Posted on June 30th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Through the fictional story of a Tanzanian girl named Anna, Fullerton (Community Soup) and Deines (Bear on the Homefront) reveal how bicycles can change the lives of children whose families lack access to motorized transportation. Opening on “a little schoolhouse [that] sits at the end of a dusty road,” Deines shows Anna working indoors at a desk. “There will be no daylight for schoolwork by the time she reaches home,” writes Fullerton. A truck from a “Bicycle Library” unloads several bikes, but none are left for Anna; undeterred, she helps her friends learn how to ride their bikes (“She directs Samwel around the obstacles/ Left/ Right/ Stop!”) and shares one of them with another student so both of them can get home quickly. Soaked in warm golds and oranges, Deines’s oil paintings glow with a sense of promise as the children race around the schoolyard on their bikes. Fullerton says quite a bit with few words in her verselike prose, and a detailed author’s note discusses the vital role bicycles play in communities across Africa and supplies information about bicycle donation organizations. Ages 4–up. (Sept.)”
Posted on April 20th, 2015 by pajamapress
“In a Cloud of Dust demonstrates a challenge that affects a wide range of children and adults living in developing countries such as Tanzania – transportation.
Anna, like many children in her country, has miles to travel to get to her school, but no transportation to help her. One day, a bicycle library truck stops outside her school dropping off bicycles to some of the students there. Unfortunately, Anna does not receive a bike, but she helps to teach other children how to ride and gets a ride in return. To Anna’s surprise, when her friend, Mohammed, stops the bike at his house, he offers Anna the bike to continue her journey onward. Anna thanks him and tells him that she will pick him up on her way to school the next day. This simple gesture helps Anna to arrive home before dark and offers her reliable transportation in the future.
Told in simplistic language in free verse, this story helps children understand some of the dilemma that exists for many children in developing countries today. An excellent resource for learning about other cultures, In a Cloud of Dust inspires children to learn about life in developing countries and about organizations who help folks by providing bicycles to children and adults, so they can go to school or their jobs, and also help to create jobs in communities. Highly recommended for classroom investigation and discussion and learning about good citizenship.”
Thematic Links: Life in Developing Countries
Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress
In a Cloud of Dust offers a glimpse into the daily struggle of a young Tanzanian girl. Anna has along trek to and from school. While her classmates relax on lunch break, she works on her assignments, knowing it will be too dark to study by the time she walks back home. When Anna misses the arrival of the travelling bicycle library and isn’t able to claim a bike for herself, she swallows her disappointment and eagerly helps her friends master their new two-wheelers. Her generosity of spirit is repaid by her friend Mohammad , who shares his bike. Barrelling down the well-trodden path home, Anna revels in her speedy flight, and “kicks up her own cloud of dust.”
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award winner Alma Fullerton’s inviting text is spare and poetic. Lines appear staggered across the page in quick bursts that reflect the children’s excitement and energy: “Anna runs beside Farida. / She bumpety-bumps/ with Samwel. / She helps Leyla careen. / She twists and turns with Irene.”
Brian Deines’ radiant oil paintings glow with orange and yellow background washes. An aerial view of Anna standing by herself after all the bikes have been claimed highlights the girl’s initial isolation and disappointment. The warmly realistic images of Anna helping Leyla learn to balance, and Prisca laughing after taking a tumble, nicely capture the children’s indefatigable spirits.