I come downstairs in the morning, my little boy on my hip. He still wakes so very early and so we tiptoe around, careful not to wake his big sister. We reach the bottom step and turn the corner and the room glows with soft light from a lamp we have set on a timer. It turns itself off about a half hour after we go to bed each night and comes back on just before we descend the stairs in the morning. We haven’t had the timer for all that long and it still makes me happy. The soft glow of light is a much better welcome to the day than complete darkness.
Such a simple thing, really, light in the morning, to bring me happiness. Or maybe not.
It’s 2014 and if I don’t think too hard about it, I start assuming that everyone in the world could start their mornings just like this if they wanted. Welcomed by a soft glow. It’s 2014 and if I don’t think too hard about it, I forget that there are places that electricity doesn’t reach. There are places that begin and end their days in darkness and people who risk illness and injury to get a little light.
The solar tuki project in Nepal aims to replace kerosene lamps—or tukis—with solar powered ones in Nepalese villages with no access to electricity. And it was the inspiration for Barefoot Books’ recent title: Chandra’s Magic Light.
As with every Barefoot Books story, there is a message in this one, a window into another culture, something to learn, and a way in for my girl. The story follows two little girls who come across a man selling solar tukis in the market. They decide they must buy one for their home because their baby brother has been suffering from a cough brought on by soot residue from their kerosene lamp.The girls pick and sell flowers and barter with the tuki seller to change the way their family lights up their evenings.The story of a sister helping a brother immediately drew my girl in and we learned about Nepal, the culture and routines, and the solar tuki project along the way.
I love the way Barefoot Books stories introduce us to something new. I love the way new worlds and images and words are introduced into my children’s spheres as we flip the pages. We aim to teach them about the world. Help them learn that not everyone lives as they do. Expose them to other languages and names that aren’t a part of their everyday lives. We dream about doing this through travel. Hopping on planes to far away lands so that they feel just how big and wild the world really is. But, until then, we read. We read about India, France, and Australia. We read about Diwali and Ramadan. We read about Tehran and Nepal.
My Barefoot Books partner and I are giving away one copy of Chandra’s Magic Light to a Raising Humans reader! If you love to bring other worlds and cultures into your home through books and stories, then enter the giveaway below and good luck!