Africa explored in time-travel novel

  • Tue Jun 19th, 2012 9:08pm

By Janet Colberg For the Weekly Herald

Lucinda Wingard’s new book, “The Turn-around Bird,” uses the golden bird icon and a rich tapestry of words to fabricate an imaginary Timbuktu of 1329.

Why use a turn-around bird? The answer comes with this excerpt as Aimée and her twin sister, Zoë (the main characters of the saga), encounter the Royal Goldsmith of Mali:

“From a pouch he wore around his neck, the old man retrieved two gold items not bigger than jigsaw puzzle pieces. One was a miniature mounted man and the second a strange little bird …

“Speechless, I fingered the tiny gold bird whose neck was turned so its thick beak aligned with its back. Its large eyes seemed to see everywhere at once.

“‘Let me tell you about the Turn-around Bird,’ Jemila, our friend, said, clasping her hands together. ‘In Timbuktu it means “Wisdom is knowing what to pick up from the past.”’”

Wingard’s time-travel book puts the history of Africa in perspective – especially when we have the present intensity of the King Tut exhibit in Seattle, also from Africa’s 14th century, to enlighten us about the “Dark Continent.”

The author lived in Nigeria for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Wingard also is a literature teacher who savors reading and telling a good story that is well-grounded in fact. She recommends her book to “teens and above.” Though “The Turn-around Bird” appeals to a wider audience, it holds excitement and intrigue similar to the current series for youth, “The 39 Clues.”

The book is published by Gig Harbor-based Plicata Press, a cooperative publishing group, and retails for $16.

Meet the Author

WHAT: A book event for Lucinda Wingard. Free coffee, dessert and sharing the book and African insights.

WHEN: 2-3 p.m. June 25

WHERE: La Galleria, 546 Fifth Ave. S, Edmonds

PHONE: 425-771-7950