CADS alumna wins Glazen Globe for best youth geography book
CADS alumna Ruth Erica has won the Glazen Globe with her book The Tree with the White Leaves. This is a biennial prize for the best geography-related youth or children's book.
Erica studied Cultural Anthropology in Leiden in 1994, went on an internship to Senegal and took a doctoral course at the Dutch Centre for Indigenous Peoples in the communications department because it was her dream to write about Africa. After her studies, she spent a long time in Rwanda. That period inspired her debut novel De boom met de witte bladeren (The Tree with the Bitter Leaves) which came out in August 2020.
The tree with the bitter leaves
De boom met de witte bladeren is about seventeen-year-old Maridadi who works at the market in Rwanda. Maridadi knows her own culture well but knows little about her family history. In Rwanda, the genocide that took place in the 1990s is barely mentioned. At the market, she meets Puck, a Dutch cultural anthropology student. This encounter changes Maridadi's life. She starts asking questions about the genocide and the death of her mother. And little by little she discovers a family secret that shocks her deeply.
Since 1986, the Glazen Globe (Glass Globe) has been awarded the best geography book for adolescents and children that deals with themes such as migration, cultures and natural phenomena. The jury considers the story of the genocide in Rwanda, which took place more than 27 years ago, still relevant. The topics of cultural differences, identity and conflict areas also come to the fore in the book. According to the jury, the friendship between Maridadi and Puck takes you into the story of Rwanda then and the consequences that are still visible today.