From Caryn Eve Murray
author: Ilibagiza, Immaculee
“Left to Tell”
This is a book about the unthinkable, a Rwandan massacre that destroyed one woman’s country, along with her home and family but not her faith or hope for the future. Immaculee Illibagiza’s words are not easy to absorb, nor are the photos of her loving family easy to gaze upon after the details of their brutal killings at the hands of Hutu death squads are revealed in these pages. There is much to contemplate – about faith, about human nature and even inhuman nature – in this memoir. That she and a handful of other Tutsis survived after being hidden in the home of a Hutu pastor is remarkable and yet gut-wrenching. This is a book worth reading slowly. It is worth reading carefully. It is worth, well worth, reading.
From Rebecca Segers
author: McCall Smith, Alexander
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
This is the 12th in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series and it delivers the same charm and warmth of the previous 11. In “The Saturday Big Tent Wedding,” Mma Ramotswe handles many different issues, the largest of which is a for a man who owns a ranch outside of town and has had two of his cattle attacked. As she deals with that major issue, she also handles several smaller ones: her husband’s apprentice Charlie’s presumed fatherhood, the sighting of her beloved little white van that was supposedly put out to pasture, the temptress Violet Sephothos’s run for the Botswana Parliament and the impending wedding of her assistant Grace Makutsi. As usual, all is resolved with a helping of wit, a dollop of good sense and a hefty dose of love for Africa and especially Botswana.
From Luke, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Park, Linda Sue
A long walk to water
Most young people love to read fiction and fantasy novels. The otherworldly elements and enticing plot lines draw them to these types of stories. Historical fiction is an equally effective genre which satisfies one’s craving for reading. A Long Walk to Water is one such book.
The book takes place in Africa, specifically the countries Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. It follows the lives of Salva, the son of the judge of the Loun-Ariik village, and Nya, niece of the head of the Nuer village. Salva is growing up in a warring 1985 southern Sudanese village. The government is in turmoil and war is engulfing the country. One day while at school a shooting occurs nearby, so the students run out so the army won’t recruit them. Salva has no relatives nearby and is lost. His journey to refugee camps takes him to Ethiopia, Kenya, and later the United States.
Nya is a young girl of the Nuer village. Every day she must walk miles to get water and miles to go home. At noon when she gets home she gets a quick bite to eat and makes the long trek for water. Then some mysterious men come to the village. They say there is water where they perform their traditional ceremonies, but the Nuer are doubtful of this. The people begin to drill a well. Will there be water?
This book is a great quick read. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this book a 7.5. The plot keeps your attention and makes you want to read more. The book is also very short with large type, so if you’re looking for a break between novels this book is right for you.
From Alexis, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Park, Linda Sue
A Long Walk to Water
The new book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is about the struggles of two children living at two different times in Southern Sudan. It is a dual narrative telling the story of two kids named Nya and Salva. Salva is a young boy living in 1985. He is sitting in school when his school and the surrounding area were attacked by rebel soldiers. He escapes into the brush and begins a long dangerous journey across his war torn country to get to the refugee center. The refugee center is closed down as the Ethiopian government is on the brink of collapse. He then makes yet another journey to Kenya where he is chosen to go to America. There he discovers the location of his father that he lost over twenty years ago. He then returns to America and begins to find ways to help the people of Sudan. Nya is a young girl living in 2008. She must walk for 8 hours a day in order to bring home water for her family. That is until a group of men come to her village. They built a well and Nya would never have to walk hours for water again, and it was all because of Salva and his efforts to help the people of Sudan. I would suggest this book to everyone. This book is a very fast read and I couldn’t put it down. It was a nonfiction book that was a duel narrative, hich made the book interesting. I usually don’t like dual narrative or reading non-fiction stories for entertainment, but this book was really interesting. I think it teaches a great lesson. It teaches that no matter who you are and where you come from you can make a difference, just as Salva helped Nya and her village. Even though he spent a big part of his childhood in a refugee camp, he was still able to make a difference in the lives of many people.
From Catherine Costanzo
author: Marhkam, Beryl
West with the Night
This was a very interesting non-fiction book about Beryl Markham who lived most of her life in Africa. She grew up learning how to train racehorses — and later on learned to fly. She used to fly safari hunters to different places within Africa — and attempted to be the first person to fly from England to the US. Interesting reading especially if you have ever been to any of the places she mentions in Africa — or have any familiarity with Denis Finch Hatton or Baron Blixen.
From Catherine Given
author: Fuller, Alexandra
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight
Fuller weaves a colorful, disturbing, and finally inspiring story of her
childhood in Africa. This story makes Isak Dinesen’s “Out of Africa” (“which I also loved”) “seem like Pollyanna.” Gritty, suspenseful and at times gory, this story is like a defibrillator for the cushy, suburban heart. In true and perceptive detail, “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” depicts Fuller’s early life as a bright and gutsy white girl growing up at the mercy of her idiosyncratic homesteader parents in mid-19th-Century southern and central Africa. I marveled at her ability to recall with meaningful understanding events that she had experienced as a pre-teen. We see the family’s life in an Africa resplendent with natural beauty yet raw in its relentless intensity amid political unrest. Not only are members of the family devoured by insects, and subject to bouts of malaria –they face overwhelming challenges, including for one period, mistreatment due to extreme racial prejudice as the only whites in the region. Their lifestyle is also deeply affected by the mother’s alcoholism, which worsens as tragedy repeatedly strikes. I couldn’t put it down.