Jim Book Page

The Book

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Well, here we are with a new book published!  The creating of ‘Children of Africa. A Photographic Journey’, was indeed a journey.  Although the idea for the book seemed to come out of nowhere and the actual form that it took seemed to create itself, it was a lot of work!  I think I may have had the easier part of the burden, compared to Nancy Dolan, our hard-working editor.  I just had to write the accompanying dialogue, which seems to come fairly easily to me,while Nancy had to do all the formatting and organizing of the hundreds of photos and much more.

Like any coach, I wanted a good team or brain trust around me to support this project.  People who I could go to and call upon for the various problems I knew I would encounter.  I got that in spades!  John Walls, an independent book seller, Jim MacInnon of Budget Printing in Vancouver, Nancy, of course, Natasha and Shay Brown of Natasha Lee and Company and many others with varying areas of expertise.  This collective forestalled many problems and came up with so many unique ideas and approaches, it was unbelievable!  It was one of those instances, that had I known how little I knew, the various pitfalls and so forth, I would have hesitated taking this on.  As it is, the experience has been excellent, if at times frustrating!  It has also been a great training ground for the next book, ‘The Book of No’.

It is a unique book, we’ve been  told.  Not a photographers book, not a story book, but rather in between.  The photographs are Heather’s and mine alone, except one by my friend and former United Nations military observer colleague ‘Sigi.  This is one of some children in Mali, where he was currently posted for four years, as a member of the German Army.   We used little ‘point-and-shoots’ cameras, Heather’s better quality SLR, our iPhone cameras and the camcorder we took with us on our train trip from Cape Town, South Africa, to Dar es Saalam, Tanzania.  The photos are most definitely not ‘professional’, and that seems to imbue them with a rawness and emotionality, that would not have been possible otherwise.  None of the photos are staged or have been photoshopped.  They are as real as they can get!  The two photos on the front and back covers of the book, are the most striking, we believe.  Both have been entered in international photograph contests.  We think Heather took the front cover photo (Cannot remember for sure) from the train and I made it into a black and white photo from colour.  I took the one on the back cover, when I was in the Sudan as a military observer.

I wish we had more pics from more countries and we will, as we keep going back to Africa.  There is so much more to see of that wonderful continent!  And so many more children’s faces to capture .. . .The other thing that bothers me, is that all the photographs are of black Africans.  What about the white children and Indian children who live there?  Like Canada, Africa has people from many different nations who now call Africa home.  I wish to capture them and their stories .. .. .

So, we hope you enjoy Children of Africa and if you do, to write a review for us and to share the book with others.  Perhaps even suggest that they purchase a copy at  A portion of profits made (If there are any!), will go to the Mende Nazer Foundation.  This organization supports the education of the young girls of the Nuba Mountains part of Sudan, where I lived.  Sadly, that area, is back again being part of a war zone.  Mende, after escaping from being kidnapped and enslaved, has written the International best seller, ‘Slave’.  From the book, a movie and stage play have been very successfully created

The  site can be easily reached by using this CommonDawg website, as there is a direct link.  Finally, we would love to hear all comments, good and bad, because only this way, can we create an even better product for the next batch of books.

Cheers and thanks

Jim (CommonDawg)


1 Comment

  1. David A. Cairns
    David A. Cairns02-25-2014

    Hi Jim, I had no idea you were so industrious and entrepreneurial, but I am impressed with your work and the challenges you take on! Travelling is an adventure and I can definitely relate to your military (UN) service. Sub-Saharan Africa is definitely on my bucket list and living in Thailand for the winter does make it somewhat easier to get too. I have some local friend’s close to our house in Thailand, where there are three sister’s, each with three children. They range in age from one year to seventeen, but all under 11 with the exception of the seventeen year old. When they all get together it is such a comedy show, one minute they want to kill each other, then the next their all playing away with whatever pops into their heads with no expensive toys, just their imagination. The grandmom owns a little shop and after I do my power walk or cycling I stop there for a few beer. Anyway,I could probably write a book about Thailand after 25 yrs, but I’m not that ambitious, my wife has enough for me to do. Well done, I enjoyed the photos of the children.nn1nn1nn1nn1nn1nn1

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