|Kitintale by Yann Gross|
Kitintale by Yann Gross was one of the first books I cataloged for the Best Books feature, and it captured my interest right away. I was excited to see that we had a review copy of it the other day and was not disappointed with it. The book is beautiful -- well laid out with very nicely reproduced images, despite being printed on newsprint. The soft-textured cream colored newsprint adds to the overall feel of the book -- the images themselves are both saturated yet soft -- the general color palate reflects the hazy blue-gray sky and adobe colored earth of Kitintale. Without a staple binding, this book is a bit unruly to flip through when holding, but it's a book you'll want to sit down at a table with, closely inspecting each image before moving on.
The title comes from a working class suburb of Kampala, Uganda, the home of what is thought to be the first half-pipe in East Africa. In 2006, two kids began construction of the half-pipe, dodging the government taxes and regulations on buildings by telling officials that the "house" they were building was for crocodiles. Though the project baffled the neighbors, skateboarding took on, growing from a group of five kids sharing one board and skating barefoot to needing to enlarge the park to accommodate all the new skaters. With some support from a Canadian skateboarder, they formed the Uganda Skateboard Union and found the materials to expand their park.
Most images are accompanied by captions and additional text appears at intervals throughout the book. It is presented in a plastic slip-case that has been screen printed by Gross. A really fantastic book -- an engaging project well photographed and just as well presented. -- Sarah Bradley
The Uganda Skateboard Union has a website full of photos from the construction of the skatepark and the kids, as well as more information and how to donate money, old gear, and visit the park.