Archive for the ‘Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me’ Category

Children’s Book Illustrations

September 23, 2009

Illustration from “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me”
akuas-folish-wish1

Things we need to bear in mind when buying illustrated childrens books.Some are self-evident, others are not.

We buy children books with stories which we ourselves enjoy and illustrations which appeal to us. We know that children are sensitive to pictures before they can speak let alone read. This fact has led to the production of books with pictures and no text which are aimed at the very young. Children can look at the pictures and their imaginations are ignited as they create their own stories.
Illustrations help young readers understand the message of the text more easily. Illustrations can also help a child to discover his or her own identity and cultural heritage. This is an important point for children from minorities or those who belong to groups which have been held in low esteem or discriminated against.
Illustrations show such things as objects, landscapes and processes which it would be hard for a child to comprehend from a verbal description.

Folktales often feature creatures and situations which the young reader will have difficulty in imagining. This is the reason why I have full color illustrations in my book Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me for Information Click Here
Illustrations can send positive, uplifting messages to readers. There are so many wonderful, original authors and illustrators at work that it can be very difficult deciding which book to choose. We need to be discriminating buyers.

TALES MY GHANAIAN GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME <a href="http://www.lulu. Some are self-evident, others are not.

We buy children books with stories which we ourselves enjoy and illustrations which appeal to us. We know that children are sensitive to pictures before they can speak let alone read. This fact has led to the production of books with pictures and no text which are aimed at the very young. Children can look at the pictures and their imaginations are ignited as they create their own stories.
Illustrations help young readers understand the message of the text more easily. Illustrations can also help a child to discover his or her own identity and cultural heritage. This is an important point for children from minorities or those who belong to groups which have been held in low esteem or discriminated against.
Illustrations show such things as objects, landscapes and processes which it would be hard for a child to comprehend from a verbal description.

Folktales often feature creatures and situations which the young reader will have difficulty in imagining. This is the reason why I have full color illustrations in my book Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me for Information Click Here
Illustrations can send positive, uplifting messages to readers. There are so many wonderful, original authors and illustrators at work that it can be very difficult deciding which book to choose. We need to be discriminating buyers.

TALES MY GHANAIAN GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME http://www.lulu.com/content/5427635

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Children and Reading- a Site you May Find Interesting

July 30, 2009

This article originally appeared in:http://thebookchook.blogspot.com/

I just discovered a wonderful web site where kids can practise reading, and follow directions to create all sorts of toys. At the same time, they recycle junk and learn about science. Is that a win/win or what!

The site is Arvind Gupta’s Toys from Trash. It has hundreds of projects. Once you click on the thumbnail that takes your fancy, its page comes up with a series of diagrams and instructions to follow. The directions are clear and pitched at about primary school level.

I tried out several experiments. Some were simpler than others in that the equipment needed was more likely to be lying around the house, but all that I tried had been expertly described with step-by-step instructions. More complicated projects had a “Do it details” link to a pdf. Young scientists will find so much to do here. So will young mathematicians, engineers, musicians, and artists (see Beautiful Butterfly and others in Paper Fun section).

While you’re there, check out the amazing pdfs available (Books/English). They have different reading levels, so you need to browse to find suitable material for your own little learner, but I loved The Paper Aeroplane Book, The Rubber Band Book, AHA! Activities – a huge pdf of practical science lessons – and String Games, because they fascinate me still. So much to read, so much to do!

For younger kids, Thumbprints is cute. It starts with a lovely poem about using our thumb to make prints, then follows up with some wonderful animal thumb print ideas to spark some artwork. More Thumbprints adds objects. Leaf Zoo shows how to add details to leaves to make some great creatures.

There is also a gallery of films, showing the making some of the toys, and other documentaries. Most are not in English or subtitled, but fascinating just the same.

This site would make a wonderful resource for one of those No TV evenings, or for teachers and parents looking for hands-on science activities. Arvind Gupta is so generous with what he’s made available online. I thank him on behalf of children everywhere.Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe
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Shush! Writer at Work

July 8, 2009

I’ve finally decided on a plan of action for fitting writing my next book into the rest of my life. Mornings are good for me. If I wake up early enough I get to enjoy the down chorus. Then breakfast, exercise and bathing come nexr. I’m full of energy until late afternoon when things rapidly go downhill.

The best plan seems to be for me to try and do my writing first thing after breakfast. This is not set in stone as sometimes something else will have to take priority. I’ve no intention of stressing myself out by trying to maintain a rigid regime.

The characters and the plot of this book for 12 year olds are growing and taking shape. Although I enjoy writing I am nevertheless disquieted by this book which will of necessity portray violence.

The thought passed through my mind in an idle moment that children’s stories give authors an opportunity to invent words. I thought of “smish” a word combining the idea of “smear” and “smash” and “schroon” for screaming and groaning at the same time.
If you have any words that you would like to bring into existence do please let me post them. Thank you.

Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe

A Free Children’s Story

June 29, 2009

‘s ME READING TO KIDS

Click here to print this page

Special Online Story

written & narrated by Sharri McGarry

“I saw a rat last night in the garden,” Mum said. “A big brown rat!”

Dad looked up from fastening his briefcase. “Did you?”

“We’ll have to get rid of it.” Mum said pointedly.

“Well,” Dad clucked, as he picked up the briefcase and walked from the room. “If you see it again, we’ll get the poison out. Now, I’ve got to go. See you later!”

“Is a rat…DANGEROUS?” said little Jimmy in a wobbly voice.

His brother, Ben, turned to him. “Oh YES!” he said fiercely. “Rats have got long, sharp front teeth and if they catch you, they will BITE you!”

“Nonsense, Ben!” said Mum sharply. “Rats will run away from you!”

Ben shook his head at little Jimmy and screwed up his face into a vicious expression. He smoothed his face as Mum turned from the sink. She set down two glasses and two chocolate biscuits on the table.

“Here’s your elevenses, boys,” she said as she hurried out. “I just have to say goodbye to Dad.”

Ben grabbed his biscuit. “Watch this!” he said, and stuffed the whole biscuit into his mouth.

“Coo!” said little Jimmy admiringly. He reached for his own biscuit.

“LOOK OUT!” screamed Ben. “There’s the RAT!”

Little Jimmy shrieked and leapt on to a chair.
Ben grinned wickedly, picked up little Jimmy’s biscuit ….
And calmly popped it into his mouth.
“Got you!” he said.

The swimming pool was hot and steamy. Ben grabbed his goggles and headed for the slide.

“I want to go on the slide!” little Jimmy yelled.

“Are you sure, dear?” Mum asked. “You’ve never BEEN before!”

“I WANT to go on the slide,” little Jimmy insisted. “with Ben!”

“Ben!” Mum called him. “Please take little Jimmy up the slide.”

“Aw Mum!” Ben moaned. “Do I HAVE to?”

“Yes!” Mum insisted. “Be a good brother and take your little brother up the slide.”

Little Jimmy followed happily as Ben slouched off towards the steps.

“Is the slide FUN, Ben?” asked little Jimmy, nervously climbing the steps.

Ben stopped and considered him. “Fun?” he asked slowly. “Fun? No! Not fun! Did you know that this is a RAT slide?”

Little Jimmy looked around nervously. “A …..RAT….slide?” he echoed.

“A RAT slide,” said Ben firmly. “You have to slide down ….the rat’s tail!” Ben continued. “Round and round and down and down his long black tail….until…. PLOP! You fall straight into his…..STOMACH! Into his stomach filled with bubbling, gurgling ACID! PLOP! Glug..glug..glug….”

Little Jimmy’s eyes filled with horrow. “D..d..down his t..tail?” he quavered.

“Down his long black tail!” Ben insisted.

“And into his…gulp…stomach?” little Jimmy wavered.

“PLOP! Into his nasty, acid-filled stomach” said Ben firmly.

“O..o…o..h!” little Jimmy shuddered. “I.. want…MUMMY!” and he set off back down the steps at top speed.

Ben chuckled and continued up the steps…by himself.

“That was very naughty of you Ben,” Mum scolded. “Scaring your little brother like that!”

She opened the front door wearily. “He was so nervous, I had to take him up the slide myself, just to show him that it was quite safe.”

“It was FUN!” little Jimmy beamed happily.

“He loved it so much that I had to go up and down twenty times with him.” Mum sighed. “I am exhausted!”

Ben grinned unrepentantly.

“I am hungry!” he announced.

“Yes – so are we all!” Mum agreed. “You can have a biscuit while I put dinner on.”

She put two chocolate biscuits on the table and went out to the freezer.

“Aaagh!” screamed little Jimmy, pointing behind Ben. “It’s a RAT!”

Ben caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. Something sleek and black passed behind him. He spun around in horror, ready to shriek in terror. And there was the cat. The cat stared back at him, raising its fur in alarm.

Ben groaned. “Aw Jimmy! You BABY!” He turned towards his brother. “It’s not a rat! Its only the…”

He stopped and stared in amazement as his little brother calmly stuffed the last biscuit into his overfull mouth.
“GOT YOU!” said little Jimmy.
Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe

______________________________

Author Uses a Little Magic to Reach Children With Literacy

June 27, 2009

author charles campbell

Charles Campbell

June 25, 2009

BY ERIKA A. MCCARDEN

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Author Charles Campbell says his life mission is to help children in urban communities to realize and value their self-worth. He accomplishes his mission through reading literature and creative writing.
Poss. ghanaian grandmother
“Children today are acting out because they can’t read and write,” said Campbell, author of the children’s fantasy trilogy, “The Magic Coin.” “They have a talent for song and dance, but that’s something that goes back to slavery when we were denied to read and write.”

The longtime teacher introduced “The Magic Coin” series after failing to reach a group of students in creative writing at a Savannah, Ga., elementary school where he taught.

“I was teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students. The kids weren’t getting it. They could barely write a sentence, and didn’t know how to write a basic five-paragraph essay,” Campbell said. “They got so frustrated; I threw away my lesson plan.

“To get their attention I told this fake story about a boy who found a gold coin in his pants and how it magically turned into fire. What I noticed was how their eyes widened. They wanted to know what happened next. They enjoyed the storytelling.”

That was nine years ago. Campbell has since launched Black Butterfly Inc. to enrich the lives and self-esteem of urban communities through literature.

He also turned the impromptu story he told in class that day into the self-published “The Magic Coin” trilogy, which has managed to help more than 200 youths with creative writing and literary analysis. Under Campbell’s leadership, Black Butterfly operates with a staff of four: two illustrators, a creative consultant, and an educator and Spanish translator.

“We’ve rarely seen African Americans or Hispanics as the central protagonist in a fantasy novel. And if you don’t see yourself in a book, it’s not as exciting,” Campbell said. “I decided to use fantasy as an educational tool to teach the basic tools of creative writing and encourage children in urban communities to step out of their comfort zones.”

The first novel in “The Magic Coin” trilogy is being used as a reading component in Los Angeles-area schools and Savannah. It is featured as the primary reading tool in Campbell’s Reading, Writing and Conflict Resolution Power Workshops. Campbell conducts his workshops at local schools to help students with creative writing and literature training, tutoring and mentoring in self-esteem enhancement. The second and third books of the trilogy are expected to be released in 2010.

“I learned that most kids, no matter what school they attend, do not like writing. Many teachers use writing as a disciplinary tool and it becomes associated with something negative, and a psychological issue,” Campbell said. “Like some teachers might have a student write sentences ‘x’ amount of times just for chewing gum. In short, children associate writing to being punished. Writing should be something fun and enjoyable.”

The schools that order Campbell’s books for their creative writing curriculum are provided with his literary power workshops free of charge, and they are arranged daily, weekly or bi-weekly, based upon the school’s need and structure. Campbell said it usually takes about a year to get through “The Magic Coin” and its lecture series because the workshop is woven into a school day or after school program.

“His books are phenomenal and the kids and parents love them,” Jacqueline Sanderlin, principal of GeorgeWashington Carver Elementary School in Compton, said in an e-mail, adding the school purchases the books for their fourth- and fifth-grade students.

She said the students’ reading scores have doubled and their writing has greatly improved.

“This has been an effective intervention for our scholars who are reading about a young, black hero,” she said. “His discussions have a lot of engagement, excitement and interaction. I find that the students exemplify the behavior of the characters in their daily lives.”

Campbell’s literary power workshops include sentence construction; fundamentals of essay writing; spelling punctuation; literary analysis; penmanship; fantasy writing exercises; writing competitions; listening and public speaking skills; and a special exercise that he refers to as peacekeeping, which essentially is conflict resolution.

“My passion is with helping kids to increase literacy levels in reading, writing and self-esteem,” Campbell said. “I hope kids who see an out through soaring on the b-ball court or in a hip-hop video, might soar through a love for reading and writing. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

For more information about Campbell’s Reading, Writing and Conflict Resolution Power Workshops, call (323) 216-4772.

Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me
http://www.dance-to-health-help-your-special-needs-child.com
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Slide Show of my Trip to South Africa

April 4, 2009

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Author Book Signing 21st February,2009

April 1, 2009

21st February,2009

We left early for Cascades. Donnette gave the parking lady 20 rand and asked her to hand out our flyers. We made quite a grand entrance. I was wearing a Ghanaian outfit with gold stole, earrings, shoes and handbag. Savanah (Donnette’s ten year old daughter) was wearing one of Nuna’s outgrown Nigerian outfits and her sister Clarissa , eight, had a kente stole over her shoulder. Everyone was looking at them as they offered the passersby the flyers.

Colleen at the bookshop had set up a table with a cloth and two chairs. I put a kente cloth over the table which immediately looked more interesting and spread out my copies of “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me” as well as “Dance to Health”. “Dance in Our Footsteps” and “Calling All Musicians”.

My first sale was to a “white” lecturer in psychology from the University of KwaZulu Natal who had brought along a lovely young “black” MA student in psychology. She is doing her thesis on traditional African tales.When the book signing was over she came back to the stand and we did a recorded interview.

Donnette had arranged the signing to be as near pay day as possible. But it was clear that people were not going in for spur of the moment purchases. One dance teacher expressed great interest in “Dance to Health” and took my contact details. Some people were interested in the book but found it too expensive. One woman eagerly examined the book and then asked if I had copies in afrikans. When I said “no” she put it down. There are still Afrikaaners who do not speak English and the English speakers often refuse to speak Afrikaans even if they can.

Colleen took some books for “Bookworld” and didn’t seem to think the price was too high. She will be in touch with Donnette when she needs more copies.

All in all the book signing was a success thanks to Donnette’s extremely hard work and imaginative approach.

After the launch I took everyone for lunch. I was the one who asked the waiter for the menu, ordered and asked for the bill. When he appeared with it he carefully put it on the table where Donnette had been sitting. I don’t think he had ever had a “black” African paying for a luinch party where everyone else was white.

http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/TalesMyGhanaianGrandmotherToldMe.html Now available through Amazon.com
http://www.dance-to-health-help-your-special-needs-child.com
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Author Video

March 28, 2009

Visit to Howick Falls, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

March 4, 2009

Tuesday,24th February,2009
My new friend Julie who I met when out walking last week came to take me to Howick Falls about 30 kilometres from here. She came in to meet Donnette and the two got on very well together. Julie asked how the book signing went and before I knew it to my delight she offered to introduce me to Wycliffe school where one of her granddaughters goes.
Julie has a nice car and is an admirably careful driver. On arrival at Howick Falls it was raining. The way to the Falls is lined with tourist stalls and shops. I took a few photos of the waterfall which is an impressive 95 meters high. The view is spectacular. I learnt later that no one goes anywhere near the Falls after dark as people have been thrown over the Falls.
As the rain made prolonged viewing of the Falls rather uncomfortable Julie and I opted to visit Howick Museum. This is a typical local museum with great emphasis on worthies of the past. Apparently electricity has been produced from the Falls since the early nineteenth century and continues to do so. Howick was also a great centre for the production of rubber. The old buildings are still standing.
There was a display of traditional medicine which was accompanied by a photograph of a herbalist of Indian ancestry. Julie knew him and said how sorry she was that she couldn’t take me to meet him because he lived in a Pietermarisburg area which is now too dangerous to visit.
The curator came out and I had an interesting conversation with her about the recording of Zulu stories and traditions. Apparently the museum is financed by the municipality and has little money.
He rain had stopped and the sun came out so we went back to the Falls to take a few more photos. After that we went and wandered around a second hand bookshop and an old building that now houses a number of antique shops.
After this we headed back to Pietermaritzburg and had a coffee before going to Wycliffe School. This is a girls boarding school founded early in the last century. The extremely attractive buildings are sited in beautiful grounds which house tennis courts and a huge swimming pool. The inside of the buildings rivals any of the girl’s boarding schools in England. Pupil’s art work of an exceptionally high quality adorned the walls.
The very polite pupils were mainly “white” with a sprinkling of “black” faces. The teachers were all very outgoing and friendly and Julie and I were handed over to the Librarian. She was immediately receptive to the idea of my doing a reading and will be in touch. Many of the girls come from outside South Africa from countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Julie is a delight. She is bright, intelligent and we have much in common. We are planning further outings.
http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/TalesMyGhanaianGrandmotherToldMe.html
http://www.dance-to-health-help-your-special-needs-child.com

Valentine’s Day in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa

February 28, 2009

14th February,2009
The family gave me a lovely figure of a woman holding a pot as a valentine’s gift. We went to a garden centre cum children’s play park which had a miniature train and a gem stone mining area for the kids. When it came to paying the telephone lines counrywide were down and banks couldn’t process credit cards. Shops were letting good customers take their goods home and asking them to come back to pay later.
No matter how efficient a person is business efforts are sabotaged by power outages and breaks in internet or telephone services. Things happen due to storms and lack of maintenance.
On the way back there was a road block with about forty police people. We were waved on to be questioned by a female policeman.

16th February,2009
This afternoon I went for a walk along Donnette’s road. I greeted everyone I met along the way. I said “good afternoon” to a lady of Indian ancestry and she started a conversation by remarking on the weather. We chatted a bit then she said she’d walk along with me so she changed direction. Apparently her late father had been a political activist in the apartheid period. He spent many years in England in exile. She had until recently been very involved in looking after her grandchildren and was clearly feeling a bit at a loose end. She wants to take me to the Howick Falls and museum next week. She described our meeting as “fate” because she usually doesn’t go for walks.

http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/TalesMyGhanaianGrandmotherToldMe.html
http://www.dance-to-health-help-your-special-needs-child.com