Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amadi's Snowman by Katia Novet Saint-lot, illustrated by Dimitria Tokunbo

Amadi's Snowman
by Katia Novet Saint-lot, illustrated by Dimitria Tokunbo

Amadi, a young Igbo boy in Nigeria doesn't see a reason for learning how to read, so he disobeys his mother and runs off to market instead of waiting for his reading teacher to arrive. After all, he IS going to be an Igbo businessman, and they certainly have much more to do than sit around and read.

As he's walking through the market, Amadi notices an older boy he knows reading a book with an interesting picture of a snowman inside. The boy, Chima, tells Amadi about snow, something he has never even heard of, and for the rest of the day, Amadi's mind is full of questions. Maybe there's more to reading after all...

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I'm a huge proponent of literacy. Knowing how to read is not only a crucial survival skill, but LOVING to read can open your eyes to so many new people, places, and things. This is why I like Amadi's Snowman.

I'm not a fan of heavy-handed messages, and this book could have easily gone in that direction. However, Katia Novet Saint-Lot passes on the message of the importance of literacy through the eyes of a curious child. I've always heard stories of reluctant readers finding THE book that turned them onto reading, and in Amadi's case, it was a book about a snowman. Don't get me wrong...the message is still there, but I don't think it's too "preachy."

Also, by telling us the story of a boy in Nigeria, Ms. Saint-Lot is opening OUR eyes to another culture. We get a great description of the marketplace, learn a bit about business in Nigeria, and meet a boy who I think a lot of children will relate to even though he's in a different part of the world.

Dimitria Tokunbo's earth-toned illustrations with vivid splashes of color take us straight to Nigeria and draw us into its rich culture.

This book shares a critical message in an engaging and unintimidating manner and would be a good addition to any school, home, or classroom library. Teachers and homeschool parents, visit Tilbury House's website for a variety of discussion questions and resources you can use with the book.

I'm honored to be taking part of Katia Novet Saint-Lot's Global Virtual Tour. Click here to see all of the former and future stops on the tour. Tomorrow, Katia will be visiting and answering a few questions, and on Friday, we'll be talking to the illustrator, Dimitria Tokunbo.

What Other Bloggers Are Saying:

Mitali's Fire Escape:
"Novet Saint-Lot has written a universal story about the power of literacy without losing sight of the delightful particulars of one boy's life." (read more...)

5 Minutes for Books: "Amadi's Snowman is a touching reminder of how transformative books can be. " (read more...)

In the Pages: "It shows the importance of learning to read and the lifestyle of another culture. " (read more...)

Books Together Blog: "My own kids identified with Amadi, who is a very likeable character, despite the fact they've made many a snowman during winters in Michigan and Virginia. " (read more...)

Random Wonder: "...To me, Amadi's Snowman is more than just a reading-is-a-wonder send up; it’s a multicultural look at how others view the same world. " (read more...)

Scrub-A-Dub-Tub: "While the power of reading is a key theme, it is not the only one. Just as Amadi has a chance to learn about snow in places far away, kids reading this book can learn about the Ibo (African people) and Nigeria." (read more...)

Bees Knees Reads: "A reminder of how just one little book can change a persons entire life! " (read more...)

Literary Safari: "This picture book would make a good read-aloud for children who question the role of reading in their lives and could lead to some interesting group discussions . " (read more..)

My Readable Feast:
"Not only is it a beautiful book and a sweet story, but it shows the magic of reading and how it’s the key to knowing so much about the world and its wonders. " (read more...)
More information about the book:
  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers (May 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884482987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884482987
  • Source: Review copy from publisher
All images are used with permission from Tilbury House Publishers.


  1. Wonderful!! We are homeschoolers and just finished up a study of Nigeria. I'm going to hunt up this book. Thank you.

  2. Daisy...I think this would make a great supplement for your Nigeria lessons. I hope you enjoy the book!

  3. This book sounds like a great way for even an adult to learn about Nigeria. Sometimes kid's picture books can capture the spirit of a country and people that adult-oriented references can't. I use kid's picture books in my research for adult or Y/A novels. I blogged about that in The Scratching Log,


  4. Thanks for the quotes from and links to other stops on Katia's Virtual Book Tour--helps me to keep up!
    Janet from PaperTigers