Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS

Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS

by Deborah Ellis
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Stories of survival.

Songs of hope.

Children you'll never forget.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are more than 11.5 million orphans. The AIDS pandemic has claimed their parents, their aunts, and their uncles. What is life like for these children? Who do they care for, and who cares for them?

Come and meet them. They might surprise you.

Royalties from this

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

Stories of survival.

Songs of hope.

Children you'll never forget.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are more than 11.5 million orphans. The AIDS pandemic has claimed their parents, their aunts, and their uncles. What is life like for these children? Who do they care for, and who cares for them?

Come and meet them. They might surprise you.

Royalties from this book will be donated to UNICEF

Awards and Nominations:

  • Winner, Book Link Best Book for the Classroom, 2005
  • Winner, School Library Journal Best Book of 2005
  • Finalist, 2006 Information Book Award
  • Runner-up, National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award for 2005
  • 2006 Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award short list
  • 2006 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction finalist
  • Red Maple Award for Non-fiction shortlist, 2007
  • Garden State Teen Book Awards nominee 2008

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authentic details speak of loss, fear, and grief; incredible kindness; and courage, as well as hope for the future ('I would wear clean clothes every day and be paid every week'). The readable design includes informative boxed insets ('How not to catch AIDS,' 'Poverty') and quotes, side-by-side with each child’s immediate experience. Readers older than the target audience will want this, too, for both the basic information and the heartrending stories."
Booklist starred review

"This powerful book succeeds remarkably well in its goal of putting a face on unimaginably large numbers, such as the estimated 20 million children who will have been orphaned by AIDS by 2010."
Quill & Quire

"The simply written first-person vignettes tell of poverty, life on the streets, loss of parents and dreams, personal infection with HIV, fears and hopes, with sepia-toned photographs of the speakers putting actual faces on an overwhelming tragedy. Despite their difficult, even desperate circumstances, the children speak with dignity, courage, and hope of their daily lives and future plans, several wanting to help effect true change in the world. Sidebars feature facts about AIDS, making this a valuable resource for health and social studies classes. . . This is a call-to-action book which can spur research into practical ways in which U.S. students can make a difference in Africa's AIDS crisis."
School Library Journal

"Every entry is laden with insight, potent with devastating unselfconsciousness. . .This collection should be part of every child's adolescence, and to my mind, it's a hands-down winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction."
Toronto Star

"Heart-wrenching, resilient and inspiring young voices put faces to the African AIDS pandemic."
Today's Parent

"Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS, by Deborah Ellis, is a collection of first-person accounts by young people, ages seven to 17, describing the effect HIV/AIDS has had on their schools, families, lives and futures. This could be a sad or ugly book, but it is not. It is about the power of the human spirit to endure and hope for a better tomorrow."
The Review (Niagara Falls)

Publishers Weekly
In Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS, Deborah Ellis (Breadwinner) collects accounts from children in their own words, such as that of eight-year-old Collins in Chowomba, the capital of Zambia, who remembers that his father "suffered from bad headaches and also he ran out of blood"; and 16-year-old orphaned Maten who was essentially taken in as a slave, promised pay but never given any and nearly starved to death. The brief bios demonstrate that the disease spares no one-soldier, businesswoman, farmer; sidebars describe the use of child labor and the staggering number of orphans in Africa (15 million). Among the tragic stories there are also tales of hope. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
I really do not think there is any way to understand the impact of AIDS in Africa or anywhere, but especially there. Deborah Ellis has tried in her book to bring real stories from young people whose lives have been severely impacted by this disease. She went to Africa, interviewed kids, and here presents their stories. Several things come across to this reader—one, the amazing fortitude and positive outlook of most of these kids in spite of the terrible poverty, hardships, and loss of loved ones. They dream of a better world and being there to make it better. Today in this country we are all wrought up with the "war" in Iraq and, horrible as it is, we talk about thousands of Americans dying. In Sub-Saharan Africa AIDS has created more than eleven million orphans, and that number will come close to doubling by 2020. It really makes other problems and issues pale by comparison, but there just does not seem to be the focus of attention, money, and commitment to eradicate or control the spread of AIDS. Aside from the grinding poverty of this region, there is massive ignorance about AIDS—together, it seems like the situation is irresolvable. I cannot believe there is not something that those of us who are better informed and living comfortably cannot do. These children have not given up and the world should not give up on them. The stories should be available to all young readers, because they are the ones who will be facing even harder decisions when they become young adults. The author has donated the royalties from this book to UNICEF. 2005, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Ages 12 up.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-In the summer of 2003, Ellis traveled to Malawi and Zambia and met with children and teens whose lives have been touched by AIDS. In short, autobiographical vignettes, the young people, many of whom are orphans or living on the street, discuss their families, their favorite pastimes, their fears, and their dreams. Poignant and often bleak, the stories paint a portrait of life in Africa and the epidemic that goes far beyond impersonal news headlines. Photographs, printed in sepia tones, give a face to each story. Facts about AIDS are interspersed throughout the text and quotes from writers and public figures set the tone for each chapter. Ellis presents the stories in a matter-of-fact and compassionate manner that maintains the children's dignity. Despite the tragedies, hardships, and grief expressed, many of the young people face their day-to-day lives with courage and manage to maintain hope for the future. Several describe efforts to help others and to bring about change in their society. An impressive offering whose chilling accounts remain with readers long after the book is finished.-Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781550419122
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
08/08/2005
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
7.48(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
11 - 15 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >