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.