Kabuika Kamunga (MUM Grad 2013) has just published her first children’s book:

i-used-to-be-afraid-of-animals I Used to Be Afraid of Animals, with radiantly colored illustrations by Trisha Bain, which has earned a five-star Amazon rating.

A girl grows up in the Congo near the rainforest. She is afraid of animals. Any animal! And in the Congo, animals live everywhere.

She hides in her bed when there is a boa loose in the vegetable garden. She runs from dogs, cats, cockroaches, even a friend’s pet rhinoceros. When she eats her favorite food, stir-fried crickets, she has to close her eyes because she’s so scared.

There is only one animal she’s not afraid of, her sister’s monkey, Coco. Coco steals her bananas and plays pranks constantly. She does not like him. He even laughs while throwing coconuts at people from the high palm trees.

Can a monkey teach a girl to be fearless? – from Amazon

Kamunga sent us this note:

Why did I write this book? I Used to Be Afraid of Animals is a true story.

I grew up at the edge of the rainforest in the Congo, surrounded by animals. And yet, I was afraid of them. I was even afraid of the food I ate. And then I met Coco, our family pet monkey.

Later on when I moved to the United States, I often told stories about the animals I grew up with. So when an editor asked me to write a children’s book about fearlessness. It was easy. I simply described my childhood, full of monkeys, rhinoceros and crocodiles.

Update from Kabuika Kamunga after we published this post: “here is the translation of the amazon.fr review of my book by Joseph Ibongo, President of The Institute of National Museums of Congo: “It’s lively! And I find myself in it. I was even ready to react as [the little girl] reacted. It’s about animals of everyday life. And it is the way Africans speak, full of metaphors, riddles, stories, and detours. It is African wisdom, where truths are told in personifying animals.”