Large, full-color photographs accompany the true story of one man’s efforts to bring together people of three religions by helping them create a Fair Trade–certified coffee-selling cooperative.
“As the sun sets in eastern Uganda, the blazing heat fades and a cool wind settles in the valley.” This opening, which continues with information about work and play in the “small, dusty village of Namanyonyi,” sits beneath a photo showing children playing soccer (called futbol in the text) in the twilight. Opposite this, there is a map that shows the route of coffee beans from Namanyonyi to the port of Mombasa. After a few more pages about contemporary life in rural Namanyonyi, the text backtracks to tell how all three Abrahamic religions arrived in the area. Next, the musician J.J. Keki is introduced, along with his inspiration for starting the cooperative: both his near miss from being victimized by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, on a visit to the United States from his native Uganda, and the tolerant children of Namanyonyi. The text discusses the coffee cooperative’s history, looks at Fair Trade, and contains a basic primer on the art of coffee farming. Sobol’s text is accessible and graceful, and the numerous, captivating photographs take readers to Namanyonyi, its places of worship, and the coffee plantation. Work, faith, and joy are equally celebrated. The tone of the book is hopeful and inspiring.
A welcome addition to children’s nonfiction from a master photojournalist. (author’s note, glossary, sources) (Nonfiction. 7-12)