Encouraging kids in Zambia to read with The Lubuto Library Partners

Encouraging kids in Zambia to read with The Lubuto Library Partners

Thanks to my friend and retired librarian, Betty Story, my books will now be read by kids in Zambia through the wonderful Lubuto Library Partners (www.lubuto.org). I hope that my stories will encourage kids to follow their dreams, and know that with determination and hard work anything is possible. Thanks Betty and the Lubuto Library Partners.

Message from Lubuto’s President to Cristina Kessler

Dear Cristina,

Thank you for your generous contribution to the e orts of Lubuto Library Partners. With Lubuto your support is more than a single project or a quick fix: you are building a whole world of opportunity and imagination for each of the children-especially the most vulnerable-who we reach every day in Zambia.

We are grateful for your recent donation of My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd, and we also appreciate that you took the time to sign all 24 books donated by Betty Story. The children of Lubuto libraries will greatly appreciate the personalized messages. The books will all be cataloged and used at our libraries in Zambia.

It was truly a pleasure to meet you when you were visiting Washington, D.C -and to learn more about your background and what informed your wonderful books. All of the donated books will make great additions to our libraries. Their messages-particularly those pertaining to empowering girls-are universal, and will thus provide compelling stories to children and youth at our libraries in Zambia.

Our broad approach has made Lubuto a model of what public libraries can contribute to African countries. As one visitor observed, Lubuto libraries are “expanding a world view, giving children a space to imagine, to be themselves, to explore worlds not seen before.” Your donated and inscribed books will directly transform lives; ignite imaginations and build a brighter Africa.

Jane Kinney Meyers


Cristina Kessler’s My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd on A Season’s Griot 2013 WHQR Storytelling by Joyce Grear

Cristina Kessler’s My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd on A Season’s Griot 2013 WHQR Storytelling by Joyce Grear

I am very proud and honored that My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd was featured on A Season’s Griot, a one-hour storytelling show honoring the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa, focusing on the theme of families, fatherhood and community, and aired on WHQR 91.3 FM. Thank you Madafo Lloyd Wilson for choosing my book, and thank you Joyce Grear for a beautiful reading.

Excerpt from the article “Only Kwanzaa public radio program in the U.S. continues its tradition after 20 years” by Amanda Greene on December 26, 2013:

It was mid-October, but the two storytellers were planning for Kwanzaa in late December.

Wilmington storyteller Joyce Grear (http://joycegrear.com/) and Madafo Lloyd Wilson (http://www.madafo.com/), longtime storyteller and host of “A Season’s Griot,” (http://whqr.org/post/seasons-griot-2013) were dickering over which story she should read this year. They sat in the wide, barren conference room between radio studios at WHQR Public Radio where “A Season’s Griot” has been produced for more than two decades as the only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa radio show in the country.

Storytellers Madafo Lloyd Wilson and Joyce Grear prepare to record a story for “A Season’s Griot,” a Kwanzaa program on Public Radio International.

Photo by: Amanda Greene

One was a Japanese tale; the other was a version of an Aesop’s fable about the baobab tree. The baobab tree won.

“Ahh, this is great,” Wilson said after finishing his reading, tapping the book with his finger. “This is the story.”

“How did you come to that,” Grear asked.

“The tree, the image of the tree, the little girl helping the elder,” he said. “This is what the show’s about.”

This year’s one-hour storytelling show honoring the African-American holiday Kwanzaa features the theme of fatherhood and airs on WHQR 91.3 FM at noon Thursday (Dec. 26) on the first day of Kwanzaa and will re-air at 7 p.m. Dec. 29 on WHQR. Kwanzaa is celebrated from Thursday (Dec. 26)- Jan. 1.

– See more at: http://wilmingtonfavs.com/2013/12/26/kwanzaa-public-radio-program-u-s-continues-tradition-20-years/#sthash.PgRky8vW.dpuf

Creative Writing Competition 2011

Creative Writing Competition 2011

For this year’s competition, CONCERN asked their writers to imagine themselves as a journalist, stationed in a developing country, writing for an internationally renowned newspaper. Their editor asked them to write a 1,000 word article on one of the following topics:

  • Living on less than $2 a day in the developing world
  • Imagining the future of a child born today in the developing world
  • Important lessons we can learn from the developing world

Cristina Kessler, Virgin Islands, was a 3rd Place Winner in the Adult category!


Important lessons we can learn from the Developing World

Cristina Kessler
Virgin Islands

Zooming across the Sahara desert, I watched the endless desert sands of the Sudan roll away. Suddenly unexpected lines of women carrying heavy, swaying water containers on their heads would appear. They strutted in the heat and the dust of the open desert plains, many with a baby on their back. And all of them laughing or singing. It was humbling.

These women were the living example of “Making the best of a di icult situation”. Even in the harshest of conditions, with no transportation choices or options, and endless hard work, they laughed or sang or joked their way through the day, living a true community-based existence.

Life as a rural African woman is beyond di icult. We spent 19 years in Africa, with Peace Corps and an NGO. We went to places not on roads or maps, where every day is a struggle. Where the women keep the villages going, through their hard work and dedication to family.