If you’ve missed Parts 1 & 2 of the keynote I delivered at Packaging Your Imagination last fall, you might want to go back to my earlier posts and start reading it from the beginning. If you’re ready for Part 3, read on!
That’s an as yet untitled poem by Watchen Johnson Babalola, a Liberian writer who wrote three of the first Liberian children’s books to be published in her country – this year. Watchen is one of the two dozen or so Liberian writers I’ve had the privilege of working with, in Liberia, since 2009, as a volunteer with a program called Reading Liberia.
Certainly when I sat at my dining room table in 1981, writing what would become Red is Best and Big or Little?, having only once ever been outside my home province, I had no idea that I would eventually, not only meet with readers in every province and territory in my own country, but would also, one day, be presented with an opportunity to expand my world by travelling to Africa and working with writers there. To help writers in a country recovering from a long civil war to discover and develop their stories – it has been satisfying, enriching work.
Other members of CANSCAIP and/or IBBY-Canada have been working as volunteer editors for Reading Liberia, from within Canada: Anne Laurel Carter, Susan Hughes, Patricia O’Campo, and Rivka Cranley, to name just a few. Hadley Dyer, Ted Staunton, Sharon Jennings, Peter Carver, and Sarah Ellis have been involved as on-site volunteers with other CODE programs related to literature for young people – in Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, and Ethiopia. (CODE is the Canadian Organization for Development through Education.)
CANSCAIP members with qualifications as editors and/or workshop leaders who are interested in lending their expertise to one of these programs – in Africa or from the comfort of Canada – should let IBBY-Canada know they’re interested in being considered. (IBBY-Canada’s president is Patricia O’Campo. )