Congratulations to young Jodie Sonko for her publicity work for the Malinding village series of Kindle eBooks! Jodie is the first person you meet as you read Empty Bananas. She started off as a short story character, graduated into a short novel, became a trilogy which doubled to a series of six - is it seven - books. I think she'll end up with a fictional autobiography! She never (as yet) has met her father and sadly her mum died when Jodie was five years old. She uses a photo of herself from this time as her identifier. She was in care for a couple of years then had a series of foster parents. She was abused by the partner of one of her foster mothers and, because nobody would believe her, became mute. This same man killed himself and her step-mum in a car crash. Jodie was severely injured and hasn't walked since. Back into care for a couple more years until she ended up fostered by a couple who helped her to see herself in a positive light, sensed she was athletic and encouraged her to try wheelchair sports. She's travelled all over Europe, taking part in competitions and has recently got as far as West Africa, where she visited Malinding village and met Ed and Sira and Fatou, the Mechanical Girl ... I think she deserves a book of her own!
Not a word of the above is true, unless you believe the stories told in the Malinding books! What is true is that every penny and pound that the sale of those books brings into the GOES charity account is used to help education and health care of Gambians in need.
Jodie is still attached to that image of herself as a happy four year old child. I've love to see her accept herself as the world sees her today - a successful, happy, caring athlete.