Yatandou

Yatandou

by Gloria Whelan, Peter Sylvada
     
 

Yatandou lives in a Mali village with her family and neighbors. And though she is only eight years old and would much rather play with her pet goat, she must sit with the women and pound millet kernels. To grind enough millet for one day's food, the women must pound the kernels with their pounding sticks for three hours. It is hard work, especially when one is eight… See more details below

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Overview

Yatandou lives in a Mali village with her family and neighbors. And though she is only eight years old and would much rather play with her pet goat, she must sit with the women and pound millet kernels. To grind enough millet for one day's food, the women must pound the kernels with their pounding sticks for three hours. It is hard work, especially when one is eight years old. But as they work, the women dream of a machine that can grind the millet and free them from their pounding sticks. But the machine will only come when the women have raised enough money to buy it. Yatandou must help raise the money, even if it means parting with something she holds dear. Through the eyes and voice of a young girl, award-winning author Gloria Whelan brings to life one village's dream of a better future. Atmospheric paintings from artist Peter Sylvada capture the landscape and spirit of this inspiring story of sacrifice and hope.To find recipes, games, interactives maps and much more for this title visit www.discovertheworldbooks.com!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Yatandou, the eight-year-old narrator of this lyrical first volume in the Tales of the World series, spends long days at work in her village in Mali. As she pounds millet kernels with a stick, she daydreams about going to school, where she might "learn book secrets like my brother did," and about the day the village women save up enough money to buy a machine to grind the millet. National Book Award winner Whelan (Paradise of Shadows, p. 61) introduces some local vocabulary ("I cover myself with my hawli, my scarf, so the bird won't see me") and hews to a poetic tone ("A water jug has had its little journey on her head"). Although Yatandou seems more like a vehicle for presenting a remote culture than like a real girl, the narrative does give readers insight into her way of life. The text is set on a rich brick-colored background that evokes the ever-present red sand ("The desert lives with us," says Yatandou) and that successfully counterpoints the luminosity of Sylvada's (A Symphony of Whales) impressionistic paintings. Fields of yellows-for the morning sky, the stretches of desert, onion fields-suggest the inescapable heat, and the very air seems to undulate. Sylvada also shows Yatandou mastering the unyielding setting: in his first view of Yatandou, she appears engulfed by the landscape, but as the story progresses to a hopeful conclusion, the pictures grow more intimate, culminating in the touching close-up portrait that concludes the book. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Christina M. Desai
This story captures a moment in the life of a rural village in Mali as it takes its first steps toward economic development. In this first-person narrative, Yatandou, an eight-year-old girl, matter-of-factly narrates the physical harshness of her daily life and her lack of freedom. Now that she is eight, she must pound millet into meal with the women for three hours each day. The women are saving for a mill to mechanize this backbreaking task. Yatandou eventually parts with her beloved pet goat to aid the purchase effort. The lush pictures, still seemingly dripping with paint, are filled with a golden light that conveys the intensity of the sun. The modern world has no presence here and so the illustrator tells his story from an oblique point of view. We do not gaze directly into the eyes of these characters; we cannot get that close. It is as if the characters do not expect us to understand their deprivations. The author, on the other hand, makes Yatandou more accessible; this child, like any other, would rather run free like the birds than pound millet. Yet despite these universal feelings, we are left with a feeling of Otherness. Yatandou's lack of freedom is treated as something quite different from, for example, the lack of freedom experienced by overscheduled and regimented American schoolchildren, who might also look longingly at birds in flight outside their classroom windows. While beautifully told and illustrated, this story is subtly ethnocentric: we are shown only the hardship, not the joy in this child's life and culture. The plot revolves around a female child straining against cultural restrictions, and the solution comes from outside the culture, from Westerntechnology. Miraculously, the new machine produces 100% profits, education, and the promise of water and ease. There is no indication that this traditional way of life will be radically transformed by technology and further contact with the developed world. Yet, today such transformations are often the reality. Given the dearth of children's titles dealing realistically with present day life in other countries, this book is a welcome addition. It is the first in a new series called "Tales of the World." Reviewer: Christina M. Desai

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585362110
Publisher:
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Series:
Tales of the World
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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