My Rows and Piles of Coins

The market is full of wonderful things — roasted peanuts, rice cakes, toy trucks, and kites — but Saruni doesn’t buy any of them. He is saving for something special. How happy and proud he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy goods to market on his very own bicycle! Tololwa Mollel has created a lively tale of generosity and determination that earn unexpected rewards, and the striking watercolours by illustrator E. B. Lewis capture the warmth of family and the color and excitement of market day in Tanzania

My Rows and Piles of Coins begins

After a good day at the market, my mother, Yeyo, gave me five whole ten-cent coins. I gaped at the money until Yeyo nudged me. “Saruni, what are you waiting for? Go and buy yourself something.”

I plunged into the market. I saw roasted peanuts, chapati, rice cakes, and sambusa. My heart beat excitedly. I wanted to buy everything (at the market), but I clutched my coins tightly in my pocket.

At the edge of the market, I stopped. In a neat sparkling row, stood several big new bicycles. One of them was decorated with red and blue.

“That’s what I would buy!”


Deft and effective

School Library Journal (starred review)

…a delightful story, full of episodes and images worth savoring

Quill and Quire (starred review)

Awards & Honours

  • Alberta Writers Guild R. Ross Annett Childrens Literature Prize
  • African Studies Association 2000 Children's Africana Award
  • Coretta Scott King Honor Book
  • American Library Association Notable Book
  • Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Our Choice List (of the year’s 30 best children's books in Canada) (starred selection)
  • American Library Association list of the year's 10 best African-American books for children
  • Canadian Maclean's Magazine list of the year's 8 best children's books