“It’s a folk tale!” she proudly told me. As we settled on the couch, she proceeded to give away most of the allegorical story which relays a message of self-love, empowerment, appreciation of all of our gifts; while also preaching against bullying.
I was happy to contribute towards the Kickstarter campaign
to bring the book to life in the first place. Yawson decided to pen it after she took her son to the barber shop for his first trim and was shocked to hear the barber tell her that her son’s coarse African hair was not good and needed to be cut all the way down.
|Author Ama Karikari Yawson
In Sunne’s Gift, Yawson introduces four characters Sunne, Earthe, Watre and Windwe, all with power to help a mythical world thrive and grow. Sunne needed sun-darkened bronze skin and spirally hair that grew towards the sun because Sunne was empowered to bring forth the sun.
(Note: It’s anthropologically accurate as scientists say Africans’ skin and hair evolved that way so they could best survive in a hot climate with lots of sun)
The other elements had straight hair, but when one of them, Windwe, got jealous that Sunne’s hair was different, Windwe opted to ridicule Sunne and got the others to join in. (Note: It is similar to how bullying happens in modern life among kids…um and adults.)
The tormenting impacts Sunne so much that Sunne attempts to straighten the hair so it would be like the others. This part perhaps is a message about peer pressure and how media and society coaxes us all to alter our appearance to appear more uniform.
Eventually, all of the pulling and prodding causes Sunne’s hair to all fall out and, consequently without Sunne’s hair there to summon the sun, the planet goes black.
The world remained dark despite the elements efforts to fix it. That is until their female Mother Nature-like creator who gave each of them their gifts in the first place returns and restores order, after realizing the elements has learned their lesson.
Another interesting note is that artwork by Rashad Malik Davis is vibrant and expressive and matches well with the powerful story weaved within the 32-pages of this marvelous story book. The characters all have amorphous androgynous looks so they could be either female or male so any gender of child could relate to to any character. Visually, they remind me of the characters from the movie Avatar a bit.
After reading the book again with my daughter, we went through the reading comprehension questions that addressed the story, the science, art and spiritual and cultural studies within.
It’s a worthwhile book for any child of any race to teach them appreciation for differences and to show them how bullying can have negative affects on all involved — not just the person being bullied.
Pick up a copy of this powerful modern day fable at Amazon.com
And here is the pledge that Yawson invites kids to take after reading the book: