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I Lost My Tooth in Africa

by Penda Diakité
Illustrated by Baba Wagué Diakité

Published by Scholastic Press, 2006
32 pages
ISBN: 0-439-66226-5

Ages 4-7

Amina’s family is visiting relatives in Mali, and she’s hopeful that her loose tooth will fall out before they have to return home to Oregon. In Mali, her father explained, children who lose a tooth are given a chicken by the African tooth fairy. Amina is thrilled when she wakes up one morning and discovers a space where her tooth used to be. Later that day she finds not one chicken but two—a hen and a rooster—under a calabash gourd. Soon the hen has laid eggs, and just before Amina leaves for America the first chick hatches. “When you come back,” her uncle tells her, “your chicks will be old enough to lay eggs for you.” Marvelous details of the time Amina spends with her extended family—things they do, foods they eat--enliven this story grounded in her appealing first-person voice. Penned by teenager Penda Diakité, about her younger sister’s experiences on one of their family trips to Mali, the picture book is illustrated by Baba Wagué Diakité, the father of both girls. Using his trademark medium of hand-painted ceramic tiles, the elder Diakité’s richly hued artwork also features his trademark elements of whimsy. (MS) ©2006 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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