Amadi’s Snowman by Katia Novel Saint-Lot, illustrated by Dimitrea Tokunbo

Congratulations to author Katia Novet Saint-Lot and illustrator Dimitrea Tokunbo on the release of Amadi’s Snowman (Tilbury House, 2008)! From the promotional copy:

“Why does Amadi’s mother insist he learn to read words when he is going to be a great businessman? Why should an Igbo man of Nigeria waste precious time on books, anyway?

“When Amadi disobeys his mother and runs off to the market instead of sticking around for a reading lesson, he encounters a much-admired older boy secretly reading at a book stall.

“Crowding himself in among the stacks of books, Amadi becomes intrigued by a storybook with pictures of a strange white creature with a carrot for a nose.

“Over the course of a typical mischievous day, unable to shake his questions about the snowman, Amadi discovers the vast world reading could open up—especially for an Igbo man of Nigeria.”

“Amadi’s Snowman is a beautiful tribute to the power of reading and one boy’s journey of self-discovery through books. Dimitrea Tokunbo’s evocative illustrations underscore the loving interchange between a mother and son. The richly hued paintings invite us to enjoy Nigeria’s many splendors and provide the perfect stage for Katia Novet Saint-Lot’s imaginative story.” —Andrea Davis Pinkney

“Katia Novet Saint-Lot has given us an important and moving glimpse into the curiosity, wonder, and knowledge a book can bring—and into the life of children in modern African cities. As Yohannes Gebregeorgis, founder of Ethiopia Reads, says, ‘Books change lives.’ How terrific to have a story that shows how and why.” —Jane Kurtz

“Amadi’s first-ever glimpse at a snowman—one depicted in the pages of a book—inspires him to transform from a resistant to an enthusiastic student of reading. Children will identify with Amadi’s initial reluctance, his mixed feelings about a new challenge, and his attempts to rationalize staying the same. Yet they also will likely be inspired, as Amadi is, by the possibilities of reading, the way it can fill one’s heart and shine a light on the unknown.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynsational Notes

Read an interview with Katia by Annette Gulati at The Writing Wild Life. Peek: “The first version had a fantasy element in it. I did, and sent the manuscript back but the postal service being totally unreliable in Nigeria, we only used the diplomatic pouch, and this was just after the Anthrax scare. Mail took weeks and weeks to reach me. By the time I replied to the editor, she had left the publishing house and I could never find her again.”