#AnitaEverything: Straight Outta Ggwa | Ernest Bazanye

Once upon a time in Uganda there lived a girl child.
Actually there lived many of them because Ugandans rut like rabbits on caffeinated Viagra. All they do is drink, complain about Umeme and reproduce.
The nation is populated by drunks, whingers and newborns, some of whom are girl children, and form not only a very important social demographic but also the centre of this series.

One such girl was Anita. Anita lived in a rural village called Ggwa, which is found up the hill, then down, then you go round the corner, then you see the muyembe, you pass it and you go and go then you will see a boda stage but the bikers are human and the bikes are Bajaj mate. The green ones. Don’t stop. Keep going.

Then you will find another boda stage. But the bikes are roadmaster and the bikers are zombies. Keep it moving. We ain’t done yet.

Then you will find another stage. Here the bikes are donkeys and the bikers are zinjanthropus. You are almost there. Keep going.

Go until you find that the air smells different. You will detect the smell of perpetual despair and poverty. You are getting close. Be of strong heart. Keep it moving. We don’t have all day.

You will eventually find that the sunlight looks different. If shines with the glint of hardship and destitution. You are getting very close. Keep it going. This ain’t no joyride.

Finally you will see a cluster of huts so beaten up and broken and battered and busted up that you will understand why, when you ask the first resident you speak to for the kigaga zone of the village, he points to an anthill.

It was in this village that Anita was raised.

Now Anita was the village belle. Not only did she have one of those Baganda faces which you know… you know what I mean? If you look at Mariam Ndagire and Grace Nakimera and Ella Nantumbwe and see what they have in common, that is what I mean. That one. Anita had that.

She also had a tremendous ass. Whooo! That ass. It was an ass that would not submit to patriarchal constraints which try to shackle a woman’s sexual power and subdue the might of her sexuality. That ass was too awesome to allow.
I don’t mean it was big. I mean it was good. It was perfect geometrically; surface area and diameter could solve for x. It was the ass that throws enemies into disarray because they don’t know where to ogle. Her ass was da bomb to such an extent that Kim Jong Un wanted to launch it over Japan.

The rest of her body was also very pleasant to see, and as for that face and that smile and the way they moved when she spoke? Heavy sigh.

So Anita was hot. But in addition to this she was also very clever. Which is why she decided to leave Ggwa and head to Kampala.

That was the first chapter. We will continue.

Aya De Yopougue by Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie | A Review by Olivia Rose

Aya De Yopougue is a beautiful old school comic book, set in the early 80s in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. It was written by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie and is recommended for children aged 10 to 12 years.

It depicts the togetherness of the traditional African community. Set in a small town, the first part begins in a neighbourhood of close families, all gathered in one house to watch a commercial on TV, the first one in Ivory Coast. This same sense of community is seen when the story’s protagonist, Aya, is being bothered in the market by a seemingly harmful man and an old lady comes to her aid and summons another man to scare him off. It is also shown during a wedding ceremony that takes place, where all the villagers and nearby communities come together and make merry till day break.

Abouet and Oubrerie portray humour all throughout their book which keeps the reader glued to the pages till the end. This humour is aided still by the comic book’s appropriate illustrations which help the young reader follow along from beginning to end.

The story centres on Aya and her group of friends. Aya stands out because she has different beliefs and a way of life that is distinct from her friends. Despite her close relationship with them, she sticks to her way of life. Aya is in school, which speaks to the importance of girl child education especially during the 1970s. Her friends fool around with men and one of them winds up pregnant but Aya sticks to her beliefs and doesn’t get involved with any man or join her friends during the late night parties they like to attend.

The author shows, that though a child messes up, it’s always possible to lead them in the right way. The story also highlights the disadvantages of abortion when Aya’s friend tries to terminate her pregnancy and falls sick.

The book ends on a light note when the baby is welcomed into the world.

The book also has a beautiful glossary at the end where traditions, especially from Ivory Coast, are explained to the reader. For example, a specific drink made from ginger is explained step by step. There is also a small tutorial on how to make a head wrap and a simple recipe on how to make a delicious peanut sauce; a delicacy in Ivory Coast. This exposé gives the readers a detailed knowledge on a few traditions in Ivory Coast.

For more titles like these, suited to some of your older storylovers, come by our library! 

Celebrating Women’s Month with Your Child

Women’s Month, the month of March, is a particularly significant one. As adults and as both women and men, we understand its importance and find ways to commemorate and acknowledge women that are inspiring and achieving. We need to start ensuring that our children are being taught to recognize the need for social, political and economic equality of the sexes. They need to see that women can infact do it all, and understand the ways society has in the past and present kept them from being all they can, so they can be the ones to end the cycle, even if only within their spheres of influence. What better way to start this process than being deliberate about acknowledging Women’s Month? Here are a few ways you can do that.

Reflect

Take time to talk about the women in your family and some of the powerful things they might have done. Talk about your mother’s achievements, your aunties’, yours and even your daughters’. It can be things as simple as managing a career and a home, or the ways in which they were able to build strong careers. Discuss some of your daughter’s aspirations and the ways in which they can work to achieve them.

Read

Look for titles by or about women and focus on them throughout the month. Start the month by explaining that you’ll be reading these books and highlight why. Make sure to bring out the importance of women’s day and women’s month. With your children under 6, you can read to them at least a couple of times a week. For your teens and preteens, decide on two or three titles that they will read through the month and take some time over meals or in car rides to discuss the titles. See a few suggestions from our children’s library below.

Write

Have your children pick a female role model and write them a letter. It can be a letter of appreciation or admiration. Give your younger children a few questions to guide their letter writing. You can edit the letter with them and perhaps add flowers or a gift to accompany the letter. For female role models that are inaccessible, your child can write a letter with ways in which they plan to emulate their role model in their own lives. You can bury the letter or keep it somewhere safe and open it a year later to see how well they are emulating their role model.

Give

Pick one weekend in the month and deliberately give of your time or money to a business or charity organization catering to women in particular. Some suggestions include Pearls for Her Uganda, Girl-EMED, Girls Not Brides Uganda and UN Women Uganda,where you can find several volunteering or donation opportunities.

Learn

Choose a couple of powerful Ugandan women and dedicate time to researching and learning about them. Depending on what your children are interested in, look for women that are powerhouses in sports like Dorcus Inzikuru and Susan Muwonge, in STEM like Mary Okwakol and Josephine Namboze, in law and advocacy like Julia Sebutinde and Lillian Tibatemwa and so many others. You can work at doing fun projects around them such as mind maps or character flow charts.

L-R Dorcus Inzikuru, Susan Muwonge, Mary Okwakol, Josephine Namboze, Julia Sebutinde and Lillian Tibatemwa

8 Creative Ways to Shelve Your Children’s Books

One of the easiest ways to impress reading onto your child is to surround them with books. Having books made accessible rids them of that mysterious, sacred aura and promotes them as natural and normal forms of entertainment. One of the best ways to make them accessible is to have them right in your children’s spaces, whether that is their bedroom, the play room or even the living room. Here are a few creative shelving and books storage ideas that will keep the room neat and well organised but will still ensure your child can easily access their favourite stories.


These manger type shelves can easily be made by a carpenter close to home. They are great for an infant or toddler that is just beginning their book collection as they can see clearly which book they would like and can reach out and pick the titles themselves. This also works for rented spaces where you aren’t allowed to drill into the walls.

The best thing about a shelf like this is that it’s multipurpose. As your toddler begins their book collection, some of the compartments can be used to store school supplies, toys, shoes or even some of decor items depending on which room it’s in. That the space in between the shelves can be used as a little reading nook is the biggest plus.

Does it get any cooler than an actual book-worm book shelf? This would be a fun yet simple way to store books for children aged 12 years and up. If you chose just the floating shelf at the top, it would be a great way to keep books that are not often used without cluttering the house and taking up space.

If you’re working with a double decker, there are plenty of ways to create shelving space. Here, with the bookshelves right above the heads of the bed, your little one’s can pick their favourite books and put them right back just before going to bed.

Playing around with colour can spice up what would be an otherwise mundane shelving situation. Here, with the wooden beams and room colour pallet, regular floating shelves are made more exciting.

This compartmentalised shelf is great for readers aged 10 and above that are a little older, probably need more floor space in their rooms and are tall enough to pick books from the shelves themselves. 

These box book storage cubes can also be made by the carpenter you see on your way to work. A cheap and fun shelving option for children that are a little older and can easily identify titles by their spines. You can spice up the cubes with colours perhaps in line with the room’s aesthetic.

Another great, cheap shelving idea is box crates. Stacked on top of one another they make a great shelving option for any age. Notice the reading seats pictured above with extra book storage in the bottom and back? Absolutely perfect. This also works for rented homes where you aren’t allowed to drill into walls.

How do you shelve your children’s books? Share some more creative suggestions in the comments below!

 

 

 

We Are Hiring!!! | Reading Nurturer and Events Co-ordinator

Roles & Responsibilities

1. Organise book clubs for children. Our children’s book clubs happen every month (February to December).

2. Responsible for the Children’s Library. The Nurturer is in charge of our children’s library; inventory for all library books and assistance and recommendation for our library clients.

3. Review of books at the library and any other titles that would work for children.

4. Organise events run by Sooo Many Stories such as pop-up Fireplaces in schools where we are invited to take the Tot Tales/Fireplaces experience, book launches, reading events for authors and any other events that draw attention to our authors and the activities that we do. Organise unique tailor-made experiences for different places and events.

5. Able to assist in daily office needs and manage some of the company’s general administrative activities.

Skills & Qualities Needed

  • Bachelor’s Degree in any field.
  • Must love books and children.
  • Organisational, communication and writing skills.
  • Creativity, Innovation and an ability to think outside the box.
  • Experience in creating and curating events.
  • Experience in office management procedures and basic accounting principles.
  • Pays attention to detail.
  • Team player.

Think you fit the bill? Join the tribe! Email your latest CV/resume to us at kaboozi@somanystories.ug by 8th March 2019.

Understanding Different Emotions Through Reading | Esther Nshakira

Everybody is looking for happy. Ask the average adult what they yearn for and a good number will say they are looking for what makes them happy. It’s a concept that seems to begin right from childhood. We watch movies and read books that glorify happy endings, or happiness as a general concept.

Even today, children’s books like Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke or the Lulu Series of stories by Anna McQuinn portray children and even adults with mostly sunny dispositions. These are great books, very important ones in fact. The two I’ve mentioned do a lot in terms of diverse and representative literature. I believe however, that as we continue to impress the love for books onto our children it needs to be done holistically. Life isn’t always happy. Sadness, anger, concepts like war and famine, or even polygamy and blended families; these are all elements of real life. These are concepts that children need to begin understanding and coming to terms with as early as possible so that their world views are formed from an informed place.

We know though, that sometimes reading to and with children about a lot of these things can get intimidating, overwhelming and frankly, a little awkward. There are ways though you can prepare yourself to introduce your children to these concepts.

Stop looking at them as children and look at them as human.

With your adult lenses on, you see your children as just that; children. They are vulnerable and need to be protected and really, should always be happy. But take them off and you all become human. And as humans being exposed to world views and circumstances outside our own increases empathy and perhaps a willingness to create social change. Understanding emotions like anger, sadness and grief, helps us deal with those feelings as and when they come up in our own lives. Seeing your children as human, seeing them the way you see yourself and other adults around you, might make it easier to read these kinds of stories with your child.

Find folk tales that depict some of the storylines or emotions you want to explore.

Using folk tales serves the primary purpose of bringing these conversations closer to home and Uganda is blessed to have a wide selection. There are many we grew up listening to that you can very easily be used to bring up these conversations. Stories like Njabala, which condemns laziness and procrastination or Nsangi which explores fear and the concept of fighting back could be good places to start. The great thing about many of the folk tales, for those of you that grew up around them, is that you are telling them to your children by rote. You are therefore able to gauge your children’s reaction to particularly disturbing parts and if they are not ready for it, you can steer the story in another direction until they are. You can also play around with some of the endings at different times and see which one your child likes best. You might be surprised at some of the preferences.

Prepare your children before hand

Discuss some of the themes within the book before you begin reading to them. Tell them the book might make them sad, or involves a character that gets very angry, and then ask them if they would like to read it anyway. Children are normally very honest and from their answers you can assess whether or not they are ready for that particular discussion.

Once you feel confident enough to broach these concepts with your children through reading, the next step is to find some of this challenging material. One that comes very highly recommended, especially for pre-teens and teenagers is Charlotte’s Web. A very popular title by E. B. White, it explores the concept of death in a way that leaves room for grief but removes the darkness and hopelessness from it. One of the book’s major characters dies in the end, ironically after successfully saving another character, but we see that even after this death, there is still life.

Another great recommendation would be The Tear Thief written by Carol Ann Duffy and illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli. This comes highly recommended for children aged five to nine years as they are getting to a place of better identifying and articulating their emotions. The book explores the act of crying and shows that people can cry for many reasons beside sadness. They can cry because they are jealous or angry or even guilty. At the end of the day though, all these emotions need to be properly and adequately dealt with beyond the tears.

The Girl with a Brave Heart written by Rita Jahanforuz and illustrated by Vali Mintzi would be another great one to read with children aged seven to nine years. This one explores not just emotion, but also the idea of family dynamics and blended and polygamous families. The book’s protagonist loses her mother. Her father remarries and with his new wife has a daughter. Although the relationships between these characters isn’t as healthy as it should be, a book like this would be great to read to a child born into a blended family. It can be a really great way to discuss the different dynamics all these relationships have and highlight the positive ones in their own.

Another recommendation would be – an absolute favourite here at Sooo Many Stories – Jabari Jumps, written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall. Great for ages three to six, this one explores fear in such a beautiful, palatable way. The book’s protagonist is excited to be heading to the pool to dive from the diving board for the first time, but finds that he is a little scared. One of the brilliant things about the story is the author depicts Jabari’s fear, without ever mentioning the word. The best place to start with a book like this one would be having your little one identify the emotion that Jabari is feeling. Then have them mention times they might have felt it in their own lives. You’ll find that because they can identify with Jabari, it’s easier to open up.

Yet another recommendation would be Tomorrow, written & illustrated by Nadine Kaadan. This one explores the current war situation in Syria through the eyes of a child. You can find the full review here.

We hope that with these tips and recommendations, you will find the process of introducing your child to books outside of happy, a little less intimidating.

All the titles mentioned are available at our children’s library in Bugolobi. Come by with your tot and we can help in even further fostering these conversations!

East Africans resettle the African Imaginary | Yarri Kamara

Yarri Kamara, after reading James Tumusiime’s What Makes Africans Laugh and Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu back to back, reviews them comparatively in this essay on the importance of identifying and owning our stories and heritage as Ugandans and then as Africans. 

The imaginary of many an African today has many gaps. As such, it may be easier for some Ugandans to conjure up images of antebellum America, thanks to their diet of popular TV series and novels, than to imagine what life in 18th century Buganda was like. Following a short trip to Uganda in 2018, I happened to read two Ugandan books back-to-back: the memoirs of James Tumusiime, a self-styled cultural entrepreneur (published in 2013), and what is surely a seminal novel for Uganda, Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu (first published in 2014 and released in the UK in 2018). The latter provided the answer to the questions raised in the former. Tumusiime’s book, somewhat incongruously titled What makes Africans laugh?, is a plaintive reflection on the plight that faces Africa’s identity in cultural, literary and heritage production. “Why are Africans not telling their stories?”, asks the author repeatedly. Kintu is a novel that with poise and assurance places Uganda’s culture and history on the stage of world literature.

Tumusiime’s book opens with a Senegalese proverb: “If you borrow a man’s legs, you will go where he directs you”. The description of his childhood in Western Uganda concretely illustrates how the African imaginary was occupied by foreign influences, particularly through religion. We see Ankole cultural practices vanishing (and being devalued) to be replaced by Christian and Western practices under colonialism. Tumusiime and his siblings were “denied many of the pleasures that defined traditional village life [including traditional songs], because many of them had been signed off as evil” by new Christian converts. When he starts his schooling, he receives “instruction from an all-white teaching staff”, and this largely remains the case until the end of his secondary school career. As he describes his youth, we find some answers to the author’s central frustration over “why Africans do not write their own stories, their own histories, their own cultures”. Recalling the mobile cinema shows that provided entertainment to villagers, Tumusiime notes that “local material was totally missing”.

On his “borrowed legs”, Tumusiime was drawn to socio-political commentary on distinctly African realities. He achieved fame as a cartoonist during the Amin times and later served as founding manager of one of Uganda’s leading dailies, The New Vision. His experiences gradually instilled a desire to create a platform for African stories to be told and he founded the publishing house, Fountain Publishers. Drawn to servicing the school textbook market for financial survival, Tumusiime had to fight the quasi-monopoly of publishing houses from the former colonial power on educational publishing – a battle familiar to several African countries. Tumusiime’s relative successes in publishing did not entirely satisfy his cultural quest. He ventured into local language radio broadcasting to build bridges with the non-English speaking masses and revitalize local languages. Finally, his quest led him to establish Igongo Cultural Centre, a complex which includes a museum, for “a nation without a past is a lost nation, and a people without a past is a people without a soul”. This attempt to instil in Ugandans the confidence to “influence the world with [their own] ideas in art, science and culture” was met with backlash from some religious leaders in the  region: “We need to be wary of [Tumusiime]: he’s bringing back witchcraft”, they warned.

Those leaders, and others under the tight grip of exclusionary versions of Christianity, would perhaps not delight in Makumbi’s Kintu where traditional Ugandan modes of spirituality and myths of origin take centre stage. Firmly rooted in a Ugandan cosmology, Kintu like all great stories is crafted in a way that speaks to the whole world. The book has received several rave reviews from African and international media press outlets such The Guardian and New York Review of Books. Makumbi also  won the prestigious Windham-Campbell literary prize worth USD 165,000. Tumusiime and others disheartened by the cultural scene in Africa can take heart particularly in the fact that Kintu was first published by the Kenyan publishing house Kwani?, after Makumbi’s manuscript won Kwani?’s 2012 manuscript competition. It was from this African platform that Kintu grew to worldwide fame.

Kintu is a sweeping family saga that follows the travails of Kintu, the common ancestor to the book’s main characters, in the 18th century Buganda kingdom. The story then jumps forward to contemporary Uganda presented through the lives of four of Kintu’s descendants. For someone who spent part of her childhood in Uganda, what is remarkable about this book are the detailed descriptions of life in 18th century Buganda, which render much better parts of Ugandan history than any visit to the under-funded and somewhat under-inspired Uganda Museum could. The first part of the book also contains a unique exploration of masculine sexuality in a traditional African society and a surprising reflection on the sometimes-crushing weight of polygamy and high pro-natalist expectations on men.

The rest of the book skilfully offers a rich panoply of today’s Ugandan experience. With an eye for the absurd, reminiscent of some of Salmon Rushdie’s work, Makumbi’s memorable line-up of characters includes the holier-than-thou Kanani and Faisi. This fanatically religious couple who ascribe to the Awakened Christian church have as their mission in life to evangelise the “Asleep”. Fired by their faith and so focused on keeping themselves free of contamination by heathens, the couple is carelessly oblivious to what is happening to their offspring under their own roof. They wilfully cut ties with the larger family who do not ascribe to their religious asepsis, and disdainfully refute local customs, such as giving their twin children the traditional names reserved for twins.

Then there is Miisi, the Western-educated intellectual who while at Cambridge excited his supervisor with his proposed research theme on “The Centrality of Bloodletting to Religious Practice”. His British supervisor advised Miisi to focus on human sacrifice in African pagan worship, “but Miisi wanted to focus on Christ and Isaac”. In one wry phrase, Makumbi turns the exoticizing lens so often focused on Africa, on Western icons considered standard global heritage. After his intellectual escapades in the UK, Miisi returns to Uganda and after a while, disillusioned with university life, retreats to rural Uganda. From there, he attempts to bring enlightenment to his fellow villagers through debates. It is he who offers one of the book’s most poignant and incisive images, which echoes the Senegalese proverb that opens Tumusiime’s book. Debating with villagers on the effect of colonisation, Miisi conjures up the image of a Frankenstein Africa, that he renders under the Luganda concept ekisode. In his allegory a surgeon lulls Buganda (and the rest of Africa) to the operating table with promises of speeding up its maturity. Once Africa is under chloroform, the surgeon decides to cut off its limbs and graft European legs on the African torso. In the meantime, the European moves into Africa’s house. When Africa awakes, groggy and weak, it sees that it is hideous; Africa’s body rejects the European body parts, but time cannot be turned back.

“We cannot go back to the operating table and ask for the African limbs, Africa must learn to walk on European legs and work with European arms. As time goes by, children will be born with evolved bodies and in time, Africa will evolve according to ekisode’s nature and come to its best form. But it will be neither African nor European. Then the pain will settle down.”

This process of evolution of Africanstein into a new wholesome form of course requires African cultural production, be it in literature, film or social commentary. While all is not rosy in the environment for African cultural production, it is encouraging that the crucial concerns that Tumusiime raised in his 2013 book, found a resounding response in Makumbi’s phenomenal book in 2014. West African authors have long been populating the African imaginary; increasingly East African authors are also resettling their imaginary, so long rendered barren by zealous Christianization. An aside to African filmmakers out there who have not yet read Kintu: the book, with its six-novella format, is practically begging to be adapted into a TV series.

Tomorrow | Written & Illustrated by Nadine Kaadan

Nadine Kaadan paints a story that is unlike many children’s stories. She explores a topic that would be hard to broach with children. She condenses the idea of war and it’s effects into a language children can understand and process.

Set in Syria, the story gives the reader a glimpse into the confusion and desperation in a child, that comes about as an effect of war. We are eerily introduced to Yazan who is in a state of confusion because of all the change that is happening around him. Parts of his everyday routine like going to the park and visiting friends are all thrown off. Even his mother’s mood seems to have changed as she doesn’t seem to want to paint anymore and his father is always tense.

One of the reasons this is a great story is because it humanises children that are often portrayed as other by the media. Children in Syria are seen as suffering or sullen and quiet. This book shows them as regular kids. Young Yazan enjoys riding his bike, making paper planes and visiting the park. He too gets frustrated with life sometimes and acts out just like a regular child would. The book serves as connection between a child living in Africa and one living in Syria.

For children that may have never known war, like many here in Kampala, the book also opens the door for conversation concerning a reality outside their own. You begin to expand their world views and show them that their way of life is not the only way. Emotions like empathy and even a hunger for societal change can be birthed through this opening of minds. It can also be a way to help a child understand privilege and why they should be grateful for all they have.

The themes which echo through the gloomy and dark palette used in the illustrations sets the tone for how the reader is expected to feel; trapped. While it is seemingly difficult to read, it tells a tale that is very necessary in today’s political climate. It gives us an insight into the experiences of the voices that are often times silenced during times of unrest while also, in a gentle way, preserving the innocence of its intended audience. It’s definitely a necessary read.

This book is most suitable for children aged 7-9 in particular because of the subject matter. Explaining the intricacies of the book to a child younger than 7 might prove a little difficult. This book is readily available at our children’s library in Bugolobi, Plot 9, Bazarabusa Drive.

Looking to expose your child to more impactful literature? Our children’s book club, The Fireplace: Tot Tales, starts up again in February! Have you booked your child’s spot yet? See details below.

Volunteer Faves | The Fireplace: Tot Tales 2018

We had such an amazing 2018 at our children’s book club, The Fireplace: Tot Tales! We explored all kinds of countries and cultures, went deep into the recesses of our imagination, got to know more about our country Uganda, and lots more. We asked some of our volunteers who assist us as readers, which of the tales from 2018 they liked the most and here is what they had to say.

Teta | Bugolobi Chapter

My favourite title from was Tales from Old Ireland. I like that it’s a story that symbolises unity. A lot of the tales we read from the book kept ringing a bell because we have the similar folk stories to the ones we have here. I particularly liked the story about the swans that were cursed by their evil step mother, and she was later cursed by their father for eternity. The children understood that parents would do anything to protect them. They learned that love wins; the swans survived whatever came their way because they stuck together. Interestingly in the end, the swans died. The kids though, seemed undisturbed by that. I think it had something to do with the fact that the birds died after their their wishes had come true.

Jessica | Muyenga Chapter

What an experience! The book itself was quite the read, with Roald Dahl doing what he does best…entertaining children and yet inspiring them to learn to read. To say the time was not enough is an understatement. We spent a lot of time enjoying the different twists and turns in the story, analysing the characters and literally getting lost in their world. The kids enjoyed it. The reader enjoyed it. We all enjoyed it and could not wait to share what we had learnt for the story. It was awesome!!!

So Severe | Ntinda Chapter

As someone that volunteers as mostly a minder and an evaluator, I don’t know whether I have a favourite book per say. However, Puss in Boots seemed to be one of the tales the children enjoyed. It was about a clever talking cat, that was left to a farm boy. The shifty cat charmed and tricked his way through the entire story, until the boy owned a large farm, a castle that belonged to an ogre and eventually got married to a princess. The children were really into the tale and it’s gentle progression. They all wanted to see how it turned out into the obvious happily ever after. That is, while the kids sort of expected a happy turn out in the end, the progression of the story at different points made it not-so-certain, for them which was exciting.

Susan Emma | Muyenga Chapter

My favourite book by far was The Girl with a Brave Heart by Rita Jahanforuz. The story book was about an orphaned young girl living with her stepmother and stepsister, after the death of her father. She was deprived of some benefits like education so stayed home and cleaned and cleaned. This story teaches how to develop a positive attitude towards work and have humility in all situations. Despite all the hardships that this little girl went through, she still had a kind heart and was always willing to help. Because she had a kind heart and a beautiful character, she was blessed. I like this story because it speaks to me as well, not just the little children. Kindness, humility, hard work and caring for others are key in making the world a better place.

Kato | Muyenga Chapter

The book I loved the most was Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. It was about a little boy that started his own publishing company because of the lack of exciting children’s books in his town. The book looked at all the aspects of publishing and made it palatable for a child 10 years and older. The activity we did required the class to write down plans for the kind of companies they would create. One of the children, after that Tot Tales session, went home and continued to write his own book.

Louise | Muyenga Chapter

The story that I enjoyed most was All Aboard for the Bobo Road by Stephen Davies. It was an adventurous story that the illustrations depicted  so well! They were so colourfully African.  It made the kids excited about travelling and showed them how important it is to appreciate our environment. It was the same for me. The fact that it had children involved made the kids identify with the story. It was such a lively session! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We are beyond excited for the adventures 2019 has in store for us. The Fireplace: Tot Tales will be resuming in February. Keep your eyes peeled for all the details!

Are you looking for some way to give back in 2019? Do you enjoy books and spending time with children? Join our Tribe!

 

A Book, A Library & A Word Game

2018 has been a year of growth for Sooo Many Stories. Having started with just one chapter of our children’s book club, The Fireplace: Tot Tales in 2016, we expanded to add two more chapters in Muyenga and Bugolobi in 2018. Our expansion highlighted the need for not only access to a variety of literature but also, the need to focus on creating literature for the Ugandan child. Literature in which Ugandan children can see themselves and have characters to call their own.

We are proud to announce Immaculate Innocent Acan as our first signed children’s author. Acan is the recipient of the 2016 Writivism Short Story prize. She has also been published by Omenana Magazine, AFREADA Magazine, Brittle Paper and in Selves: An Afro anthology of Creative Non-fiction. Her children’s book, follows three friends on a colourful journey all over Uganda as they look for three ingredients to help them create something extra special.

Besides our monthly children’s book clubs, we now have yet another way to fulfill our mission to nurture a generation of readers, thinkers and innovators. We opened our first children’s library at our office in Bugolobi. It’s a dream that has been a long time in the works and we are really excited to finally open our doors. We have over 200 titles so far for children aged 0-14 years. We strongly believe in diverse representation in books, and made sure that the children in many of the titles look like the average Ugandan child. We sought out books that act not just as windows, but as mirrors too, that reflect our children’s own lives and experiences. Opening this library is a dream come true. We cannot wait to change children’s lives with these books.

We are also excited to announce a word guessing game, Otyo! Suitable for ages 8 and up, it is perfect for rainy weekends in, parties, road trips and get-togethers. Otyo! is great for vocabulary building, teaching description, thinking fast on your feet, bonding and fun!

Contact us on 0705711442 or 0788310999 for Otyo! and library membership for children aged 0 to 14.