The Runaway Injera
Region: North Africa, Ethiopia
Author: Jane Kurtz
Original Language: bilingual: Tigrinya-English
Translator: Mastewal Abera
Illustrator: Katie Bradley
Descriptors: bilingual books; food; injera
Age: 3-7 years old
The Runaway Injera is a bilingual Ethiopian fairy tale about a freshly baked injera that springs to life and taunts the hungry people from whom it runs away. The story begins with a woman baking a batch of injera, but as she attempts to move one to her basket, it jumps out of her hands and rolls away. Before she can stop the injera, it rolls out the door and all over town! Several people call out to the injera trying to stop it, but the stubborn injera keeps on rolling until it comes across a group of three clever girls who outsmart the injera and eat it. This fun, playful tale uses repetitious lines, which creates an interactive component for children during story time. Whenever the injera passes someone, the human calls out: “Stop. You will be soft and warm to eat today” and the injera replies: “You have legs, but I am round. I roll zip-zip across the ground.” Children will love to join in and chant along with the injera. Katie Bradley’s use of bright colors and small details in her illustrations, like the smiling face of the injera, help bring this charming story to life. This story is also newly translated by librarian Mastewal Abera and is presented in both Tigrinya and English.
More About This Book
Notes: Western readers may need an explanation of what injera is if they have never had it before. At the end of the story, there is an “About the Story” section that explains what injera is and how it is made. There is also a note about how this story is similar to the Gingerbread Man folktale, which has many different cultural versions around the world.
Reviewed by Leah Byrnes