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I Lost My Tooth in Africa

Last updated Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Author: Penda Diakite
Illustrator: Baba Wague Diakite
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0439662265
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2010

Synopsis: Kindergarten-Grade 4–This story recounts a child's visit to Mali, where she loses her tooth. After she hides it under a calabash, she waits for the African Tooth Fairy to replace it with a chicken. When her patience runs out and she returns to the gourd to retrieve her tooth, a chicken and a rooster emerge. She is delighted. The strength and enduring warmth of her African extended family emerge fully through thoughtful detail. Grandma N'na gives her a blessing each morning: May you rise high with strength and knowledge. When the child returns home to Oregon, Uncle Madou volunteers to take care of the chickens until her return. The vivid ceramic-tile illustrations expand the text, revealing a range of animals, houses, and greenery. At the end are the words to Grandma's Good Night Song, the recipe for African Onion Sauce, and a glossary of Bambara words, all of which add to the authentic feel of the story. In his illustrator's note, Baba Diakité states, Storytelling is a gift to me from my elders and I simply wanted to pass this gift along to my children. He has succeeded, as his artistry supports his daughter's storytelling beautifully.–Alexa L. Sandman, Kent State University, OH

Note to readers:
•  check out the Glossary in the back of the book ahead of time

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where were you when you lost your first tooth?
•  What do you know about Africa? DURING:
•  Where is Oregon? Where is Mali? (use map in classroom to locate)
•  What’s the longest trip you’ve ever taken?
•  Have you ever flown in an airplane?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What would you like the tooth fairy to bring? A chicken?
•  VOCAB: Benedictions

Craft ideas:
•  Make a paper envelope to put your next tooth in.
•  Draw a picture of yourself with a missing tooth and draw a frame of chickens/veggies around the border.
•  Make a rooster or chicken. Cut out black/white feathers & paste onto white/black drawing or cut-out of a rooster or a chicken.

Special activities:
•  Do the chicken dance.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!