When we embarked on the process of adopting from Ethiopia, I immediately began scouring the shelves of every library and bookstore for fun picture books about East Africa. There are several Ethiopian ones, and I'll share many of them in the weeks and months to come (if you can't wait, a good place to start is anything by the fabulous Jane Kurtz. Really, you can't go wrong.) But I didn't want to limit myself to just books about Sprout's birth country, so I cast a wider net and found some great titles about other nations on the Horn of Africa.
One such title is Mama Panya's Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya by Mary and Rich Chamberlin. Right from the start, you know you have a fun choice here, with its vibrant and colorful artwork that captures the look of village life. The characters are joyful and it shows, both through Julia Cairns' illustrations and through the spunky, lively text of the story itself. Mama Panya and little Adika are on their way to market to buy ingredients for pancakes. Along the way they run into a lot of friends and neighbors, and Adika just can't help inviting each and every one along for pancakes. Mama Panya is worried: will her flour stretch to make pancakes for everyone? Yet somehow "a little bit and a little bit more" becomes just enough! (Think "stone soup" and you'll get the drift.)
Mama Panya's Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin, published by Barefoot Books
Sample quote: "Mama tucked the package into her bag. 'Ai-Yi-Yi! You and I will be lucky to share half a pancake.'
'But Mama, we have a little bit and a little bit more.'"