Friday, December 14, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Sosu's Call
Author/Illustrator: Meshack Asare
Publisher/Date: Kane/Miller Book Publishers /2001
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Grades 1-4
Themes: Physically handicapped, courage, dogs, storms, Ghana, Africa

Opening: "Somewhere on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the lagoon, there is a small village. Some say it used to be bigger, but with every crashing wave, the sea claims a little more of the land."

Synopsis: From School Library Journal - "Unable to walk and considered "bad luck" by the villagers, (Sosu) is forced to stay at home with only a dog for company while his brother and sister attend school and his parents go to work. But when a storm causes the sea to overflow, threatening the lives of the young and the old, Sosu conquers his fear and, led by his dog, crawls through the "howling wind" and "churning water" to the drum in the chief's house. His drumming brings help, and in gratitude for the lives saved, the villagers provide Sosu with a wheelchair. African designs grace the endpapers, and Asare's pastel-hued, impressionistic watercolors aptly depict life in an African fishing village: the blue sea, swaying palms, thatched huts, and villagers going about their daily chores. When Sosu is thought to be a spirit, accusing neighbors loom over him in black gray shadows in a particularly eerie spread. The lengthy text contains some lyrical descriptions and evidence of the author's love of the land. While there is never any doubt that Sosu will save the day, and some of the dog's actions stretch credibility, this story of overcoming a serious physical challenge and achieving acceptance may offer hope and inspiration to young readers." -Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT

Why I Love This Book:
This is a lovely book that shows the validity of every child, even those differently-abled.  Some traditions carry superstitions that make it difficult for those with disabilities to become productive members of society. Or to even get basic medical help or access to tools, such as wheelchairs, that can improve their quality of life.  Bravo to Meshack Asare for openly writing about his culture's ingrained discrimination in a way that brings a hero to life and a change of heart to the villagers.

Resources:
Learn more about Ghana.

A resource for parents about children with disabilities.

Drummers from Ghana on YouTube.

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.

5 comments:

  1. WoW - I haven't ever seen this book but it sounds like one that I must add to my character collection. I love the term "differently-abled!" Thanks for the wonderful review!

    Barbara

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  2. Laura, this will definitely be an eye-opener to many kids, Laura - great choice!

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  3. Wow, these are the kind of stories I like to look for. Great selection Laura. So many children with disabilities in the third world are considered "bad luck" and "disposable." Love the ending. Great choice!

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  4. This looks like a lovely book! I like the artwork. And I like that a dog helps Sosu save the day! Nice choice!

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  5. What a wonderful way to introduce Ghanaian culture to children. It will sensitized the readers to the handicapped, which are often handled differently in poor countries.

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