Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nonfiction Monday -- 14 Cows for America

(heavy sigh)
Nonfiction Monday came on a Tuesday again.
Not my fault. The library was closed yesterday because they finally installed all of our the RFID readers and self-checkouts. And we had to get trained. etc., etc., etc.

Anywho --
On our new book shelf today, I found 14 Cows for America written by Carmen Agra Deedy in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers, 2009.

When I saw it, I imediately was reminded that my friend Mary Bowman-Kruhm is also writing a book about the Maasai, in collaboration with another Maasai named Jackson Minteeng Liaram. You can read more about that on her blog.

In 14 Cows for America, Kimeli, who has been in Medical School in New York City (USA), returns to his village in Kenya. That evening, his contribution to the storytelling was the tale of 9-11. He saw the smoke and the falling buildings.

Kimeli knows his people. "They are fierce when provoked, but easily moved to kindness when they hear of suffering or injustice." "To the Maasai, the cow is life."

A great ceremony is held where an American diplomat accepts 14 cows donated from this village to the American people. Beautiful double-page spreads show the dancing, the music, the celebration. Lyrical writing tells the story.

Even more interesting to adults is the endnote -- Where Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah explains the background behind this story.

And what happened to those special cows?
They are still in Kenya being cared for by Maasai.
A special flag, commemorating this gift of sacred cows, flies at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and will be placed at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City when it opens.

For more Nonfiction Monday posts, click here.

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