My Rows and Piles of Coins


Year Published: 1999
Written by: Tololwa M. Mollel
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis

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“I emptied my secret money box, arranged the coins in piles and the piles in rows….

The market is full of wonderful things-roasted peanuts, rice cakes, toy trucks, kites-but Saruni doesn’t buy any of them. He is saving up for something special. How happy and proud he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy goods to market on his very own bicycle!

Master storyteller Tololwa M. Mollel has created a lively tale of generosity and determination that earn unexpected rewards. Striking watercolors by E.B. Lewis capture the warmth of Saruni’s family and the color and excitement of market day in Tanzania.

The New York Times Book Review

“Oli’s fantasies of independence make for an engaging adventure story along the lines of ‘The Five Chinese Brothers’ and Mr. Mollel gives the tale an added, unexpected tenderness by focusing on the quiet day-to-day relationship between a young boy and his mother.”

School Library Journal

“The story is beautifully illustrated with watercolor paintings. The pictures greatly complement the text, enhancing its natural power to describe. This is a lovely title that speaks to the African experience in an authentic voice. A book that belongs in every collection.”