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A Tale from the Zongo Lagoon

Emily Williamson

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  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Dimensions: 9.50" x 9.50"
  • ISBN: 9781592986651
  • Publication Date: 2018-04-03
  • Beaver’s Pond Press

Availability: In stock

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Winner of the 2017 Children’s Africana Book Award for Best Book, Young Readers!

Gizo-Gizo the spider is a lazy, selfish fellow. So when he starts a gold mine that pollutes the Zongo Lagoon and makes other animals sick, naturally he ignores everyone else’s concerns. “Someday, when I am rich, I will buy this place,” he tells them. “I can do whatever I want!” But when the fish groan with upset stomachs and the frogs wince from sore throats caused by the filthy water, Tortoise and Crab decide that things have gone too far. They come up with a clever plan to teach their friend Spider a lesson and make him clean up his mess. Originally written and drawn by students from Cape Coast, Ghana, this community-created, contemporary folktale examines environmental sustainability and personal responsibility. And with colorful illustrations inspired by West African textiles and a text that includes Hausa words and phrases, it also provides a great platform for cross-cultural exploration.

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"Highly recommended!" --Breeanna Elliot, outreach specialist at Boston University's African Studies Center

"I really do love this book!" --Anastasia Shown, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice

Emily Williamson

Emily Williamson is a PhD student in anthropology at Boston University. Her research questions center on belonging, place, and pluralism among “zongos,” the informal, predominantly Muslim settlements found in most Ghanaian cities. With over ten years of intermittent engagement with zongo residents as a teacher, designer, landscape heritage consultant, and anthropologist, she is proficient in the Hausa language and has built trusted relationships among zongos in Accra, Cape Coast, Elmina, Salt Pond, Kumasi, Techiman, Wa, and the Bronx, New York.

More recently, she co-founded the Zongo Story Project with John Schaidler to help formalize her continuing literacy work in Ghana. In August 2017 Emily and John co-led a weeklong storybook workshop in Nima, Accra. They worked with over sixty students on illustrating, writing, and performing stories embedded in local traditions that explore community.