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Stephen Davies is a missionary who lives amongst Fulani herders in West Africa, one of the poorest regions of the world. He speaks Fulfulde, eats millet, accompanies cattle-drives and preaches the gospel in culturally relevant ways and lives a life just like those others who live there. He writes for the Guardian Weekly (letters from Burkina Faso) and occasionally for the Sunday Times.
VOICE IN THE DESERT - A Day in the Life of Stephen Davies:
I live in Djibo, a small town on the edge of the Sahara desert. Most of the year it is simply too hot to sleep inside the house, so my wife Charlie hangs a mosquito net from a tree in our back yard. We wake up to the usual early-morning soundtrack of donkeys, cockerels and cows. Lie-ins are rare because we have animals of our own to feed: three French hens, two black and white kittens and a hungry stallion called Silalé. Greeting is important in African societies, so I first go round saying hello to our neighbours: Jam waali (Did you pass the night in peace?), Noy koreeji maa (How is your family?), we sing the long greeting sequence back and forth. The answer to these questions is invariably Jam tan (Peace only). When they answer ‘Jam tan’, my neighbours are putting a brave face on things: in reality this region is one of the poorest in the world.
My work here as a missionary includes humanitarian relief: grain handouts, yes, but also working with individuals to find creative ways out of poverty. A donkey and cart for Bukari, a sheep for Mariama, school fees for Adama – the slow, intangible work of development.
A missionary is also a storyteller, and I love sharing stories with people – ancient stories which still have incredible power to inspire and transform the human heart.
In the afternoon, I write. I bash away on my laptop with sweat dripping off my elbows. I’m so grateful to my friends and neighbours here for sharing their lives with me – it’s their truth which inspires my fiction.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.Joyful and dotty, how Old Al Haji Amadu tries to get rid of his five naughty goggle-eyed goats - and fails - is the ultimate triumph of pester power. Al Haji's three wives object violently to the five goggle-eyed goats who chew up everything they can get their teeth into, so, ignoring protests from his children, Ali Haji takes them off to market... But Al Haji hasn't bargained with just how much his children want the goats to stay... Strikingly bold and vibrant illustrations bring the market place in Timbuktu vividly to life.
March 2012 Book of the Month. Joyful and dotty, how Old Al Haji Amadu tries to get rid of his five naughty goggle-eyed goats - and fails - is the ultimate triumph of pester power. Al Haji's three wives object violently to the five goggle-eyed goats who chew up everything they can get their teeth into, so, ignoring protests from his children, Ali Haji takes them off to market... But Al Haji hasn't bargained with just how much his children want the goats to stay... Strikingly bold and vibrant illustrations bring the market place in Timbuktu vividly to life.
A Lovereading4kids 'Great Read' you may have missed 2011 selection. Action packed, fast paced and peppered with up to date technology, this is a gripping thriller which raises interesting undercurrents of social conscience. Jake’s love of adventure mean that rules have never held him down. Expelled from school for breaking into a prison, Jake joins his parents in Africa and is almost immediately kidnapped. When Jake discovers he is being held by the most notorious outlaw of the desert, he knows that he’ll need every once of bravery and intelligence to escape. Or will he? Trickery abounds and Jake learns that not everything he had been told about his captor is true. A strong desert setting and a corkscrew of a plot make this a terrific page-turner.
This is an excellent, fast-paced adventure fusing past and present in a swift moving plot which tells how a sixteen year old contemporary hacker gets involved in the story of a daring gold robbery from an ancient temple in Timbuktu. Contemporary Danny is not only quick with computers he is also quick on his feet and his code breaking is only successful because he is able to keep one step ahead of his pursuers as they chase him from London to Africa in the hope of getting to the gold first. Lovereading comment: The best thing though about Stephen’s writing is that you really feel a part of the boy protagonist as he runs headlong through the book. This is almost certainly because the author, although English, lives a nomadic life in West Africa among the herders and speaks their language. For younger readers try his series of novels featuring the adventurer Sophie, again set in Africa. Click here to see all his titles.
An exciting new story about a dodgy election in the African desert setting up a new chase for Sophie, the tough and spirited little girl and her erstwhile friend, the albino camel. Terrific adventure, almost Kiplingesque in its humour and writing style, children from 6+ will love the wonderful story and the surprising ending. Sophie’s previous exploits include Sophie and the Locust Curse.
A really exciting adventure story set in Africa that will grip you from first page to last featuring a brave girl called Sophie and her albino camel Chobbal. Experience camel racing and a terrifying army of locusts - more of them than you can possibly imagine. Great stuff.
Winner of the Glen Dimplex Children's Book award 2006. Sophie is a wonderfully adventurous young girl who now lives with her father in a town in the Sahara desert. Her love of camels and a chance meeting with a young boy brings her into all manner of danger, fear and excitement all in one. Stephen Davies has a real talent for inspiring young children through the mixing of fact and fiction in his writing. Kids will be bubbling over with excitement, for before they even realise it they'll know more about life in the Sahara having read the book and had a great deal of fun along the way with both Sophie, Gidaado and the albino camel. Further adventures with Sophie will be published in March 2007, entitled Sophie and the Locust Curse. Rest-assured we will be promoting that one too as we really rate this author.
Hilda and her mum have settled into their new home in the city of Trolberg and our heroine is trying to fit into this new and very different way of life. Though she's made a new friend, the city is vast and unfamiliar and, as night falls, both Hilda and her mum are lost in the bustling Bird Parade, desperate to reunite. Will this concrete labyrinth ever feel quite like home?
'Gripping and surprising. I gulped it down' Sarah Crossan Leah Baxter is a genius. She's a few wins away from becoming a junior chess grandmaster, and her life is on course to achieve everything her mom and coach want for her. But Leah is at stalemate - grieving for her father, and feeling suffocated. She decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and quit chess. But chess doesn't want to quit her. Soon Leah discovers her new gambit: chessboxing, a dangerous hybrid sport which will test her body and mind to their limits. Can the pawn become the queen?
The huge Sahara Desert in West Africa is home to many groups of people. Find out more about the Tuareg people and discover what it is like to live, play and work among them. Sahara Discovery is part of the Galaxy range of books from Rising Stars Reading Planet. Galaxy provides captivating fiction and non-fiction for Pink A to White band. The rich collection of highly decodable books immerses children in a range of cross-curricular topics and genres. Reading Planet books have been carefully levelled to support children in becoming fluent and confident readers. Each book features useful notes and activities to support reading at home as well as comprehension questions to check understanding. Reading age: 6-7 years
Ali and Amira are excited to help their dad deliver a plane, but they have no idea that their journey across the Sahara desert is about to turn into a fight for survival. Sahara Survival is part of the Galaxy range of books from Rising Stars Reading Planet. Galaxy provides captivating fiction and non-fiction for Pink A to White band. The rich collection of highly decodable books immerses children in a range of cross-curricular topics and genres. Reading Planet books have been carefully levelled to support children in becoming fluent and confident readers. Each book features useful notes and activities to support reading at home as well as comprehension questions to check understanding. Reading age: 6-7 years
All aboard for the Bobo Road! Fatima and Galo load the luggage while their dad Big Ali drives the bus. Help count on bikes, sacks of rice, melons and even goats and chickens as the bus travels past Gurunsi houses, the hippo lake, waterfalls and jungle, all the way to the city of Bobo. With the authentic setting in Burkina Faso drawn from the author's own experience, this is a wonderfully fun introduction for small children to an amazing culture.
TITANIC tells the story of a young boy aboard the 'unsinkable' Titanic. This gripping first-hand account is perfect for children studying the Titanic at school. An exciting story - perfect for readers interested in history.
All aboard for the Bobo Road! Fatima and Galo load the luggage while their dad Big Ali drives the bus. Help count on bikes, sacks of rice, melons and even goats and chickens as the bus travels past Gurunsi houses, the hippo lake, waterfalls and jungle, all the way to Bobo. With the authentic setting in Burkina Faso drawn from the author's own experience, this is a wonderfully fun introduction for small children to an amazing culture.
Follow the trickery and antics of Hyena and Rabbit as they try to out-wit each other in this collection of hilarious traditional tales from West Africa. * Emerald/Band 15 books provide a widening range of genres including science fiction and biography, prompting more ways to respond to texts. * This book has been quizzed for Accelerated Reader.
Kadija is the music-loving daughter of a guardian of the sacred manuscripts of the ancient city of Timbuktu, Mali. Ali is a former shepherd boy, trained as a warrior for Allah. Tonight, the Islamist rebels are coming for Timbuktu. They will install a harsh regime of law and tear apart the peaceful world within the mud walls of the city. Television, football, radios, even music, will be banned. Kadija refuses to let go of her former life. And something in her defiance draws Ali to her. Which path will he choose?
Up the downy dunes, across the dark, wide river and up and down the steep, steep mountain, Penda lovingly carries a bowl of milk to her father in the grasslands. But will she manage to get it there without spilling a single drop? Authentic setting drawn from the author's own experience, this is a wonderfully fun introduction for small children to a completely different culture.
Old Al Haji Amadu had three wives, seven children - and five extremely naughty goggle-eyed goats that munched and gobbled and chewed whatever they could find. One day, enough was enough, they had to go! But getting rid of these troublesome goats proved to be harder than Al Haji could ever have imagined... 'One of the best new picture books of this year.' The Times
Old Al Haji Amadu had three wives, seven children - and five extremely naughty goggle-eyed goats that munched and gobbled and chewed whatever they could find. One day, enough was enough, they had to go! But getting rid of these troublesome goats proved to be harder than Al Haji could ever have imagined...
Fifteen-year-old Jake Knight is an explorer and adventurer at heart but this often gets him into trouble. When a stuffy English boarding school suspends him for rule-breaking, Jake flies out to Burkina Faso where his parents are living. He is expecting a long, adventure-filled vacation under a smiling African sun. But what awaits him there is kidnapping, terrorism and Yakuuba Sor - the most wanted outlaw in the Sahara desert.
Long ago in the ancient city of Timbuktu a student pulled off the most daring heist in African history, the theft of 100 million pounds worth of gold. The stolen treasure has remained hidden until now, when teenage hacker Danny Temple discovers a cryptic Arabic manuscript. It's a good job that Danny is a keen traceur (free runner) because he has to run across rooftops and leap from buildings to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. His nightmarish and adrenalin-charged quest leads him all the way to sub-Saharan Africa, and the mysterious cliffs of Bandiagara.
Fourteen-year-old Haroun divides his time between herding cows and working in a uranium mine. When the director of the mine is murdered, an agent of the French government appears and recruits Haroun as a spy. Haroun soon finds himself torn by divided cultural loyalties; but when he unearths a shocking nuclear conspiracy, he plunges into a deadly race against time. Perfect for teaching: multiple text forms how to build supsense different cultures.
Gidaado the Fourth and his albino camel are working for a famous General in his campaign to win the state elections. General Crepe-Sombo is everyone's hero, but Sophie reckons there is something fishy about him. She must do some dangerous spying to find out the truth. It turns out that the General is more crooked than Sophie and Gidaado could ever have imagined. They must expose him before he becomes President! In a final breathtaking scene, the children are racing across the desert sands on camelback, pursued by General Crepe-Sombo in his jeep. Who will prevail?
'Get back on the bus!' One of the policemen was walking towards them holding his pistol. Haroun flicked on his helmet-lamp and peered in through the window of the car. Claude Gerard was dead! When the Director of the Saharan uranium mine where he works is mysteriously murdered, fourteen year-old Haroun embarks on a dangerous new role as a spy in the service of the French Government. A shocking conspiracy is unearthed - somebody is trafficking 'yellowcake', a key ingredient in the production of nuclear bombs. Faced with the threat of the yellowcake falling into the hands of a rogue state, time is running out...
Sophie and Gidaado are back and this time the enemy is more dangerous than camel thief Moussa ag Litni. Locusts with their crop-devouring mandibles threaten the livelihood of the entire Oudalan Province. Gidaado is forced to become a crier announcing local news and the descriptions of missing cows. With Sophie's help, Gidaado's announcements become great hits! Who could resist Gidaado's crooning Has anybody seen my Skinny Legs?
Sophie lives in Gorom-Gorom with her carnivorous-plant obsessed dad. Despite living there for two years and speaking the local language, Sophie finds it difficult to make friends. So when she meets Gidaado, a young griot (story-teller) she agrees to join him and his albino camel, Chobbal, on a journey to his village. It is not until they have set off that Sophie begins to realise just how dangerous the desert is - it's full of djinns that creep up behind you and jump on your head and make you go mad, not to mention the infamous Moussa ag Litni, a ruthless bandit who steals camels. . .