How often do we take time to observe the little details in life? In “Zandi Finds Ubuntu”, the main character, Zandi, spends the day on the savanna with her cattle. She observes the way insects and animals work together in harmony to protect and nurture each other. She witnesses the perseverance and hard work of the animals as they provide food for their families. Zandi discovers how character traits exhibited by animals are similar to those seen in people.
“Ubuntu is what makes us human beings,” said co-author Tererai Trent. “We wanted to create a story that would provide examples of how friendship, love, hard-work, loyalty, trustworthiness, and determination work together to achieve “Ubuntu”, or the meaning of life and happiness.”
The story comes from the real life experiences of co-author Trent who grew up in Zimbabwe. Like Zandi, she observed how the animals live in harmony with each other and how that translates to the ways in which we can live with our fellow humans. Lori Grainger, co-author and elementary school teacher, worked with Trent to create a story which would resonate with young children.
“We wanted to provide a simple, yet poignant story that shows the positive way people can live in harmony,” said co-author Lori Grainger. “Tererai introduced African terms into the story to provide authenticity and to help children relate. When I have read the book to groups of children, they enjoy the opportunity to figure out the meaning of some of the terms and to guess which animal or insect demonstrates different character traits.”
The illustrations of Diane Lucas add to the overall beauty of the book. Zandi’s adventures come to life with the vibrant colors of each page. Young readers will enjoy the opportunity to seek out each animal and insect mentioned.
I love this book. The story is such a positive look at so many important character traits. It also teaches readers the importance of taking the time to observe the smallest insect for in that examination we can learn so very much about what it means to be a positive person.
In the words of the authors: “May all the children of the world find “Ubuntu”. It is only then that we can all achieve true happiness in life.” Trent and Grainger are currently working on a sequel in which Zandi will learn lessons in friendship, sharing and kindness.
About Tererai Trent
Rooted in humble beginnings, Tererai grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe and against all odds achieved her dreams of attaining a PhD in America. Today, she continues to fulfill her sacred purpose by serving her community through Tererai Trent International, an organization which provides universal access to quality education while empowering rural communities. Hailed by Oprah Winfrey as her “All-time Favorite Guest” Tererai is also an internationally acclaimed voice for education and women’s empowerment. Her favorite motto is “Tinogona,” meaning, “It is achievable!”
About Lori Grainger
Lori Grainger is an award-winning elementary school teacher from Salinas, California. An educator for more than 20 years, she thoroughly enjoys starting every school day by reading a picture book to her young students. She has three, beautiful adult children and lives with her husband, Joe, and their dog, Chuck. This is her first children’s book.