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Children's Books - Geography & Cultures

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ISBN: 9781592986651
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Emily Williamson
Trim: 9.5 x 9.5 inches
Published: 4/3/2018

Winner of the 2017 Children's Africana Book Award for Best Book Young Readers!

Gizo-Gizo the spider is a lazy selfish fellow. So when he starts a gold mine that pollutes the Zongo Lagoon and makes other animals sick naturally he ignores everyone else's concerns. "Someday when I am rich I will buy this place " he tells them. "I can do whatever I want!" But when the fish groan with upset stomachs and the frogs wince from sore throats caused by the filthy water Tortoise and Crab decide that things have gone too far. They come up with a clever plan to teach their friend Spider a lesson and make him clean up his mess. Originally written and drawn by students from Cape Coast Ghana this community-created contemporary folktale examines environmental sustainability and personal responsibility. And with colorful illustrations inspired by West African textiles and a text that includes Hausa words and phrases it also provides a great platform for cross-cultural exploration.

Emily Williamson is a PhD student in anthropology at Boston University. Her research questions center on belonging place and pluralism among "zongos " the informal predominantly Muslim settlements found in most Ghanaian cities. With over ten years of intermittent engagement with zongo residents as a teacher designer landscape heritage consultant and anthropologist she is proficient in the Hausa language and has built trusted relationships among zongos in Accra Cape Coast Elmina Salt Pond Kumasi Techiman Wa and the Bronx New York.

More recently she co-founded the Zongo Story Project with John Schaidler to help formalize her continuing literacy work in Ghana. In August 2017 Emily and John co-led a weeklong storybook workshop in Nima Accra. They worked with over sixty students on illustrating writing and performing stories embedded in local traditions that explore community.


"Highly recommended!" --Breeanna Elliot outreach specialist at Boston University's African Studies Center

"I really do love this book!" --Anastasia Shown University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice