Excerpt from the presentation by Kostas Magos, at the 13th International Conference on Intercultural Education 2010

για το βιβλίο “Τρεις παλάμες όλη η γη” των εκδόσεων Πατάκη

The book describes the parallel daily reality of two girls of the same age: Anna in Greece and Chadzouavi in Ghana. Through the story, the young readers of Greece become familiarized with basic aspects of their peers’ way of life in Africa, discovering similarities and differences. The scarcity of water and the difficulties in securing it, the domicile, the family, the parents’ occupation, the educational setting and other matters concerning the life of children in the particular African country, emerge through the books texts and illustrations in a way that is natural and easy understand even for younger children. The book avoids all the usual traps mentioned earlier. In particular, “exoticism”, a common issue in books describing other cultures, is entirely absent in the present text where the description of the daily life of the different “other” is consonant with the corresponding reality. Also objective is the description of daily life regarding members of the dominant culture. There are no obvious or hidden stereotypes in the book, while the storyline fosters intercultural contact, understanding and the respect of difference, as well as support for children’s education in Africa through the relevant programs. Finally, the story offers itself for discussion on issues to do with children’s rights globally and the existing inequalities around that.

The choice of heroines is apt, as it concerns two girls both of them preschoolers, who, despite the distance separating them, share the same desires (play) the same dreams (school) the same needs (love, tenderness) the same questions (how large is the earth) the same fears. The lives of Chadzouavi and Anna are treated equally and the differences work not in the service of marginalizing difference, but as a motive for deeper contact and exchange.