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the Garbage King
Transcript of the Garbage King
The garbage king, the name itself gives me a feeling of arduous and lonely. After reading the first few paragraphs, I was a bit touched by Memo’s questions to his future, it brought me into the story. The despair and hope that’s mixed in the words seem to be so real to me.
Overall, my impression of the book is that the book is an encouragement itself. It suggests people to face challenges directly and not to be afraid. And I think the tough life story of two boys is also a portrayal of many street boys worldwide.
About the Author
is a British writer who wrote novels and picture books for children and for adults. She was born in New Zealand in 1943. In 1945, her family returned to South London, UK. At the age of eighteen, Laird started teaching at a school in Malaysia, and she chose to continue this adventurous life. And after university, she went to Addis Ababa to teach English. Then she traveled to India and met her future husband.
She wrote her first picture book in 1979 named Rosy’s Garden. Her first novel is called Red Sky in The Morning. The garbage king is the sixth novel she wrote in 2003, based on her experience in Addis Ababa.
by Elizabeth Laird
Information of the book
Author: Elizabeth Laird
Illustrator: Yosef Kebeide
Page number: 329
Publisher: Macmillan Children's book
Memo is an orphan who lives with his only sister, Tiggist. But in one day, he got kidnapped by Merga, a child-trafficker and sold to a irascible farmer who treated him as a slave. One day, hopeless Memo finally got the chance to escape. But when he arrived home, he was shocked because he couldn’t find Tiggist, she went to Awassa for her job, she thought Memo found a comfort life and will never come back home.
Now the story turns to Dani, a wealthy boy who could not held on to his strict father, so he escaped with only 50 birr with him. Both boys met each other beside a graveyard. Later, Memo met Getachew and Million, who invited both of them to their gang. Two boys joined in and started their gang life. Memo got his nick name: The Garbage King. And the gang together tricked Merga, the fake "uncle" who had kidnapped Memo.
But Dani and Memo’s life wouldn't stop at being street boys. Since Dani wrote stories and sold them for money, his writing got noticed by one of his old teacher. This news got quickly reported to Dani’s dad. He searched the streets days by days. Dani went back with his dad after hearing his mom is recovered and Memo found his sister back home with her boyfriend. Pretty soon, Memo received a new job.. In the end, two boys live arduously but happily and still taking care of their old gang members. The book ends by two boys seeing two new members in the gang.
The story took place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in Africa.
The story doesn't mention when this story happened, but possibly around 2000, when Laird started planning this novel.
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Questions and Answers!
Themes and Messages
A short paragraph from the book
ESL 4 1-1
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The external conflicts Dani and Memo had to overcome were not the same at the beginning. Memo’s challenge was to survive in the hunger and hard works from his master. While Dani’s was trying to escape his dad’s madness and to improve his poor grades. After they met each other, both of their goal was to survive in the Addis Ababa.
The internal conflicts Dani has to face are the jeers from classmates and the differences between his comfort life and the tough life as a hood. For memo, he had to face the truth of loneliness, which was being all by himself without Tiggist or any family members.
Showing or feeling extreme discontent because someone has something you want.
A final proposal of conditions in which failure to follow will lead to end of relationship.
To crouch or hide.
Approaching an activity with eagerness.
I think the author wrote this story because she wants to show the growth of weaklings. How little boy can also done something their life.
She secondly wants to describe how the society can change and judges people. Also, this story describes the life of two opposite kinds of people and how society causes this problem.
Additional message author wants to tell kids is to precious their life now. Laird mentioned this at postscript that she had been hung out with many kids who ran away and never been able to return.
The story at last mentions that not only poor people have needs and wants and worries, rich people have those too. All people are the same from the starting point.
One of the two main characters of the novel. Live with his sister Tiggist in a one-room shack. Got kidnapped by Merga and was send to a violent farmer who trade him inhumanly. After escaping, he join Million's gang. Memo is a little boy who is fearful and extreme but has a soft heart.
The leader of the gang which Memo and Dani joined. Being like an older brother who takes care and trains every members. Have a clear sense of right and wrong.
Memo's older sister, the only one who Memo loves in the world. Takes care of Memo for their irresponsible mom. Been sent to Awassa with Mrs. Faridah and met her lover, Yocob there.
Salma's older brother, gentle and steady. Took care of his mother all by himself. Has a dream of owning a electronic repair store. Work in his cousin's shop to save money so he can marry Tiggist.
Why would the author show us that two new boys joined in the gang?
She wants to show us that Dani and Memo are not going to be the last few street boys. There are still kids becoming hoods, they need a warm place where they truly belong. Laird calls for people to think about these kids. The novel is for the kids originally, you can see that at the introduction of the novel.
Why did Memo get his nick name, "garbage king"?
He received this name because of his good skill on finding useable materials in the garbage.
By what way did the two main characters overcome their fears?
By going through many situations that can even threaten their life. And also by the prove of friendship others show them. Then, they may clearly see what they've been afraid are no longer bothering them.
Feel free to ask me any more questions about the book!
The Garbage King. Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia,2013. Web. 30 Dec, 2013
Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia, 2010. Web. 1 Jan, 2014
--Unknown Author, Ethiopia, Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia, 2010. Web. 1 Jan, 2014
I would feel regret about his life in Africa because he would never be able to have the same quality life as us in Canada. I also will like him as a reliable friend. A brilliant quality I found on him is that he is innocent and pure; he wouldn’t be influence by surrounding easily. But one thing he needs to get rid of is those inactive thoughts in his mind like suicide.
One of the two main characters in the story. He is from a rich business man's family. Live within the previleged boudaries of a grand house. Has a strict dad who cares about his grades a lot. Run away when his dad planed to send him far east. Join in to Million's gang. Loves his mother Ruth very much.
I would not like Dani a lot in real life since he is feeble and coward, he was born in a rich family, but he always rely on his mother to face his dad. One positive quality I can find on him is he is generous. One negative quality I found on him is that he is childish.
All the antagonists listed are just a symbol of the real enemy two boys have to fight|, the society.
The nice truck driver
The fake "uncle" who had kidnapped Memo and sold him to a farmer for only 150 birr. Deceitful and sneaky; but got tricked by the gang.
A farmer who is cruel to his slaves, had killed one of them before. Nearly drowned Memo when Memo drowned his cow.
Dani's dad, very strict to everyone except to his wife Ruth and Meseret. Directly causes Dani's escaping by planned to send him to a tutor. Become haggard and old from the stress of losing Dani.
A grocery shop owner, Being jealous when saw Tiggist and Yasmin close together.
Mrs. Faridah's only child\daughter. 1 year old, cute and naughty. Love to tickle with Tiggist.
A servant who servers Mr. Hamid, Mrs. Faridah's husband. The partner and best friend of Tiggist. Introduce her brother Yocob to Tiggist.
He lend the helping hands at the needed point, he drove Memo back to Addis Ababa and fed him the best breakfast ever. He even give Memo 10 birr. He had done this simply because he has the similar childhood as Memo.
A little boy who likes to play with Memo, has caring parents and a lovely house.
The mean farmer's son. Also been trade cruely by his dad, hates Memo because Memo caused the farmer's madness.
This book might not be the most touching novel. But it’s very close to real life. The author has been to Addis Ababa herself and took ideas by communicating with the orphans there; she had put lots of messages from those kids into the novel.
These messages are not as deep like what philosophers preach, but are sincere. This is most attractive point to me.
I would like to recommend this book to people, especially to those who are discontent to their present life. This book will inspire them and give confidence on problem solving. This book traps the reader’s heart to follow through.
For example, where Memo got kidnapped, the description of his thought of danger pulls the reader to face his situation. Where Dani’s father warned him to send him to the east, the author manifests his harsh and angry mood. The whole book annotates the word ‘descriptive’.
Likes and Dislikes
I really like the setting and the messages of the novel. The author did not tell lessons and thoughts through plain words; she made up the events to help the reader to understand the themes.
But one thing I don’t like is that the author spends too many descriptions in details. This somehow causes the story itself looks solid and long. Many parts did not point directly to the main idea.
Text to Self
Text to World
Text to Text
I have heard that what qualities you find dislike on people often is the bad qualities you can find on yourself. I don’t like the life and attitudes of Dani, but I’m also the same. The life of Dani reminds me of my own life. I always need my mother as my protection on eveything. And I am lazy myself.
Kids like Memo are common in Africa and other countries with high population. Some of them may receive pay back after their hard works. But more are not as lucky; they may be treat as a slave or injured badly. On the other hand, kids like Dani have such a luxury life. This apperance shows the lucks sometimes directly causes the difference of living standard between people.
The theme which is “two boys that should have never met each other met” reminds me of a famous children book called the Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. Where the royal prince switch place with a pauper; and how they together changed their future. This story somewhat has the same message, which is trust and friendship can help in any difficulties.
The book was written in a very descriptive way as mentioned before. By counting the pages, you can tell the setting took one third of the novel. The novel is serious but not heavy. It uses sprightly word to weaken the grief. Generally it has a slower pace.
The book is meaningful for both elementary students and teenagers. It is pretty easy for readers starting from ESL level 3 or grade 4. The length of the book is a bit longer but it’s slow pace would let most people read faster. In conclusion, it is a fabulous choice to spend your spare time to refresh yourself.
"Ato" means "Mr" in Ambaric.