We would like to ask you to help us with a little charitable project, a brief partnership with a publisher who is raising money to help send Bibles to the Republic of Ghana, hoping to give one to every one of the 500,000 high school students there. The Prime Minister and First Lady of Ghana have initiated this, and Tyndale Publishing House has published a handsome, inexpensive New Living Translation hardback with an African cover design, a letter from the First Lady, Her Excellency Dr. (Mrs.) Enestina Naadu Mill, and a few study notes and extra helps for those unfamiliar with the message of the Bible. It's a very cool project, organized on the ground by the good folks of Scripture Union, and it seemed like a nice opportunity to give back a bit. See the rest of that post, here.
In that BookNotes post we listed a few great books, mostly about social change and making a difference in the world, especially around the sorts of problems that plague the great continent of Africa, and said we'd donate a Bible (to this Bibles for Ghanian students project) for any of the books you purchased. Even apart from the cool Bible project, these were really great books.
Now we are giving you yet another option to have a Bible sent, by buying a truly marvelous children's book, a favorite of this season, entitled Under the Baobab Tree, by Julie Stiegemeyer and illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Zonderkidz; $16.99.) It's easy. You buy the book, and we'll ship it to you promptly. Enclosed with that will be a small, colorful, African prayer card, reminding you to pray for Ghana, and confirming that a NLT Ghanian edition Bible was sent on your behalf. Of course sending the Bible is a nice thing, but this book is excellent, too. Julie Stiegemeyer is an experienced children's writer, a good storyteller (and the wife of a Lutheran pastor.)
You can visit her website here.
Baobab trees, as you may know, are legendary in some parts of Africa, and they serve all sorts of good purposes. When I was studying the systematic injustices related to bad models of economic development years ago---documented in books like Food First by Francis Moore Lappe and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider, for instance---I learned about how some corporations had these ancient trees chopped down to make way for cash crops, and the deleterious effects of removing these valuable trees. For some, protecting these trees became a bit of a symbol, wanting to protect indigenous cultures autonomy, the strength of local economies, and honoring wise stewardship of African lands.
None of that is mentioned in this sweet and charming book, but it may be a backstory. You see, this book celebrates traditional life through a simple, gentle story, without being didactic at all, showing that these trees serve as a centerpiece of village life, that important things transpire under the broad branches of these leafy, sturdy trees. There is excitement as the children make their way to the village's meeting place under the baobab.
What happens to these children is not breathtaking, really but it is lovely. It is good, but you'll have to read the book to see for yourself. I can assure you it is a nice tale, a simple glimpse of a slice of life in a rural area not unlike what one might find in, well, in Ghana.
The horizons, nature scenery, and colorful villagers done in soft watercolors are the great strength of the book, illustrated wonderfully, artfully, by a skilled children's book illustrator. Mr. Lewis has illustrated more than 50 books for children, including several ALA Notable book awards and, in 2003, a Coretta Scott King Award. (He even has a contribution in the fantastic Desmond Tutu children's bible, The Children of God Storybook Bible, which includes some of the best children's book designers from all over the world.) Pay close attention to his work as it is exceptional. He's a perfect choice for this book.
We love this simple story and these warm evocative, watercolors. It would make a great gift for a child you know, a nice addition to any church library or public reading room---despite lots of talk about multiculturalism and ethnic diversity these days, many collections of children's books are still not too diverse, and could use some lovely scenes from the world's largest continent.
Spoiler alert: this wonderful trailer tells the story. Beautiful to watch, with nice examples of the pages. Cool music, too.
OFFER EXPIRES MAY 31 while supplies last
Again, if you buy the great hardback picture book Under the Baobab Tree by Julie Stiegemeyer & E.B. Lewis, we will send a Bible in your honor to the Tyndale Publishing House campaign with whom we have partnered to respond to the plea of the first family of Ghana, who are trying to get a Bible into the hands of every high school student there. Of course, if you want to make a donation to the campaign, you can use your credit card at our secure website order form page and just type in that you want to donate a Bible for Ghana. We'll take care of the rest, charging you $5.25 per Bible donated. But if you buy the children's book, we'll donate the Bible for you, at our cost. As always, thank you very much for your support of Hearts & Minds, the books we review, the authors we promote, and, in this case, the projects we endorse. We are glad you are part of our family of readers, customers, and friends.
"Bibles for Ghana" program
for every copy of Under the Baobab Tree purchased
Offer expires May 31, 2012.
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know