Review Blog

Oct 14 2019

Africa Day by Chi Mary Kalu

cover image

Illus. by Jelena Jordanovic-Lewis. Little Steps Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839197.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Africa, African food and culture, Community, Family. Brisbane based lawyer, Chi Mary Jalu has written a book about a special market day focussing on African food, music and dance which will make readers' mouths water and feet beg to move. A boy and his mother leave home early with baskets ready for the special market day. Walking along some of the market stalls they breathe in the smells and tastes of African food: fried buns, jollof rice, bean pudding and Ethiopian coffee. They move on to a jewelry stall where Mum buys some wooden beads and a bracelet. Next is bag stall, full of cane and rattan baskets and bags. Then a material stall where mum buys some shirts and lengths of fabric. They watch some dancers, jugglers and fire breathers, and they move on to the singers and musicians engaging the crowd with their lively music, dressed in traditional costume. The music captivates Mum and her son who dance until the stalls are taken down and packed away and it is time for home.
A fabulous time has been spent at Africa Day at the market, and readers will have joined in the fun of the day, learnt some things about African culture, had their tastes tingled by the food offered, and learnt a few African words. A book to encourage diversity and harmony, Africa Day is full of verve and vigour, wonderfully evocative illustrations cover every page, full of life, colour and movement, encompassing the splendour of this continent across the Indian Ocean. I love the endpapers with the range of African fabric designs, repeated on the title page, and the happy, laughing faces on all the participants at the market.
Fran Knight

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