Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Time for Celebrating

The second floor of the Gladstone Hotel in downtown Toronto was jam-packed with people of all ages. The beat of an African drum reverberated throughout the room. The media was there armed with cameras and notepads. The occasion? The launch party for The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara and Susan McClelland.

Heralded by School Library Journal as “honest, raw and powerful,” The Bite of the Mango, in addition to being a memoir about lost childhood, suffering, and hope, is first and foremost a labour of love. That was readily apparent in the speech by Susan McClelland, who talked about hearing of Mariatu, then meeting her, and finally knowing that she had to tell her story. It also came across loud and clear from Mariatu herself who spoke about leaving behind the traumatic events of the past to come to Canada where she was warmly embraced by the Sierra Leonean community, supported by teachers and new-found friends, and welcomed into the home of Kadi and Abou Nabe as one of their own. And if there was any doubt left at all, Kadi and Abou spoke about their “daughter,” Mariatu, and how the publication of her book was one of the proudest days of their lives. By this point, there were very few dry eyes left.

The warmth, the pride, the satisfaction of being associated with a book that has the power to change lives were palpable to all those who were part of this very special evening.

1 comment:

J.R.Poulter/J.R.McRae said...

Congrats on publishing "The Bite of the Mango"! We need more books like this to inspire our children!