Monday, June 29, 2009
The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird
I picked this book up at Titles when I was looking for some books that deal with Global issues that children around the world are facing.
Dani and Mamo came from very different backgrounds. Both were born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but their first 12 years were very different. When Mamo became an orphan at the age of 13, he is sold into slavery miles away from his home. After surviving months of terrible treatment, he runs home to Addis Ababa and tries to survive on the streets. Here he meets Dani, a boy who has spent an easy life with all the advantages of the wealthy. Dani's dream is to become a writer, but his father doesn't want that for him and he plans to send him away from home as punishment. Dani somehow plucks up the courage to leave and once on the streets he meets up with Mamo.
Eventually the two boys join a gang of street children and learn how they can all work together to survive.
While this story can be very harsh, it can be used to open up children's eyes to what happens around the world and how families can be formed in the strangest situations.
I would recommend that teachers read this book first to make sure it is appropriate for their class. I have used it with kids in grade 6, but with with lots of talk throughout the reading.