Isatou Ceesay – Grassroots Activist
Although forced to drop out of school at a young age, Isatou Ceesay seldom lets anything stop her from learning or taking action. She has worked for the U.S. Peace Corps office in the Gambia, the Swedish organization Future in Our Hands, and as a consultant for development organizations. Her recycling project, which began in 1998 amidst much resistance and taunting, is still thriving today. In 2012, she was awarded a TIAW “Difference Maker” award in Washington, DC. She is humbled by the fact that there is a book about her and hopes it will inspire others to join her cause or be a changemaker in their own communities. Click here to read more.
Peggy Sedlak – Peace Corps Volunteer
Peggy Sedlak is the Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Njau from 1997-99. During the hot dry season of 1998, Isatou and Peggy learned how to recycle plastic bags and shared their new ideas with other women. In the first year, their small group raised enough money from selling coin purses to create a community garden (shown on the final spread of the book). Peggy went back to visit Njau in February 2014, and was happy to see how the group had grown and the impact of the project. Peggy is excited about the book and to see Isatou receive the recognition she deserves. Peggy currently lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a Program Nurse for Outdoor School—an environmental education program that gives sixth graders a chance to learn about science while out in nature.
Elizabeth Zunon – Illustrator
Elizabeth’s childhood in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa, featured an everyday life filled with tropical colors and patterns. Now living in Albany, NY, she is happy to help bring inspiring stories from Africa like Isatou’s to the world. Every story is an opportunity to let those bright tropical colors burst onto the page as paint, paper, fabric, and in this case, plastic bags! Using plastic bags in her artwork gave Elizabeth the opportunity to play, experiment, and think about other reusable materials she might make art with in the future. You can learn more about her at www.Lizzunon.com.
Miranda Paul – Author
Miranda is a teacher and children’s writer. She first traveled to Gambia in 2003 and heard about Isatou’s amazing project. Twelve years and five trips later, she’s excited to have brought this story to the world. “I got rejected many times before I found someone willing to take on the book,” she says. “Through interviewing the women of Njau I learned the importance of determination and confidence when working on something worthwhile.” Miranda currently spends her days writing new books, traveling, and speaking at schools. Learn how to invite her to your classroom at www.MirandaPaul.com.
Carol Hinz – Editor
Carol Hinz is Editorial Director of Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, and she has been editing children’s books for the past fourteen years. While she was in college she spent three months in Senegal, living with a family in Dakar and studying the Wolof language. He West African travels included a visit to the Gambia as well. She never imagined she’d have the opportunity to work on a book from this part of the world, but from the moment she saw the manuscript for One Plastic Bag, she knew she had to help bring the book to life. She says, “Miranda and Liz were a joy to work with throughout the process, and I am so proud of the finished book.”
Click here to learn more about the book.