Amadi's Snowman (Hardcover), by Katia Novet Saint-Lot. Set in Nigeria, Amadi's Snowman tells the story of a young boy who dreams of being a businessman. He has a knack for math, and sees no need for him to learn to read, despite his mother and a well-meaning neighbor's attempts to teach him. But when Amadi spots a boy at the market reading a book about a snowman, and learns what snow is for the first time, he realizes how much books can teach him, and how much he is missing. Walking home from the market, "the sign boards on the roadside seemed to laugh at him, their giant letters taunting him, daring him to understand their meaning." When the neighbor gifts him with the book, he resolves to learn to read, and "his heart is filled with joy." A beautiful story about literacy, Africa, and the power of books.
"Amadi closed the book and looked at the cover. The boy seemed to smile at him, as if challenging him. Amadi smiled back. Yes, he'd learn about snow. And then he'd learn more, because when this book was finished, there'd be others. And the more he learned, the more he'd know."
Bookworm's interest at 23 months: He's too young; we'll try again in a few years. Suggested reading age: 4-8.
You can find discussion topics and companion activities on the publisher's website. For instance,
- Find Nigeria on the map or globe. Make up a story about how you would travel there from your home. Your story can be told in writing, in words, in pictures or in movement/acting...
- Research a game children play in Nigeria. Try it out.
- Cook and eat fried plantains. Find out what other foods Amadi might eat.
Source: Review copy from publisher (Tilbury House).
Question: Who most influenced your learning to read, or your appreciation of reading? If I had to pinpoint one person in my life, I'd say my mother, because she stocked me with books, brought me to the library, and read often herself. Who was it for you -- a parent, sibling, teacher? Comment and tell us about it.
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