Picture Books

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Touré, Nana-Aïssa

Yowa le petit dromadaire

Yowa, the Little Dromedary

Illustrated by Dominique Mwankumi. Kunkurunni series. Bamako, Mali: Le Figuier, 2006. No pag. ISBN 2-84258-098-2-33. Ages 3-10.

Language: French

Publisher: Le Figuier

This is the story of the little dromedary Yowa, who lives with his mother and father in a small part of the desert among dunes and date palms. Yowa’s father and his friends leave on a long trip to take the men dressed in blue boubous (long gowns) to the salt mines. That same night, little Yowa starts on his way, alone, to see the salt mines, following the tracks left by the big dromedaries. But there is a sand storm, and there are no more tracks to follow. Everything ends well, thanks to a good camel (with two humps).


This endearing story comes from Mali, where dromedaries, men in blue boubous, and the desert are familiar sights in the northern part of the country. The soft lines and warm, rich, delicate colours of Dominique Mwankumi’s pictures invite the reader to “live” the story of Yowa. The book is well produced, with hard covers and pretty end-paper design.

Other children’s books by Nana-Aïssa Touré (Mali) are La chèvre paysanne (The Peasant Nanny-goat) and La petite potière (The Little Potter Girl), both published by Jamana in Bamako. Dominique Mwankumi (Congo) has published several well-known picture books in France for L’École des loisirs – such as La chasse à la marmite (Hunting with a Stockpot), Prince de la rue (Street Prince), and Les petits acrobats du fleuve (The Small Acrobats of the River) – and for Edicef, such as Mon premier voyage (My First Journey). Mwankumi is active in teaching illustration and has conducted workshops in various African countries (Rwanda, Namibia, Senegal). Mwankumi is President of Illusafrica, the African illustrator’s association based in Brussels, where he lives. This is his first picture book for an African publisher.


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