A writers’ group in Sierra Leone is mounting a project to publish eight locally-written books for children, and they are being supported by volunteer faculty and one William Smith alumna.
The books were written by writers who attended workshops for new writers of children’s books, with funding from the Banyon Tree Foundation through CODE of Canada, a literacy and book distribution charity. The workshops were led by Professor of Education Charles Temple, along with trainers from the PEN writers association in Sierra Leone. Simultaneous lessons for book illustrators were offered by artists from Liberia during the last two workshops.
Eight manuscripts were selected for publication, and they tell stories of children struggling to survive Sierra Leone’s recent civil war, of street life in Freetown, and of children returning to their parents’ home villages after being raised in exile in the city.
Among the volunteers who agreed to edit the manuscripts for publication are Caroline Travalia, assistant professor of Spanish and Hispanic studies, and William Smith alumna and children’s author Cynthia DeFelice ’73.
The four-color illustrated books will be produced in the fall by Sub Saharan Publishers of Ghana, and 12,000 copies will be printed of each title. The books will be donated to the schools of Sierra Leone, primarily in the Kenema District in the Southeastern part of the country, where they will be used in a literacy project being conducted by CODE-Canada in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee. It is expected that at least one more run of eight titles will be published next year.
In the photo above, Professor Charlie Temple teaches a class on campus.