Off to Liberia!
Hard to believe that a week from now I will be meeting with writers in Monrovia!
Sponsored by CODE, “Reading Liberia” is a program through which books written by Liberian authors for Liberian children will be produced, and teachers trained how to use them in their classrooms. Thanks to IBBY-Canada who put my name forward to CODE, I have the privilege of being part of the program which – since many classrooms in the country may currently have just one book to be shared by everyone (and it might not even be a children’s book) – promises to make a wonderful difference in the lives of the children (and their teachers) in this country rebuilding after many years of civil strife.
If I understand correctly – and there has been so much to absorb in the less than two months since I learned I was going so I might not have this quite right – the publication of the books will be sponsored by the We-Care Foundation, set up by Mike and Yvonne Weah. Mike and Yvonne have also set up the We-Care Library in Monrovia.
If anyone has wondered why I haven’t been posting much here lately – about how I’m doing with my new approach to email (fine!), with my novel (great, it’s going to my writing group this week), or about the release of a 25th anniversary edition of Big or Little? – it’s because I’ve been busy getting ready for Liberia!
How? By reading many many emails with multiple attachments about the program and what’s been happening so far, reading books and web sites about the country, viewing a dvd about the country’s remarkable president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, attending planning meetings (by phone) with people at CODE and the two people who will be working with the teachers while I’m working with the writers, getting immunized, planning for the sessions I’ll be leading, gathering advice from people I know with experience traveling to Africa, and of course reading the manuscripts that the writers have submitted. And you know, I think come Thursday, I will actually be ready to get on that plane!
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.