Susanne Smajic

Marie now wears cornrows:
From Europe to Africa and back

Sylvia Schopf (Text)
Susanne Smajic (Illustrationen)
Wien: Betz, 2006
ISBN 3-219-11245-5

This children's book contains two stories in one. Marie, whose mother comes from Burkina Faso, visits her native country and gets to know a completely new world. Then one turns the picture book around and sees how Marie's cousin Issa with his mother and little sister Assia travel to Germany to visit Marie and her parents. He also has totally new experiences in Europe.

Already on the trip from the airport into town, Marie sees many new things. But things really become exciting at "Granny Africa's" in the village. The houses have pointy straw roofs and there is no water from a tap. Aunty Fatou has to fetch water from the fountain. A ghost is said to live behind the giant Baobab tree. But there is only an old man who gives Marie a Kauri shell necklace to ward off evil spirits. Not everything is thrilling and exciting though; sometimes Marie feels lonely and not at home and cries. But before she returns to Germany, everyone takes part in a big feast and Marie's hair is braided into real African cornrows.

Issa on the other hand is already fascinated with the escalator at the airport. At the children's birthday party at the zoo he feels like a stranger and runs away in the city, astonished at all the shops with their glass doors that open on their own. Suddenly, Issa notices that he is lost. It is cold too. Fortunately, the friendly neighbour, Mrs Berger, appears and takes him back to the zoo. In the meantime the children have learnt some French and can greet Issa. A farewell party is held in the garden and Issa is given a football.

Sylvia Schopf: Marie hat jetzt Stachelzöpfe
Von Europa nach Afrika und zurück
(Marie now wears cornrows:
From Europe to Africa and back)

A large picture in the middle of the book shows two children lying on a round patch of grass that symbolizes the world: a boy with his head towards Europe and a girl with her head towards Africa – two regions in the world that complement one another.More ...