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Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale…

Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale (edition 1995)

by Mary-Joan Gerson, Carla Golembe (Illustrator)

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Title:Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale
Authors:Mary-Joan Gerson
Other authors:Carla Golembe (Illustrator)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (1995), Paperback, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, folklore, multicultural, Nigeria

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Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale by Mary-Joan Gerson



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This Nigerian folktale about how human greed forced the sky to move far away from the Earth was very enjoyable to read. This story gives young children a chance to experience a traditional tale from another culture while also instilling them with the values of humility and generosity. The one quarrel I had with this book was that it is another story about a woman whose poor judgment results in the misfortune of all. Being a feminist, I am always bothered by this theme; however, I understand that this is the story as it was told over 500 years ago, and I appreciate this traditional tale for that reason. ( )
  btbarret | Mar 16, 2017 |
Nigerian folklore this story is over 500 years old with a moral of being wasteful. The sky was close and had different flavors of food and kept the people fed but the people were so ungrateful the sky moved up to where it was never touched by hands again.
  Jenni-butner | Feb 18, 2017 |
I enjoyed Why the Sky is Far Away for three reasons. First, this traditional Nigerien Folktale contained an interesting story with a succinct plot. The author spent the perfect amount of time describing the earth when the sky was close, then describing greedy human behavior, and finally describing the consequences of that behavior. Because the author's plot was tightly knit, the reader never grew bored with the story.

Second, the illustrator decided to use traditional Nigerian art styles. In fact, this book won the New York Times' best illustrated children's book award. The pictures are primarily made from a gouache background with an ink overlay. Furthermore, the illustrator chose to use bright, unmixed colors. This style helped give the feeling that the dyes for the gauche were handmade.

Third and finally, I really enjoyed the "big picture" of this book. Essentially, the author attempted to retell the 500 year old myth of the Bini people. The story warns readers to take care of the environment. There are consequences for when people waste the gifts of the Earth. ( )
  ElanaRubinstein | Apr 4, 2016 |
“Why the Sky is Far Away,” shares a meaningful message and pushes the reader to think about important issues. This book is a tale about a village that could literally break and eat pieces of the sky. In this picture book the sky is able to speak and express emotions. The members of this village were greedy and took advantage of their fortunes but the sky told the villagers that if it saw another piece of food wasted it would move away forever. However, the sky was wasted once more when one woman was too full to eat what she had taken from the sky. Consequently the sky did leave after telling the villages, “You must learn how to plow the land and gather crops and hunt in the forests.”. The reader is able to look at this story in many perspectives. One of those being that when one works hard for their possessions they learn to respect them more. Another perspective is summed up by a quote from this book, “The future of nature and its gifts rest in our own hands.” Which means that people are responsible for using the resources of the Earth wisely.” ( )
  nlinco1 | Apr 13, 2015 |
This book was magnificent. This book of traditional literature was very appealing to me for two reasons.
First, the illustrations were spectacular. The colors used are so bright and vivid, like when the Oba's servants are prepping the sky for decorations. The colors on the page contrast so well.
Second, I really liked the characters. The woman who is never satisfied is such a great way to describe humanity. The symbolism in this story is told very well through the characters, and I enjoyed that very much.
The main idea of this book is to always respect the Earth and to never take more than you need. Otherwise, it could come back around to bite you in the rear. ( )
  lmalak1 | May 16, 2014 |
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The sky was once so close to the Earth that people cut parts of it to eat, but their waste and greed caused the sky to move far away.

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