Vi fick detta brev från en brittisk språklärare som skrivit boken Morris Mouse som vi arbetat med på Zigge House. Författaren Anette Islei, har lovat att hälsa på oss och komma med feedback, kanske skriva en ny berättelse med SponsorLight-barnen som medförfattare. Vi kommer via detta att bli en del av en rörelse som vill öka läslusten och bokintresset i Uganda.

Friends of Morris Mouse – Newsletter 2: Morris in Action!
Hello to all of you with an interest in children reading and writing!

The person who has inspired me to write again so soon after ‘Morris on his Travels’ is Moa Ulander of the NGO SponsorLight based in a village near Kasese, Uganda. Moa contacted me in December as she wanted to buy 50 copies of Morris, one for each child in the SponsorLight project, so they could take a book home for Christmas.

Then she had a second thought, and decided to wait, and introduce the children to Morris when they came back in January to the NGO’s activity centre, called their Zigge House. There the children take part in activities during their holidays and at weekends.
Moa sent me some amazing pictures and even a couple of videos of how she organised two half days devoted to Morris Mouse. She calls this approach ‘be-friending’ a book.

This is the art and craft group – and I can see the empty box of tea, Morris’s blue bag, a school building, and many other intriguing items. How did she get a group of 30 children aged between 3 and 17 years old so engaged?

Moa’s sent me a brief account: first she showed the book to the children as a whole group, and read it to them so that even the little ones understood. They discussed if Morris will become a school-mouse. “Most of them doubted. One girl said that if he works hard and prays hard he will be a school Mouse, even if he is a Mouse and not a boy. Another one said mice do not commonly go to school and are more interested in running.” [And children?!]

Then Moa knew they were ready for the next step. She offered five groups: drama, wall painting, continue the story, poem, art project. Each child chose which group to join. She comments:
“They really looked deep into the book in different aspects. One group made a model of Morris’s house, I really like that they did it like in the book, inside and outside at the same time. I also made a small book with the youngest two kids; they did most drawings and told in local language what the story was and older children translated. All of them took the book home to read for parents, sisters, brothers and grandmothers.”

Older students created a play, poem and a story of Morris getting into trouble as he plays netball and it flies over and straight into the neighbour’s …. But I’m not going to give the story away here! I’ll be going over to Kasese in March and see if we can really do what I’ve put in the book – produce some new stories of Morris Mouse together.

This book from the little ones is just beautiful!

One thing I have to remove from a re-print is putting ‘Top Class’ on the back. It should just be ‘Nursery’. My 2nd grandson is just 5 months old, and already enjoying trying to turn the pages of his bed-time story. If there’s one sign of ‘a reading culture’, I think that’s it – reading on the grand/parents or siblings lap.

Thanks so much, Moa, for letting Morris help bridge the gap between home and school! And so many thanks to your students for producing such inspiring work. Sponsorlight’s Facebook page: look for posts of 19th and 20th January for more pictures.

Annette Islei