Lost Girl Found Wins USBBY Outstanding International Book Award

Beginning in 2006 USBBY has selected an honor list of international books for young people. The United States Board of Book for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Books List is published each year in the February issue of School Library Journal.

The Outstanding International Books (OIB) committee is charged with selecting international books that are deemed most outstanding of those published during the calendar year. For the purposes of this honor list, the term “international book” is used to describe a book published or distributed in the United States that originated or was first published in a country other than the U.S.

Lost Girl Found written by Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca (Kenya 1987-89) won for Grades 6-8.lost-girl-found

In a review written by Anne Waliaula, from the University of Wisconsin, and published in the African Access Review on November 26, 2014, the reviewer wrote in part about this novel:

The author describes in detail  what life was like in southern Sudan during the war and its aftermath. Unfortunately, her examples do not provide a balanced view.

Sudan in particular and Africa in general come across as an unending war zone.

The first three chapters of the book are filled with stereotypes. Parents heavily cane their children. Some marry their young daughters off to old men.

Polygamous husbands beat their wives. Women are subservient to men. Crocodiles carry off people and the local river is called “Disease Soup.” Not recommended.

On our website, in May, Alana DeJoseph (Mali 199294) wrote (in part) the following review:

The book Lost Girl Found begins with a scene of two southern Sudanese girls, Poni and her friend Nadai, eating mangos. It is the time before the second Sudanese Civil War has reached the town of Chukudum in what is now the country of South Sudan.

Alana DeJoseph

Alana DeJoseph

Although Lost Girl Found is essentially directed at the young adult reader, I, who am a bit past what I might define as a “young adult,” found myself riveted to Poni’s story.

Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca capture brilliantly Poni’s voice as she matures from an innocent child to a strong, tenacious young woman. The story left me wanting for a sequel in which Poni grows into a more three-dimensional understanding of her new home. Through Poni’s experiences we gain a deeper understanding of the forces at work in a country struggling with inner strife, yet so full of rich history and culture .

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