From The Lands of the NightAuthor Tololwa Mollel Illustrated by Darrell McCalla ISBN 9780889955813 Binding Trade Paper Publisher Red Deer Press Inc Publication Date March 20, 2020 Size 191 x 248 mm
In this story, the young girl Ra-Eli watches as her family agonizes over the illness of her baby brother Samson. When they approach a healer, the answer comes:
- "Hold a ceremony to honor your ancestors and ask them to help, a joyful ceremony filled with guests."
"Joyful?" my mother said. "How can we be joyful at a time like this?"
"A joyful ceremony it must be," replied the healer. "Nothing less will bring the ancestors from their lands of the night. Let's seek joy in hope."
And there follows one of those magical sequences that are found in the traditional tales of East Africa, where Tololwa comes from. First, neighbours and friends come to the event — then angels and finally Mola — God. Music and dancing ensue, and when the exhausted Ra-Eli wakes, Mola hands the now recovered baby to his joyful mother.
This story is a true testament to the power of ceremony and music and the honouring of ancestors who come, from the lands of the night.
Is a children's author, dramatist and storyteller. He grew up in Arusha Tanzania at the times when oral tradition was still alive and well. Tololwa has written over sixteen books using traditional folklore as their basis. He has worked as an actor and university theatre instructor in Tanzania and Canada, and as a writer-in-residence for the Edmonton Public Library. His books include award-winning titles such as Orphan Boy, Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper!, Big Boy, and My Rows and Piles of Coins. His books have been translated into various South African languages and into Korean. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
Graphic designer and artist, grew up in Jamaica, resulting in his use of a vibrant Caribbean-influenced palette of colours.
A past graduate of the Leeds College of Art, Yorkshire, England, McCalla works in acrylics and watercolours and now calls Mississauga, Ontario home.
His works can be found in private collections throughout Canada, USA and Jamaica.
"A new picture book from Tololwa M. Mollel is always cause for celebration. Though illustrators may change, the text will always be powerful and inspired and immersed in his African heritage. From Lands of the Night is no different, depicting the joy of community and tradition, culture and history. Though the story may reflect Tololwa M. Mollel's African (Tanzanian) heritage, the colours and vibrancy of Darrell McCalla's illustrations definitely have a warm Caribbean flavour. As such, From Lands of the Night may be more universal than initially thought, reflecting the similarity of stories told across regions."
— CanLit for Little Canadians
"From Lands of the Night, a book that celebrates people and their sense of community, regardless of where they may reside, is recommended for elementary school and public library collections. . . The illustrations by Darrell McCalla are definitely effective.
— CM Magazine
"The kindness of ancestors and angels restores a helpless infant to health in this gentle story, beautifully illustrated with vibrant colors and vivid depictions of traditional African garments and customs."
— Midwest Book Review