Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chanda's Secrets in Namibia!

Chanda's Secrets author Allan Stratton shared a heart-warming story with us recently: Aly Martin, a young woman teaching with the Peace Corps in Otjimbingwe, Namibia, is using Chanda's with her grade 10 students, shown above in this photo, and the book is having a big impact on everyone.

Allan was originally contacted by Aly's mother, as Aly has limited internet connection from her village. She informed Allan that his novel of 16-year-old Chanda, whose family and village in Sub-Saharan Africa are struggling with HIV/AIDS, reflects well life in Otjimbingwe and is touching everyone there who reads it. To point, here's a passage from one of the messages from Aly's mom:

A touching story for you. Last year, at Aly's request, I sent several of Chanda's Secrets books. She carefully lent them out (she is also in charge of the Library) to students she knew would take care of the book. One boy, kept begging for the book. Aly was wary as the boy was very irresponsible and a troublemaker. Sadly, he lives by himself in a tin shack without electricity or running water - I believe he is an orphan. His many chores kept him from attending school altho Aly said he is very bright. Aly decided to loan him the book and this is what she relayed onto me: The boy was in bed reading your book. All of a sudden he noticed the sun was shining on his face and he was crying very hard. He hadn't cried in years. Now, he is reading the book to his friends who cannot read and cannot go to school because they can't afford it. This is why she wants to teach your book the entire semester because it is the story of her village. She starts the whole process today! Through donations from her family and friends, every student will have a copy of the book.

This is heart-warming praise, indeed!

Chanda's Secrets, Africana Book Award winner and Printz Honor Book, is published in over 20 countries around the world.

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