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The Blue Marble (Hardcover)
Age Range: 9 – 15 years
Published in association with UNESCO, this originally illustrated book is the result of the first in a planned series of workshops convened by UNESCO for authors, illustrators and publishers of children’s books in African and Arabic countries. The idea of the workshops is to produce children’s books that deal with the UNESCO themes of tolerance, cultural diversity, understanding between peoples, and peace. The story, The Blue Marble, was selected for publication by the participants of the workshop held in Namibia, and collectively illustrated under the guidance of the prize-winning children’s book author and illustrator, Meshack Asare.
The narrative tells of three young sisters, Nafula, Ajambo and Samanya whose mother has died and father been made unemployed. The girls battle through life together hawking freshly made pancakes, in an effort to raise money to pay their school fees. They live in fear of their father wanting to get married again – to a woman: who subsequently becomes their dreaded stepmother figure. Then one of the girls, Ajambo, finds a lucky marble, and things slowly begin to look up for them.
Jackee Budesta Batanda is a writer of prose and children's fiction, from Uganda. Her stories have been published online, in print magazines and in anthologies of short stories published by FEMRITE in Uganda. She was highly commended in the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2004, and short-listed for the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa in the same year. She was a regional winner in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2003, and has twice been selected as a fellow of the Crossing Borders African Writers Mentoring Scheme, run by the British Council.
Jackee Budesta Batanda is presently writer in residence at The University of Lancaster in the UK, and has been commissioned to write by Litfest and the British Council Crossing Borders project, sponsored by the Arts Council North-West, the British Council and Lancaster University.