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Fiction Ages 10-14
Pages: 176
Themes: penpals, social commitment
Publisher: Sumach Press
Pub Date: 01/04/2008
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Thirteen-year-old Georgie has a head full of dreams and an insatiable sense of adventure. Sailing around the world, climbing Mount Everest and learning Swahili are just a few of the challenges Georgie is intent on tackling. When she begins exchanging letters with her new penpal Ellie, a girl her own age who lives in a small village in Tanzania, Georgie's life takes a new turn. She soon hatches a plan to visit Ellie in Tanzania. Her friends at school think it's a great idea; all Georgie has to do is convince her parents.

Born and raised on the prairies, Lisa Joyal now lives with her family in Toronto, Ontario, and works as an Assistant Crown Attorney practising criminal law. She has travelled extensively, and greatly enjoys working with and writing for children. Swahili for Beginners is her first novel for young adults.

What If? Magazine - July 1, 2008
"[It] inspires the readers to learn more about the world beyond their front door. If this book doesn't make you want to go out there and change the world...then I don't know what will...An unforgettable read."
Canadian Children's Book News - April 1, 2008
"Swahili for Beginners is an informative story about the uncertainties, changes, dreams and hopes of adolescence; the sadness and adjustments surrounding divorce; the dangers, confusions, and grief that come with anorexia; the importance of friendship and adventure; and the resilience of families. But first and foremost, this novel sheds light on social issues prevalent all over Africa, and on the power our youth have to look beyond their own circumstances and change the lives of others, either at home or a world away."
Resource Links - February 1, 2008
"This is a wonderful book which promotes international awareness, and focuses on giving and charity. …an essential purchase for middle school libraries, and all students in grades 6 and up will enjoy this inspirational story."


Nautilus Book Award nominee  | 2008 | Short-listed
Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2008 | Commended

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