves from tourist to participant. In stark contrast is the story about a teen in L.A. haunted by his memories as a child soldier-killer in Sierra Leone. Editor Kurtz grew up with white missionary parents in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. a stranger; her story contrasts an American kid's blather about a date with her Ethiopian friend's anguished memories of kids killed by landmines. Some stories are too purposive, and some require more background information for American readers; but the long notes at the back with each author's bio and commentary add to these rich narratives of two continents. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jane Kurtz was born in Portland, Oregon, but moved to Ethiopia when she was two years old and lived there for most of her childhood. She visited Boise, Idaho, for one year when she was seven, and she spent one year in Pasadena, California, when she was thirteen.

As an adult, she has spent time in several African countries but lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she teaches part time in the English department at the University of North Dakota. She says, "My whole life has been shaped by that feeling of never being able to go home again. Luckily for me, my writing can transport me anyplace in the world."

Jane Kurtz is the author of both picture books and novels, and her titles include The Storyteller's Beads and Faraway Home.


Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1 edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060510501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060510503
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Peggy Tibbetts VINE VOICE on March 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Memories of Sun" is a story collection that takes the reader on a sensory journey into and out of Africa. But don't mistake this book for a travelogue. Each poem and story is a generous slice of African culture spiced with an emotional punch.
While reading the book, I happened to see the movie, "Tears of the Sun." As the opening scenes played out, I realized it was also about Africa. Of course I immediately thought about "Memories of Sun". Because I had read most of, I felt a deeper emotional pull into the film's story. No doubt the director and the publisher never intended for the two to complement one another, but they do.
Kurtz's superb editing is the glue that holds this collection together. She divided the book into three sections: Africa; Americans in Africa; and Africans in America. Each section is introduced with a poem carefully selected to set the tone for the stories to come.
In Africa, "Bagamoya" by Nikki Grimes offers the sights and sounds of an ancient African seaport. In the following stories, readers meet Annette who exchanges gifts with a South African Bushman girl; Hedi who learns about art in the Roman ruins of Dougga, Tunisia; Auma Adoch who journeys from the hills of Sudan to Mengo, Uganda, to discover whose child she really is; and Kamau who desperately wants his father to see him run his race on Sports Day in Nairobi.
In Americans in Africa, "Into the Maghreb" by Lindsey Clark takes readers on an enchanting trip to Morocco through a child's eyes. In these stories readers travel to Senegal with Josie and her Ole Ma; to a school in South Africa with the rebellious Lincoln; and to Ruaha, Tanzania, on comical safari with Sarah and her family.
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Format: Hardcover
In Memories of Sun, we hear the stories of children who currently live in various parts of Africa, Americans living in or visiting Africa and Africans living in America. Divided into these three distinct sections, the stories express a variety of cultural experiences as well as the imprint these cultures have on the children who inhabit them both. Some stories are touching, some humorous and some heartbreaking. All are unforgettable.

Jane Kurtz, a self described "third culture kid," was born in the U.S. but raised for most of her childhood in Ethiopia. In Memories of Sun, she has created an anthology of twelve stories and three poems that speak in the voices of children who share that duality of culture. The back of the book contains an informative section about the authors. Students will find much to learn and relate to once they read these powerful stories.
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