Child of Dandelions: Confusion

I confess I have been struggling with reading Shenaaz Nanji’s novel Child of Dandelions.

From Second Story Press.

In I Read It, But I Don’t Get It, Cris Tovani explores the idea of getting students to recognize when they get confused while reading. Indeed,

“there are indicators that help readers know when confusion or mind wandering is setting in.” (p. 37)

Those indicators are:

  1. The voice inside the reader’s head isn’t interacting with the text.
  2. The camera in the reader’s head shuts off.
  3. The reader’s mind begins to wander.
  4. The reader can’t remember what has been read.
  5. Clarifying questions asked by the reader are not answered.
  6. The reader re-encounters a character and has no recollection when that character was introduced. (p. 38)

For whatever reason, I am finding myself ‘bumped’ out of the story and, looking to Tovani’s indicators,

  1. my reading-in-my-head voice is shutting off,
  2. my mind is wandering,
  3. I am not remembering what I have read,
  4. my questions are not being answered
  5. and, admittedly, I am encountering characters I have no recollection meeting in the first place (Minaz/Munchkin and Milo).

I am curious why this book is producing or evoking these reactions in me.  Is it because:

  • the setting is far removed from my own frame of reference (Uganda)?
  • the time period is not the recent past (1972)?
  • the names of the characters (Zena, Sabine) and locations (Kasenda) are names I am unaccustomed to hearing / reading or know little about?
  • is it inclusion of Ugandan / Muslim words (djinn, bwana, Wa-benzi)?

So, putting myself in the shoes of a learner, what do I do next?

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