The Garbage King

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The Garbage King
The cover
Author Elizabeth Laird
Illustrator Yosef Kebeide
Country Great Britain, United States
Language English
Genre Children novel
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 329
ISBN 978-0-7641-5679-3

The Garbage King is a children's fiction book written by Elizabeth Laird and illustrated by Yosef Kebede.

Laird was inspired to write the book after living and working in Ethiopia, where, in Addis Ababa, she saw children who lived on the streets who had inspiring abilities to cope with difficult living conditions.[citation needed] It has received numerous British book awards.

Plot summary[edit]

It tells the story of Mamo and Dani. Mamo is from a very poor family where everyone has died except for him and his sister, Tiggist. Mamo goes with a man who claims to be his Uncle Merga but is in fact probably one of his deceased mother's lovers. Before Mamo can realize it, "Merga" takes Mamo far from the city and anything he's ever known and sells him to a farmer as a slave.

Dani comes from a rich and privileged family in Addis Ababa. His father, however, wants him to send him away to make him learn something useful and toughen up. Dani's mother is sick and flew to London, England, to receive better medical care. Dani runs away to escape his father. At the same time, Mamo escapes from the farmer after attempting suicide caused by physical abuse and hitch-hikes back to Addis Ababa, and hides in a graveyard where he meets Dani who is also hiding there. They form an unexpected alliance and together join a gang of beggar street boys.


The novel has won numerous awards, including the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book of the Year Award.It even won the Stockport Schools Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Blue Peter Book Awards, the Salford Children's Book Award, the Calderdale Children's Book Award, the Lincolnshire Young People's Book Award, the Stockton Children's Book of the Year, the West Sussex Children's Book Award, the Portsmouth Book Award and the Sheffield Children's Book Award.[citation needed] .

External links[edit]