Favorite children’s books from “World Africa”

In the village of little Arif, somewhere in Indonesia, an old man makes musical instruments using know-how inherited from the elders

Favorite children’s books from “World Africa”

In the village of little Arif, somewhere in Indonesia, an old man makes musical instruments using know-how inherited from the elders. As a curious boy, little Arif watches the latter transform, as if by magic, a simple piece of wood and a bit of fishing line into a “celempung” (a musical instrument similar to the sitar) with a crystalline sound. Unfortunately, one fine day, a terrible cyclone hits the village, causing desolation. Where did the wind take the “celempung”? Without hesitation, Arif embarks on a great journey to find the instrument that will undoubtedly bring a little joy to everyone.

Under the pen of Mahorese author Dalfine Ahamadi and the pencil of Geneviève Marot, little Arif's journey turns into a wonderful adventure. From Indonesia to Madagascar, via Tanzania and Mayotte, the boy makes friends and discovers the various names of the instrument in each country. He understands that everywhere we also rejoice in hearing his sounds which do good to all and connect humans. A story that subtly reminds us of the importance of music and how essential it is to a life in good harmony.

What is your favorite fruit ? It is from this question and the evocative power of fruits that the Franco-Rwandan author Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse has developed this pretty album in which little Rose dialogues with her parents. Rose's father has not one but four favorite fruits.

When asked about it, “Dad doesn’t say anything, but he closes his eyes and smiles. Guava is his favorite fruit, green or yellow on the outside, candy pink on the inside (…). The lychee is his other favorite fruit, pink on the outside, white flesh on the inside (…). Dragon fruit is his other favorite fruit, dark pink skin, black dots on white in its heart (…). The tamarillo is his last favorite fruit, orange pulp and garnet pink juice. »

A story where diversity combines with pleasure and surprise, because fruits do not always have the color of their outer skin inside. A story of flavors as well, as well as smells. Finally, a story of memory and memories, those that make your mouth water, those that make you dream, those that give rise to nostalgia and make you want to go far away, to the country of grandmother Mammouna . An album full of tenderness which allows us to casually approach the themes of crossbreeding, transmission and origins. With richness and flavor.

The story takes place in a large African city where, like every year, the parade is being prepared for the celebration of Youth Day. Narrator of the novel, a young schoolboy prepares for it with excitement. That day, he puts on his well-pressed suit, puts on his well-polished shoes and rehearses laughing under the eyes of his “great-grandfather”, with stiff military movements.

But this year, a second parade will also take place. Those who were formerly called “the Senegalese tirailleurs” will commemorate the war. What war? The dean “Great-grandfather” takes out of his room an iron canteen containing his uniform from then… Because it is time to tell his great-grandson why he went to fight one day very far away, all the way to Europe , and how he “took part in the liberation of Paris.”

From a suitcase full of memories, Kouam Tawa finds the way to a deeply moving dialogue between the child and the veteran. “And I thought that Grand-grandfather had spent his life smoking a pipe on the veranda! “, exclaims the little boy, suddenly conscious and full of pride. Carried by the talent of the Cameroonian storyteller and poet, and by the striking images of the designer Marco Chamorro, the family story joins the great history of the world, recalling in passing the courageous contribution of Africans to past European wars.

“My stories are vehicles for the journey. Hop in and let yourself be driven! », proposes the storyteller to his assembly. And it is by responding to this call that listeners and readers allow themselves to be carried away as one embarks “in a canoe, an automobile, a spaceship” towards the journey proposed by the writer Eugène Ebodé: Grandfather Ouidi in the Sahel. The Cameroonian man of letters is in fact presenting at the end of the year a collection of tales of a new genre, where traditional ingredients (stories by an ancestor, meeting under a baobab tree, animals gifted with speech, etc.) mix with others, more surprising and modern (plane to Dubai, checks and bank notes, discussions on human rights, etc.).

The result is a series of nine original tales, offered to the wisdom of readers. Here, there is no moral or formal conclusion: the stories follow one another, amusing, astonishing, such as the one featuring a donkey demanding to be treated with dignity or this other in which a hunter triumphs over a cheetah thanks to the vigilance of a kitten. As for the Sahel, it is the ultimate setting, a space magnified by the storyteller, in an era beyond current times. In short, tales dedicated to the joy of reading and being read, to the pleasure of laughing and sharing.