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The Sleeping Baobab Tree Paperback – 2 May 2013
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The narration is gripping * Inis * Leyden is a born storyteller. * The Irish Times * A beautifully written book that will hold readers' attention until the very end * Recommended Reads 2013 * Set in Zambia, this is an atmospheric and thought- provoking story in which ancient and modern worlds collide. -- Robert Dunbar * Irish Times * A mind-opening novel . . . a wonderfully sustained piece of comic writing in a novel that nevertheless engages with serious contemporary themes * Irish Times *
About the Author
Paula Leyden was born in Kenya and spent her childhood in South Africa and Zambia before attending boarding school in England for a number of years. As an adult she went on to live and work in South Africa, first as a teacher and then for a human rights organization, during which time she campaigned tirelessly for the end of apartheid and the death penalty in South Africa. The Sleeping Baobab Tree is the sequel to Paula's first novel, the award-winning The Butterfly Heart (9781406327922). In 2003 she moved to a farm in Kilkenny, Ireland with her family, where she now breeds horses and is a member of the Crab Apples Writers' Group.
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This is only the second book by Paula Leyden and is a punchy and beautiful story worthy of a well seasoned writer. Leyden won the prestigious Eilis Dillon Award for her debut, The Butterfly Heart. Despite The Sleeping Baobab Tree being set in a country that I know little about - this story was relatable. We have twins who see the reality of illness thorough their medical parents, and Fred; who is destined to be a tribe leader, even with a name like Fred!
The twins decide that they will help their best friend, Fred, when he is asked to go and beat The Man Beast with his cranky witch great grandmother. This is a duel plot, we're treated to the children's story of the journey to The Sleeping Baobab Tree and the missing aunt story line.
Each of the three characters were used for POV and I loved how Bul-Boo was into science and kept a notebook. Her twin, Madillo believes in magic and spells. The sisters are so different.
I loved the character of Sister Leonisa so much that I'd love a book all about her and her classroom! Leyden did a fantastic job of forecasting with this character.
This is a book that adults would love, it's well written and paints an intriguing picture of Zambia. All ages will love The Sleeping Baobab Tree for its powerful story telling.
Thank you to Walker Press for the review copy, another treasure to be added to my library.