Written by Alain Serge Dzotap
Illustrated by Delphine Renon
When Leo opens his birthday presents, he receives an amazing gift: a pen! Inside it, Papa says, are many beautiful things. But how do you get them out? None of his friends can guess. Super-Zombo doesn’t get anywhere by blowing on it, and Coco-Tembo thinks it’s too tiny to hold anything important. Maybe Leo’s mama will know how to reveal all the wonders inside…
This warm, charming story is a perfect introduction to the joy of writing. Like Leo, young readers will discover how a simple utensil can express all the words in the world—even one’s own name.
But the one he likes best of all is his father’s gift: a pen.
“There are all sorts of beautiful things inside your pen,” Papa tells him.
“When I come back from the market later, I’ll show them to you.”
So Leo goes to find his big sister.
“Papa says there are beautiful things inside my pen.
Can you help me get them out?”
His sister is surprised.
She takes the pen and shakes it.
A few drops of ink slip out.
“You’re not doing it right,” Leo says,
and he leaves.
Alain Serge Dzotap is a Cameroonian children’s author and poet. Born in Bafoussam, he started to write poetry after devouring book after book from the city library. Today he promotes literacy across Cameroon through workshops, school visits, and his publishing house Les Bruits de l’encre. Alain’s books have received the Saint-Exupéry Valeurs Jeunesse Prize and have been included in the International Youth Library’s White Ravens catalog. In 2016, Alain was recognized with Cameroon’s medal of knight. The Gift is his first book published in English.
Delphine Renon is a French illustrator, ceramicist, and graphic designer. Her books include The Quiet Crocodile (Princeton Architectural) and Emmett and Caleb (Book Island), which was nominated for the 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal. Visit Delphine’s website at delphinerenon.blogsp ot.fr or follow her on Instagram @delphinerenon.