It was exciting for me that One Day, So Many Ways was published in Dutch, French and Spanish as well as English. But that was nothing compared to the news that it was going to be published in Afghanistan.
My biggest dream for this book was that it would introduce children to the wonder and delight of the world’s cultures. It’s a tool for change - opening up discussions about the incredible things you can experience in other countries, and about how we’re all different but we’re all the same. Around a year after the book was published, I received an email from a charity in Afghanistan asking if they could translate the book into a couple of languages so it can be circulated in the country’s schools.
Most publishers are not excited about translations and book rights in Afghanistan. Most authors want to crack the US not Afghanistan. But I’m not most authors and my publishers were game, so after a number of discussions, we go to work. We talked about how I could connect with local teachers to help them with this material, to maybe develop teaching materials they can use. I even have a fleeting thought that maybe I should visit them in person (Covid-19 put paid to that idea).
Children in Afghanistan are unlikely to ever visit Greenland, and neither are their teachers, so how could I help them understand a little about the world out beyond their borders, a world they may never be lucky enough to see? Afghanistan is one of the 40 countries mentioned in the book so they would see themselves in it - a powerful tool. This was literally beyond my wildest dreams for what I thought my book could be - for it to go out into the world to be used as a teaching material to discuss the world’s cultures, at a child’s eye level.
At the end of 2020, the Taliban were on the rise in Afghanistan and local organizations working on human rights inside the country were finding it very difficult indeed. The project slowed down, but we think 2021 will be the year that this book can start to create a little change in the world of the children of Afghanistan.
I decided early on to pledge all the money I made from this book to go out in the world and create a better life for the world’s underprivileged children. It’s a fitting idea for this book - not just that it is an educational tool, but that it actually creates change. I chose the incredible charity Skateistan as the recipient of most of my advance, and the profits that are on the way.
If you feel like donating to a charity that is active in helping children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa enjoy life, get an education and learn to skateboard, please look them up. And if you’re looking for a book for your kids that will have a double impact, on giving them a worldview and helping kids at the same time, please consider buying my book.
One Day, So Many Ways