Title: Limpopo Lullaby
Author: Jane Jolly
Illustrator: Dee Huxley
Publisher: Simply Read Books
Concepts: natural resources
Review: Josette, who was expecting her third child, lived in a small African village along the banks of the great Limpopo River. When the rain first started, she and her children welcomed the relief from the long drought, but the torrential rain continued and the banks of the river burst. Josette and her children found shelter along with other villagers in an enormous milkwood tree. They endured mosquitoes, lack of food and water, snakes, and intense anxiety for four long, miserable days until they were rescued by an air force helicopter. Incredibly, Josette even gave birth in the tree before their rescue.
Based on a true story, this compelling book approaches a difficult topic in a sensitive manner and a level appropriate for younger readers. Teachers and parents can use the book to start a conversation about not only the immediate devastation of the Limpopo River floods, but also the economic repercussions. The floods wiped out cultivated land and damaged irrigation infrastructure, which dealt a major blow to farm production. Families lost their cattle, a source of nourishment and income, and many schools and health centers were closed. Limpopo Lullaby makes an important and interesting addition to any collection of children’s books with substantive content.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children