You can’t explore books about Ethiopia without coming across children’s author Jane Kurtz. She grew up in Ethiopia with her missionary parents in the 1970s and has published dozens of books, a number of them focusing on Ethiopia. Her latest success has been with the American Girl series Lanie. Jane currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas, and is planning a trip to Ethiopia next month.
1. What’s your favorite memory about Ethiopia? What’s the most distinctive thing about the country that clearly says to you, “This is Ethiopia!”?
I lived in Ethiopia for most of my childhood—in the countryside and in the city, as a toddler and as a kid and as a teenager, with my family and in boarding school—so I have a tangle of memories from all that time. I love the sense of connectedness and relationship. People pay attention to their families and sometimes even strangers in intense ways. I love the sensory richness: the smell of bere bere that soaks into everything, the unexpectedness of donkeys on a busy street.