On Friday, I received my author copies of two short story collections I wrote with two other Batswana writers, Wame Molefhe and Bontekanye Botumile. I'm so pleased with the books I can't stop looking at them. They look so jolly and inviting. I'm so proud my name is on the cover. (the third one will be coming out next year)
In 2008, we three women writers set out to write short story collections for upper primary school. We agreed we would do three; for standards 5,6, and 7. We had a fanatically short amount of time, I think it was about three months. I was lucky as I had quite a few stories already written. We started writing and submitting stories to each other. We critiqued and edited and finally decided which stories we could use and in which books they would go. It was a stressful process for all of us. We submitted the books to Pentagon Publishers and they were then submitted to the Ministry of Education. To our surprise and delight -all three were selected as prescribed books.
What I love most about these books is that each of us are very different writers so there is quite a wide selection of stories for children to choose from. Bonty has made her mark re-telling traditional tales and in these books she writes many of her stories about mythical snakes that live in Setswana folklore such as the scary Kgogela,the Hypnotist. Wame writes of modern problems kids face and how they find their ways through. Her story Another Mother, for example, is about the problematic situation of a young girl's father marrying again after the girl's mother dies. I often am inclined toward the silly, as in my story about the magical TV that allows you to reach in and get what you see on the screen ( The Problem With That TV), or the occasional social message as in my story My Friend, Jackson about the friendship between a Mongwato boy and a Mosarwa boy.
We often hear in Botswana, that Batswana are not readers. I love thinking that maybe somehow, somewhere a story in one of these books will ignite the love of reading in a few young hearts. How lovely that would be.