An Interview with the Author: Dr. Tererai Trent

What motivated you to write this book, The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can?

After I achieved my dreams for an education, I knew I wanted to write a book that would inspire the younger readers. As a child growing up in poverty, I witnesses how my community consistently prioritize boys over girls in education because they felt boys had more chances to get job opportunities. These experiences made me want to write a story that decisively validates the value of giving educational opportunities to girls. I am proof that educating girls can create a positive reaction in a community, and help break the cycle of poverty.

How is this book related to your work with your organization, the Tererai Trent International Foundation?

My Foundation promotes a community-wide literacy boost by establishing an after-school reading program. We want to encourage the culture of reading within the community. Through this program we are also supplying books in the reading camps since there is a great shortage of books in the rural areas. Its unfortunate that at times 5-10 children may have to share just one book.

What do you hope young readers will gain from this book?

This book will encourage young readers to explore the world within their own imaginations, and dare to dream big. My hope is to inspire them to believe in themselves, to believe in their dreams, whatever they may be, and give a positive example of how they can achieve their dreams, and that anything in life is possible!

Why choose a picture book instead of a format more suited to adults?

I particularly love picture books because they represent a unique literary form that blends stories with art, making them more appealing to our young readers. Young children are gifted with unbridled imaginations, and therefore it’s powerful to cultivate their creativity at that young age. With this in mind, I wanted to start off with a children’s book in an effort to inspire the child’s mind. This process is valuable before they grow into adults, where imagination and creativity is often hindered by challenges. I believe that once the seed of imagination is planted in young minds, along with a thirst for achieving big dreams, there is no turning back.

How will the book benefit young readers?

I hope this is a book that helps young readers make an emotional connection with different cultures around the world, and learn about empathy and compassion for others. The book is also designed to inspire and build children’s self-esteem. This beautiful book is packaged with wonderful, eye-catching illustrations that beg to be explored, and has a contemporary setting that inspires our young readers to connect with the world.

What makes this book unique?

The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can is a true story, my personal journey. I believe my story has a universal message that can touch and inspire children and adults all over the globe. Set in rural Africa, this book is culturally diverse and engaging, opening doors for children to witness a globally different perspective. Filled with the dynamic illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, a Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator, it’s sure to stand out from the rest.

How will this book benefit other readers?

While this book is targeted toward young readers, anyone in the world of children’s literature including adults can also be inspired by The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can. Adults can use this book to share with children the value of perseverance, believing in one’s dreams. This book can also be used in classroom settings, or as a beautiful gift for both young readers and adults.

Where are the proceeds going?

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will benefit my non-profit organization, Tererai Trent International Foundation (previously known as Tinogona Foundation). We will use these proceeds to promote community-wide literacy and to increase educational opportunities for girls and women in Zimbabwe. For more information, click here.