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Little scribes with big stories: Tanzania’s Soma Book Cafe introduces its youngest authors

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Kalamu Ndogo (Little Scribes) is a new book series written by children for children under the auspices of the Soma Book Café Watoto na Vitabu (Children and Books) storytelling hub and Saturday children’s programme. This is a space for children between the ages of six and 13 to hone their reading and storytelling skills. The series is a product of experimental work on how to facilitate children to research and write original stories inspired by Tanzanian storytelling traditions. These stories are also informed by how the children experience contemporary realities and their aspirations beyond the here and now.

There are three stories in the Kalamu Ndogo series, thus far. They are The Lonely Frog, by 13-year old Nakiete Mlaki, in English and in Ki-Swahili; The Poor Lady, by eight-year old Larry Semiono, in English; and Mbuguma na Nasiru by 13-year old Sharifa Y. Shemputa in Ki-Swahili. The first two were illustrated and designed by Marco Tibasima and the third was illustrated by Khalid Yusuf and designed by Eva Gervas. Illustrations were developed in consultation with the authors. All are available online as PDFs with a CC BY licence, which means reusers are allowed to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as the copyright holders are credited.

 

Teacher explaining impact of Kalamu Ndogo on school perceptions of the children

Watch the short video about Kalamu Ndogo in Ki-Swahili with English subtitles.

Visit the Soma website for more information about the Kalamu Ndogo project.

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