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Meshack Asare,
Sosu’s Call
Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2002.

Ages 5-9

Sosu is a young boy who has not seen the world outside the fence of his family’s small hut for many years.  “Most of the things Sosu knows about the village are from the days when he was small enough to be carried on his mother’s back… when everyone wished for him to stand up on his legs and walk.  But that did not happen.”  Though his father taught him how to mend fishing nets, and his brother and sister have taught him how to read and write, the villagers believe Sosu is bad luck and should not leave his family’s home.  Housebound with only the family dog, Fusa, to keep him company, Sosu spends his days doing what he can and envying everyone, even Fusa, who is free to come and go.  “What use is a boy without a pair of good, strong legs?” he thinks to himself.

 Then one day, everything changes.  The narrow strip of land between the sea and the lagoon where Sosu’s village sits is threatened by rising waters while most of the villagers are away.  The only other people in the village are too old or too young or too weak to do anything.  They could all be trapped and drowned!  Sosu has to use his wits and all his physical capabilities to save the village and earn the respect of his neighbors. He proves to everyone that a boy without good, strong legs can be not only useful but a lucky person to have in a village!

 First published in Ghana in 1997, this inspiring and at times heart-rending story is a worthy recipient of the numerous awards it has received, the most prestigious being First Prize in the UNESCO Children’s & Youth’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance Award in 1999.  It is listed as one of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century and an IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities.  It has also been featured on Reading Rainbow and is the recipient of an ASA Children’s Africana Book Award.

 The illustrious Ghanaian Meshack Asare, who has been winning international awards for his picture books since before many of today’s parents were born, combines his talents and education in art, educational psychology, and social anthropology to give readers a well-conceived story that will touch the hearts of people from many backgrounds.  This beautifully illustrated book featuring a protagonist who refuses to be defined by his disability reminds us of the value in every person and all that can be lost if we fail to recognize it.

Abigail Sawyer
May 2009

 

 

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