Gizo-Gizo! was awarded Best Book for young people in the 25th Children’s Africana Book Awards. In Hausa culture, you always begin telling a story in the same way: The storyteller says, “Ga ta nan ga ta nanku!” “I am about to begin!” And the children respond, “Tazo Mujita!” “We are all ears!” Using story as the primary learning, teaching and engagement tool, the Zongo Story Project strives to elevate proficiencies in oral, written, and visual forms of literacy; promote the knowledge building of local history, local culture and local contemporary concerns; and lay the crucial foundation for the acquisition of vital twenty-first century critical thinking skills. The conceptual framework for this project originated out of a larger, community-based initiative called the Zongo Water Project, whose mission is to use water as a way to improve the quality of life for the Zongo. Working closely with local teachers, Emily Williamson carried out a series of educational workshops at the Hassaniyya Quranic School in the summers of 2012, 2013, and 2014 to teach students about local water and environmental concerns. Employing the story as the foundational element, Emily engaged students in dialogue, shared readings, performances, writing exercises, and visual art, culminating in community drama performances and original folktales. The illustrations and text of this book grew directly out of the work produced in these workshops.
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