Picture Books

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Asare, Meshack

Sosu’s Call

Illustrated by Asare. Accra, Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 1997. 38 p. ISBN 9988-550-09-X. Ages 8 and up.

This is a heart-warming story of a crippled boy in a rural community, where people with handicaps are regarded as bringing bad luck or even being evil spirits. Sosu seems to be of no use to his family or to himself—until a storm sweeps over the village and its lagoon. He finds the strength and courage to struggle to where the talking drums are kept, and he sends out a call for help. The adults hurry back from the lagoon and the fields, and Sosu (with his dog) becomes a local hero. His reward comes in the form of a wheelchair on which he can go to school.

This story has added impact because of the recent tsunami and Hurricane Katrina disasters. These natural threats will also make readers understand that the African rejection of bodily impairment is a harsh reaction based more on the need for survival than on superstition, although both are still present. Asare captures the background unease and the eventual vigorous action through the text as well as his soft, impressive watercolours. In recognition of its quality and depth, this book won the 1999 UNESCO First Prize for Children’s and Youth Literature in the Service of Tolerance, an award that has now been discontinued. The book was also voted amongst the top twelve of Africa’s 100 Best Books.

Picture Books


Sub-Saharan Publishers