The DFF Book Club

A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray

A Country Far Away is a fantastic way of properly introducing a West African culture to your children. This book is a wonderful addition to anyone’s library — especially if you’re fond of a certain “country far away”. It contrasts the lives of two young boys, detailing their family responsibilities, medical facilities, recreational activities, school and shopping habits.

Philippe Dupasquier has the knack of illustrating in a realistic and still friendly way. The story-line is very simple, allowing the illustrations to speak to the reader. The author Nigel Gray (now living in Australia) is married to a Sudanese woman, and this is sure to have influenced his writing. Have a look.

A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray
The classrooms are contrasted in a very realistic fashion.

A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray
The classic family portrait showcases the differences in dress and living situation.

A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray
The story ends with each boy looking at a book that shows pictures from "a country far away".

It’s a great book for educational purposes, and in Australia has been used in the classroom for teaching English, social studies and geography at the fourth grade level. For homeschoolers, I’ve seen an official unit study composed around this book.

Aisha loves this book and thought that New Zealand was going to be like the African country portrayed in it (because we were catching a plane to “a country far away”). She was very surprised when she didn’t see all the brown people she was expecting!

I can’t find an online-based distributor in Australia, but A Country Far Away is available from Amazon.