Title: Kele's Secret
Author: Tololwa M. Mollel
Illustrator: Catherine Stock
Publisher: Lodestar Books; June 1, 1997
Topic/theme: Overcoming fear, Places & Cultures: Tanzania, Chickens
Grandmother Koko's hens laid their eggs in the strangest places.
A young Tanzanian boy named Yoanes must overcome his fear of a spooky shed, the scariest place on his grandparents' farm, to follow Kele to find out where she lays her egg. Of all his grandmother Koko’s chickens, Kele is the cleverest hider of her eggs. The reward for Yoanes if he can find Kele’s hidden eggs to fill the egg bowl is to accompany Koko to the market. There Koko will sell the eggs and give him a precious ten cent coin, with which Yoanes can buy any snack he wishes.
The author includes a glossary at the end of the book. Some discussion points can include: how they help their family. What they do to overcome their fears? Differences between life on a farm and life in the city. Then have children learn more about Tanzania. For some fun in the kitchen, try out this simple Mandasi recipe. Mandasi is a deep-fried bun that is a treat when eaten fresh and lightly powdered with sugar. :) The book covers a lot of Tanzanian agriculture, have your children make a list of the different plants, shrubs, trees and vegetation mentioned in the book.
Why I like this book:
This was a really cute story. From the beginning I am drawn into the mystery of the strange and secretive Kele. I also want to know where she keeps her eggs hidden. I love how we are taken on a tour through Yoanes's homeland as he trails the clucky hen. We learn about Tanzanian folklore along the way and watch him face his fears in the process. The illustrations are simply wonderful and engaging.
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