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The Milk Star Stories

At the end of the day in Somalia, when the camels come in, tired and hungry from the desert, it is too soon to milk them and feed the children.

The camels must rest first and be content. So the village people gather, as the sun slips over the edge of the world, and wait for the stars to come out.

The children are tired too, tired and hungry. They sit with their grandparents and their parents and watch the stars wheel in the sky, telling the time when the camels will be ready and the milk will come. To make the waiting seem less slow, the grandparents and parents tell stories, one for each named star as it appears in the sky until at last the milk star shines brightly and the children can be fed

This story comes out of Africa - out of Somalia to be exact, and it was told as part of a presentation on reading activism - or more simply put, ‘getting books to children’. That talk was part of a panel discussion during International Children’s Book Week in Stockholm in October 2010. The speaker was Said Ahmed and he spoke with passion about his mission to bring books to the children of his country. In this section of the website, CBN will bring you stories out of Africa and out of everywhere – to read aloud, to read alone; to read.

The photographs with this article feature Sindiwe Magona (flying) Gcina Mhlophe (telling) and Thandi Swartbooi (drumming).


1 May 2020
Daily Story - 1 May Something is following Unathi… Read all about it in 'Unathi and the dirty, smelly beast' by clicking the PDF download below.
30 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 30 April Read 'The old woman's soup' by downloading the PDF below. This magical tale from Nali'bali takes us to a village with a mysterious recipe for chicken soup - enjoy!
29 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 29 April In a village on the slopes of Mount Kenya, a little girl worked in the fields with her mother. She worried as she saw the big forests disappearing, but she knew the power of a...
29 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 28 April Read 'Zanele sees numbers'. Download the PDF below. This is one of the many books which you can download, for free, from Book Dash. Be sure to visit them for more! https://...
28 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 27 April Another tale from Nal'ibali - The tale of the buffalo and the oxpecker. Enjoy!
24 Apr 2020
Daily Story - The Inside Book by Matthew Griffiths FIND THIS STORY ONLINE HERE:
23 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 23 April Read 'Really truly' - a charming story about a little boy coming to understand that unconditional love from his mom and dad, is what really, truly makes him their son.
22 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 22 April
20 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 20 April
15 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 16 April Nandi doesn’t want to go to sleep. No way! She wants to go on an adventure. Join Nandi as she lets her imagination run wild and free. Click the PDF download below to read this...
15 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 15 April Read 'A fish and a gift'. Yusuf waits on the beach while Papa pushes out his boat. Surfers, turtles and sharks come from the sea. What will Papa bring back for Yusuf?
14 Apr 2020
Daily Story - 14 April
13 Apr 2020
Daily story - 13 April Read 'The lion and the monkey' - another story from Nali'bali, this time about trust and gratitude.
10 Apr 2020
Daily story - 10 April Read 'Dudu’s Hat', a charming story from Book Dash: Book Dash has an incredible library of downloadable books on their website. We thank them for sharing...
9 Apr 2020
Daily story - 9 April
8 Apr 2020
Daily story - 8 April Read Africa unity race by Nina Orange.
7 Apr 2020
Daily story - 7 April Read 'Lolo fixes the internet', another wonderful read from Nal'ibali (visit their website here: Here's a little snippet to pique your interest...
6 Apr 2020
Daily story - 6 April The red moon by Pedro Pablo Sacristán, is a futuristic short story about a boy who realises how damaged the Earth is. He visits the moon in order to save a flower. Click on...
3 Apr 2020
Daily story - 3 April Another lovely story from Nal'ibali titled 'Nomsa's shopping list'. Follow Nomsa and her sister Mandisa as they try to recall the items on a shopping list which is blown away...
2 Apr 2020
Daily story - 2 April
1 Apr 2020
Daily story - 1 April A jar of dreams is a wonderful longer read for older children. Here's a review on this touching story:
31 Mar 2020
Daily story - 31 March Gorgeous little baby bear, Alfie, learns all about hibernation and the coming of spring! Catherine Walters When will it be spring? New York, Dutton Juvenile, 1997
30 Mar 2020
Daily story - 30 March Lila and the secret of rain Read this lovely short story by clicking the download below.Here's a short extract for you:
27 Mar 2020
Daily story - 27 March “Let me tell you the story of how I was once like a bird who leaves the nest very early and only comes back late in the evening.” Extract from ‘A girl who wanted to go to...
26 Mar 2020
Daily story - 26 March 2020 Read 'A day to remember'. Hope, Neo and Josh are on a mission, which goes slightly wrong! But it ends in laughter and with inspiration for Hope to write her own story!
25 Mar 2020
Daily story - 25 March 2020 Read 'Babu's Story' - a charming story of Bernardi, a young boy who dreams of going to school. Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen New York, Lee & Low, 2008
24 Mar 2020
Daily story - 24 March 2020 Read 'The Tin Forest' by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson (New York, Puffin Books, 2003).
7 Mar 2016
Nal'ibali is a wonderful resource for story telling advice and encouragement, these two articles may help you to get started:
7 Mar 2016
This adaptation from a traditional African tale comes from Fairy Tales of the World... enjoy it!
7 Mar 2016
Book Dash has an incredible range of books created by author-illustrator-graphic designer teams on their epic Book Dash days. All of them are available free of charge online or you can order a...
26 Sep 2014
I dreamed of a lion that talked. And what did he tell you? What did he say? He spoke of flat, wide plains, where porcupines dug holes under the moon, where people told their stories while stars...
13 Jun 2014
A retelling of a story from southern Nigeria
12 Aug 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” Shoebox Sam by Mary Brigid Barrett Michigan, ZonderKidz, 2011
5 Aug 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” Enemy Pie by Derek Munson San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2000
29 Jul 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” A Stroyless Wall by A. Torrado
22 Jul 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” The Cats in Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse; Wendy Watson New York, Scholastic Press, 2004
8 Jul 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” A Lesson for Kings by Margaret Read MacDonald In Peace Tales Arkansas, August House Publishers Inc., 2005
1 Jul 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” The most beautiful work of all by A. Torrado
24 Jun 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” New York City's greatest underground secret by Maureen C. Bruschi In Jack Canfield, Victor Hansen, et al.Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness...
17 Jun 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” Sylvia and Bird by Catherine Rayner London, Little Tiger Press, 2009
10 Jun 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” Bad Hop by Steve Smith J. Canfield, M. V. Hansen, Mark & Chrissy Donnelly, J.Tunney Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2000
3 Jun 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” Thank you for not pushing by Christy Barge
28 May 2013
Pedagogical Project“The Joy of Reading” A Lesson in Ugly by Bobbie Shafer In Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark,Wendy Diamond Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Cat...
20 May 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” The Gardener by Sarah Stewart New York, Square Fish, 2010
13 May 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” The Ring by Esther Bonilla Read
6 May 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” That Book Worm by Heather Henson New York, Atheneum Books, 2008
29 Apr 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” The Eye of the Storm by Helen Weathers in Jack Canfield, Victor Hansen, et al. Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul:Heartwarming Stories for People 60 and Over...
22 Apr 2013
Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading” The Lat Jar of Jelly by Andy Skidmore in J. Canfield, M.V. Hansen, J. R. Hawthorne, M. Shimoff Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul Health Communications, Inc...