ISBN 9789988860387
Pages 40
Dimensions 280 x 216mm
Illustrations Colour Illustrations
Published 2020
Publisher Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana
Format Hardback

The Talking Baobab Tree

by Nelda LaTeef

The Talking Baobab Tree is derived from a story the author heard while visiting a Wolof village in the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal. The story is in keeping with traditional Wolof tales which reveal a deep admiration for getting the better of a stronger, more powerful opponent. Wolof proverbs are blended into the story as are the Wolof words: Oubi (open) and jerry-jef (thank you).

The Wolof people make up forty percent of the population of Senegal and are celebrated for their oral tradition, sense of style, and hospitality. An often repeated saying among the Wolof is “Eat whatever you like but wear clothes that please others.” There are over ten million Wolof speakers, many of whom live in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania.

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Review

"Her flowing prose seamlessly integrates new vocabulary in English (baobab) and Wolof, the language of the story’s origin. The beautiful acrylic, India ink, and collage illustrations capture the setting and the tone of the tale. The design is also inventive; in one delightful two-page spread, Johari slides down a sand dune, requiring readers to turn the book sideways. In another long illustration, a collage of gems fills the inside of the baobab. A rich, inventive rendering of a familiar folktale."

About the Author

Nelda LaTeef

While living in the Republic of Niger, Nelda LaTeef traveled by Land Rover to the fabled city of Timbuktu. Her children’s picture books Animal Village (named Best Books of 2018 by Kirkus Reviews and a Children’s Africana Book Awards Honour Book) and, The Hunter and the Ebony Tree, both received starred Kirkus reviews, the Storytelling World Honor Award, and were translated in numerous languages including Italian, Korean, Gaelic, French and Spanish. LaTeef studied at Harvard University and her book, Working Women for the 21st Century: Fifty Women Reveal Their Pathways to Success, was selected as recommended reading for young adults by The New York Public Library. She lives with her family in Virginia.

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