The Lucky One
written by Deborah Cowley, photographs by Kathy Knowles
(Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2008)
IBBY Selection of Oustanding Books for Children with Disabilities
Ten-year-old Masawoud from Ghana is ‘the lucky one’ because that’s what his name means in English. His smile radiates from the book as he tells his story – taking readers first to his school, and then to the library he loves to go to after his lessons. A photo shows him holding up his favourite book – Sosu’s Call, a real book by Ghana’s leading author/illustrator Meshack Asare. And why is it Masawoud’s favourite book? Because it’s ‘about a boy who can’t walk’ – and only now do we learn that Masawoud too ‘was just like Sosu. I too, could not walk.’
Masawoud then takes us back through his story of being born with ‘crooked legs and feet’ and the operation that made it possible for him to walk and of the people who helped him. His resilience is clear as he alludes to the pain of people making fun of him or the times when his physiotherapy was tough. There is no self-pity, though noone would blame him if there were; and all the way through, the photographs are testament to the amazing character of this young boy.
One of the series of small, photographic non-fiction books created by Deborah Cowley and Kathy Knowles, founder of the Osu Children’s Library Fund, the narrative is beautifully crafted, simply and informatively told so that young readers will absorb the essence of the story and feel they have found a friend in Masawoud. The role of OCLF is also central and the book is a good resource for demonstrating the positive impact of on-the-ground charity work.
The Lucky One is a very special book, both for the children who use the OCLF’s libraries and for children across the world and, with its first-person narrative and vibrant photographs, it is sure to leave a deep impression.
But now for the bad news… The Lucky One is currently out of print and second-hand copies are rare. If you are lucky enough to have this book in your library, do promote it and please don’t get rid of it in a culling sweep just because it is eight years old – it is as hugely valuable and relevant today as ever it was.