When I visited my parents a few weeks ago, my mom showed me something really cool. She subscribes to (and occasionally reviews books for) Sing Out! magazine, which is all about folk music. The latest issue had an article about the Afghan Songbook Project. Back in the 1960s, a woman volunteering in the Peace Corps put together a booklet of the songs she heard Afghan children sing. She found her old copy of the book a few years ago and wondered if it might be the only one left. She started to work on recreating the book and bringing it back to the children of Afghanistan. That way the children not only had a chance to learn the songs, but they also got to have books of their own.
It turns out that my mom hadn’t just read the article, she had gone ahead and bought some copies of the book! She gave me one to keep and one to donate to the library collection. Children’s Songs from Afghanistan includes a CD so you can hear what the songs sound like and translations of the songs (which are in several languages) into English. The book also tells the story of making the new, expanded songbook (and so does the Afghan Songbook Project website).