Sow, Fatou Ndiaye
Comme Rama, je veux aller à l’école
Like Rama, I Want to Go to School
Illustrated by Samba Ndar Cissé. Mouss series. Dakar, Senegal: Nouvelles Editions Africaines du Sénégal, 2003. 22 p. ISBN 2-7236-1460-3. Ages 9 and up.
Publisher: Nouvelles Editions Africaines du Sénégal (NEAS)
This is one of the many African books for children that advocate girls’ right to attend school. Young Ndèye Amy, with her mother’s and uncle’s (the Imam’s) help, and with arguments based on Mandingue, Wolof, and Islamic traditions eventually succeeds in persuading her father to let her go to school.
This is one of eleven books about children’s rights (previously published with the support of UNICEF and the Senegalese government), written by Fatou Ndiaye Sow. The aim of the series is to help children (and adults) be aware of their rights through good stories. Each story is placed in a current situation where a right is not respected – but will be in the end, thanks to reasoned discussion among characters. Arguments for children’s rights are based not only on the Convention on the Rights of the Child but also on the relevant cultural traditions: Wolof, Mandingue, popular wisdom, Islam, and the Gospels. In spite of the obvious pedagogic agenda of these stories, they are interesting, lively, and well told – and they achieve their goal. A colour illustration occupies each right-hand page.
Senegalese author Fatou Ndiaye Sow (died 2004) is a much-loved figure in African literature for children. Initially a teacher, she published her first book in 1982. Her rich and varied poetry and fiction were published in Senegal, Benin, Ivory Coast, and France. In 2001, she founded Falia, a publishing house based in Dakar. Some of her best-known books are Takam Tikou: J’ai deviné (Illus. Annick Assemian; Abidjan: NEI, 1997), La Fille de Neene Sira (Versailles: Les Classiques africains, 1997), and Papy et Cocori (Illus. Moustapha Ndiaye; Dakar: Falia/Clairafrique, 2001).