Reviews: Dust and Rain

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Photo of book cover of The Tin Heart Gold Mine

Absolutely brilliant on so many levels

Review by Charles Getliffe, France, 13 June 2022

WARNING: If you read the first page of this book you will be hooked. I did just that and then ended up reading the book from cover to cover in one day. The writing is so good that it effortlessly draws you on to read the next chapter.

The target audience is young readers and it will definitely make them think about what is happening to our planet today. Powerful stuff and an important message which is presented in such an engaging way that it will hold the attention of all children. It’s an important book which every teacher should build into their curriculum when teaching children about the environment. Be prepared for the questions.

Absolutely brilliant on so many levels.

A stupendous odyssey

Review by Verona Mwelwa Chilonge Mwansa, Zambia, 17 June 2022

It is supposed to be a children's book but is equally important that adults read it too. I read it twice. First for leisure then next to get the deeper meaning. A stupendous tale of the brave and determined brother and sister with belief in their quest to save the land. The author's voice is in a key to drive home the importance of caring for the environment. The facts are woven in a colourful tapestry of magic and adventure with talking animals birds and insects and mythical creatures who tell us their role in crystal clear language of their role in the environment. I learned unique facts I didn't know.

With clear-eyed concise vision, Ruth nails her characters and settings with precision, drawing the reader into a vividly rendered apocalyptic vision of a drought-ravaged land. Every character and animal Chipo and Chibwe meet is pivotal to the whole narrative. There is the greedy politician and his nefarious foreign businessman friend, conniving to open a destructive mine in the game park, the woman child trafficker, the environmentalists, the social worker, and the charcoal-burner. The children learn about trust and betrayal.

On the children's journey back home the author took me down a trip on the mighty Zambezi from the source, past the flood plains of Western Province, flying over the Victoria falls hoisted by pelicans in a fishing net, meeting the ancestors deep in lake Kariba and hearing the voice of Nyami Nyami the lake God, to the confluence of Luangwa and Zambezi and to their home in the valley to slay the evil drought witch, Kambili, with a drop of magical water from the source of the great river in the green forest of North Western Province. I see the thunderheads building and the rain falling on the parched earth.

I recommend this book as a school reader and textbook. Our children need it to understand the balance of nature. The story sends a clear and strong message to us to care for our environment and wildlife. It matters. I could say a lot more but then I'd end up writing a novel reviewing this amazing magical book. Ruth Hartley, you made a powerful point. A stupendous odyssey.

A book you just have to have

Review by Sikela Namangolwa, WECSZ Lusaka Branch Education Officer, Zambia, 8 July 2022

Dust and Rain is an intriguing story that successfully breaks down the complexities of Climate Change science into a simplified or much easy-to-understand style.

Chibwe and Chipo’s adventures makes the story so perfectly adapted to the African context making it both an educative and exciting read; for all age groups.

Delve deeper into learning about climate change and take appropriate actions towards saving your green valleys. This is a book you just have to have.

Timely and important

Review by Anne Barlow, Tasque, France, 19 June 2022

This is an interweaving of African traditional wisdom with an exploration of the modern environmental catastrophe menacing the planet, in a sort of fairy-tale format. The story, specially edited to be accessible to younger readers, carries one along to the final happy outcome, with the application of the lessons learned from the Wise Woman in the Green Forest — a story with meaning for both adults and children facing the grim future caused by centuries of abuse of the natural world.

A timely and homely reminder of what's coming down the track unless we wake up . . .

First published on, 19 June 2022

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