For You Are a Kenyan Childby Kelly Cunnane, Ana Juan
Imagine you live in a small Kenyan village, where the sun rises over tall trees filled with doves. You wake to the sound of a rooster's crow, instead of an alarm clock and the school bus. Your afternoon snack is a tasty bug plucked from the sky, instead of an apple. And rather than kicking a soccer ball across a field, you kick a homemade ball of rags down a dusty… See more details below
Imagine you live in a small Kenyan village, where the sun rises over tall trees filled with doves. You wake to the sound of a rooster's crow, instead of an alarm clock and the school bus. Your afternoon snack is a tasty bug plucked from the sky, instead of an apple. And rather than kicking a soccer ball across a field, you kick a homemade ball of rags down a dusty road. But despite this, things aren't that different for a Kenyan child than they would be for an American kid, are they? With so much going on around you, it's just as easy to forget what your mama asked you to do!
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I am a Kenyan residing in the U.S. and my 10-year-old cousin also from Kenya just borrowed this book from the library and ran to me saying some of the Swahili was wrong. I went through the book and was in total shock by the way the author had totally used words that were out of context. First, I'd like to commend her for writing a book about a Kenyan village and to state that the illustrations are quite good. I am sure she had the purest of intentions when writing it. I cannot claim to have flawless Swahili but having learned and spoken the language since childhood, I can easily identify mistakes. It is unfortunate that there are thousands of children out there reading incorrect Swahili. Her father says the following: 'It is bad that she has placed the wrong meaning of Swahili words in the English context and she ought to have consulted a Swahili scholar or native speaker 'a Tanzanian/Kenyan' so as to write the language correctly. No book would be published in English with incorrect spellings and context and we hope that measures will be taken to correct these errors.' We also believe that the publisher has an obligation to ensure that the books they sell which are geared to millions of people/children are correctly edited by native speakers/scholars of the respective foreign languages. Some mistakes found in the book include: Una taka chepati? = Unataka Chapati? * Chapati is not a pancake, it is a type of flat-round-bread with its origin in India. Jambo, Mzee - Mzee means an old man/elder not exactly respected one as stated. * Mheshimiwa means respected one. Una taka shika rungu 'fly-whisk'? = Unataka kushika rungu? * A rungu is a club, not a fly-whisk, not sure what a flywhisk means in Swahili. Una taka maziwa lala? = Unataka kunywa maziwa lala? * Maziwa lala is not sleeping milk but cultured milk/Natural yogurt. Una taka ndudu? = Unataka mdudu/dudu?. Una taka cheza? = Unataka kucheza?. Kabisa means completely/totally but not 'of course' as implied Most of the people I have spoken to including my friends are in total shock at the incorrect use of Swahili. It isn't right. Once again, we are grateful that such a book exists but hope that the errors will be corrected.
I have taught children for a long time, but i have yet to see a book capture their attention as quickly and strongly as 'For You are a Kenyan Child' did. This book makes kids wonder and want to explore the world beyond the class. I recommened it strongly! (Teachers: you never know, you might learn something to)