More Books for Liberian Children
I knew the first time Gii-Hne Russell read his story “A Time to Bathe” during one of the workshops I conducted in Liberia that it would one day become a book Liberian children would love to learn to read for themselves. (That’s the point of the Reading Liberia program I became involved with in 2008. CODE has since helped expand the program into Sierre Leone, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and more.)
Gii-Hne Russell started writing during his country’s long civil war, when “we couldn’t go out or leave our home because of the fighting.” He now works as a librarian at the WE-CARE Library in Monrovia.
“A Time to Bathe” is simple, funny, and depicts Akini’s resistance to the ritual of getting himself clean. Hm, perhaps this is a common experience of little boys the world over?
I haven’t been back to Liberia in a couple of years now, but maybe someday. I still think often of the brave, warm-hearted, and funny writers I met there, and wish them all the best, always, in the continued creation of Liberian-authored books for Liberian children.
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.