When we interviewed the authors and illustrators of the books chosen for the Spirit of PaperTigers‘ 2010 Book Set, there was one question we asked everybody: “If you were to pick a place anywhere in the world to send your book, where would it be and why?”
We thought it would be great to bring all the different answers together here on the blog, so here is the first of two parts in which we highlight each person’s response…
I would like to send it to every country in the world! But right now, I would like to send it to Haiti, most of all. Now, after the earthquake, its people, especially the children, are going through very hard times. I like to imagine the children of Haiti forgetting their current hardships even just for a moment, by immersing themselves in a picture book.
Claire A. Nivola, author and illustrator of Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008):
I would think that the most important places to send the books would be to areas most affected by deforestation. Southeast Asia and South America are areas of enormous concern. But the list of countries is long: the countries of Central America, Brazil, Madagascar, Haiti, Mexico, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire. Too many! And unless there are translations provided, the books are useless to children who don’t read English. So, I would choose any of the above countries where English is spoken or taught in the schools. However, any country where children are in need would have my blessings. The Wangari Maathai story is not just about deforestation, it is about any misuse of the environment, and the environment is in need of help all around this globe!
I would send First Come the Zebra to Kenya, where the story takes place. Of course conflict exists in many parts of the world. I would say Israel and neighboring Arab countries could benefit from this story too.
I’d like to send the book to myself when I was 10 years old. Partly because it is the kind of book that I wanted and needed and didn’t have when I was a child, and partly to tell my younger self, “Have faith, you will someday accomplish your dream.”
Hmm, all over the world is a bit tricky – but we are doing our best to find homes in some of the specific places mentioned. And what about you? If you could choose anywhere in the world to send special books like these, where would it be?