Local author Cristina Kessler recently added more honors to her long list of awards and international recognition.
Kessler’s most recently-releas-ed book “The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela,” was selected by the National Council for Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council as a notable social studies trade book for young people for 2007.
The book tells the tale of a young Ethiopian girl who wants to keep bees, which is usually a man’s job in her culture. Instead of succumbing to the pressure, the young girl invents her own bee hive and proves that brains always win out over brawn, the author explained.
“The Best Beekeeper,” which also won Kessler an award from Parent’s Choice, is the author’s ninth book, and her first to be translated.
“This is my first book that is being put in a local language and I think that is really cool,” said Kessler. “It’s supposed to be translated by April, but that seems pretty early to me, so we’ll see.”
Kessler, who lived in Ethiopia with her husband for two years in the late 1990s, helped start a pioneering women’s magazine in the African nation called “Women to Women” which was printed in both English and Amharic.
“When this magazine came out, it met with a lot of resistance from men, which meant that we were doing a good job,” Kessler said.
The magazine focused on women’s issues, from women in business to women’s education, and the editor in chief, Rahel Mekuria, is Kessler’s translator.
“I’m just absolutely thrilled about the translation,” said Kessler. “It’s very cool.”
Although “Women to Women” has currently run out of funding, Kessler said she hopes the magazine will be back in publication within the next six months.
BBC Comes Knocking
The British Broadcasting Corporation is also interested in Kessler’s work.
The internationally renowned media group is working to purchase the audio rights to the local author’s first book “One Night: A Story From The Desert,” a tale about how a young Tuareg boy in Niger earns his turban.
“BBC Radio just called and is now talking to my agent about buying the audio rights to put the book on their children’s radio program,” said Kessler. “I would be very excited to have my book on the BBC Radio. I’m really jazzed about that.”
Kessler is also the author of “No Condition is Permanent,” “My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd,” and “All The King’s Animals,” among others. Her books are available at amazon.com, and can be ordered locally through Book and Bean.