Book Review of The Bundu Bunch Get to Write Their Names
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The Children’s Book Review
What to Expect: Family, shame, literacy, community, orphans, and belonging.
As a prequel to Dumb Orphans, this story offers readers the compelling backstory behind the charismatic group of orphans who will eventually escape poverty and go on to be community leaders, helping future orphans like themselves.
The BUNDU bunch have no choice but to look after themselves since no one else seems willing to look after them. Orphaned when ingculaza (AIDS) killed their parents, they were sent to live by themselves on the very outskirts of the village, away from the rest of the community. Because they have no families, they are made to do the menial work of the village all day, looking after the headman’s cattle and hauling water from the river. Because they have no money, they cannot go to school to learn how to read or write.
However, the BUNDU bunch refuse to be left on the sidelines. Banding together, they create a new identity for themselves, find a new way of making their work more manageable, and use the extra time to learn how to read and write. They can be proud to belong to themselves!
Aiyasha and her young charges are compelling characters, full of courage, determination, and care for one another and their community. Readers will learn important lessons about self-respect, belonging, and self-determination through their story. Beautiful artwork in earthy tones brings the African village to life, helping readers visualize the many animals and cultural features introduced in the narrative. Words from the southern African language of the orphans are used liberally throughout the text, expanding the linguistic and cultural horizons of its readers.
The Bundu Bunch Get to Write Their Names is a strong introduction to this inspirational series.
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About the Author
Allan Low has worked with rural communities in Eastern and Southern Africa over a span of forty-five years. Eleven years ago, Allan set up the charity SHAMBA with his late wife, Anne. SHAMBA works with communities to enable their most disadvantaged children from AIDS-affected households to gain access to high-quality early childhood care and education through their ‘Bright Future’ preschools. Allan now lives in Wetherby, UK, and continues to visit the charity and manage its work.
To see more about Allan’s motivation for writing this children’s book visit his author website www.alow.magix.net/allanlow.
About the Illustrator
Elizabeth Sparg is an illustrator from Durban, South Africa. She uses gouache and colored pencils, with digital editing, to create her playful and painterly illustrations. She was selected as one of the winners in the 2021 Picture This! award for, then unpublished, illustrators.
For more information, visit https://elizabethsparg.com/.
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