Storytelling World Award honour book 2014
Rainforest of Reading Award nominee, 2013
Young Nassali longs to read and write like her brother, but since her mother's death, Nassali is responsible for looking after her younger siblings and running the household. There is no time for books and learning. Then one day, she wakes up to discover that her chores have been taken care of. It is her first gift day. From that day on, once a week, her brother gives Nassali the gift of time so that she can pursue her dream of an education, just as her mother would have wanted.
Preschool-Grade 2. In a Ugandan village, Nassali fetches water, does the chores, and takes care of her sisters. What she’d like to be doing is going to school with her brother, Kojja. But since her mother’s death from AIDS, it’s Nassali’s job to run the household. Still, she tries everything she can think of to learn, from teaching herself reading to following her brother to school—an hour’s walk—just to sit outside the classroom window. Nothing gets her closer to her goal, however, until Kojja gives her the gift of time: one morning a week, he does the chores so she can practice reading and writing. The final spread shows a triumphant moment: a now-grown Nassali receiving a college acceptance letter. The gauzy artwork, reminiscent of the work of Floyd Cooper, captures busy village life, but, more often, the solitary moments, where Nassali can do no more than hug a book to her, hoping to somehow bring its knowledge inside her. The final informative spread, with photos, explains what life is like for Ugandan children trying to get an education.