When Africa Was Home

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9780531059258: When Africa Was Home

After returning to the United States, Peter's whole family misses the warmth and friendliness of their life in Africa; so Peter's father looks for another job there.

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From School Library Journal:

PreSchool-Grade 2-- Peter, a white American, is entirely at home in a Malawian village. He slides down anthills in the hot sun, chews sugarcane with his friend Yekha, and runs with the goats. When he has to go to America with his parents, he feels displaced, and waits patiently until their joyful return to the village, where he is once again at home. Williams evokes Africa as the ultimate playground, a place of warmth, belonging, and freedom. Cooper's luminous paintings in oranges, yellows, greens, and blues contribute to this image, as they show Peter and Yekha playing against a background of shimmering heat. The warmth of that country is contrasted starkly with the cold of winter in America. Peter's story tends to lose its flow in the descriptions of daily life. However, continuity is provided by frequent use of the phrase, "when Africa was home," and by the use of Chichewa words followed by their English equivalent. Cooper's portrayal of people varies: his profiles of faces are usually more successful than his frontal views. Peter's face changes from page to page, and so does his apparent age. Also, although the use of Chichewa places the book in Malawi, some characters appear West African in their style of dress. The book is successful as a read-aloud, but the print is also large enough for independent reading. It will be most useful to those looking for material for multicultural units. --Susan Giffard, Englewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

When Africa was Peter's home, he slid down anthills and chased chickens with his friends--including Yekha, the daughter of his mayi --nanny. When his father's work in Africa is finished and the family returns to America, Peter finds that everything about his new, urban lifestyle is alien to him--and very unappealing. At last Peter and his parents are able to return to Africa, and Yekha welcomes her happy friend home. Williams, author of Galimoto , lived in Africa for several years and obviously has strong emotional ties to that land and its people. This lends a warmth and credibility to her story, told with a gentle, soothing cadence. The cherubic Peter is intermittently brought in and out of focus in Cooper's affecting oil wash paintings, filled with muted color and a frequently radiant light. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Williams; Cooper; Floyd Cooper
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