The Symbol Of Our Mission And Logo

TThere is a saying in West Africa that the elders are living libraries. This is a sentiment that is shared among civilizations all across the world and has been honored, even in death, among the Senegalese.

Senegal in particular has a sacred tradition of oral storytelling by traveling poets, historians and musicians.These storytellers are called “Griots” or “Jeli” and they possess knowledge of family lineages, act as advisors to royal families and are tasked with leading praise songs. They served as living history books, preserving ancient stories and traditions through song. 

Senegal is also one of the few places on earth where the sacred Baobab tree grows and is often referred to as the “Tree of Life”.  The Baobab provides populations with a source of water and food, shelter, clothing and medicine. 

The trunk of this special tree is where Griots were buried in death. Senegalese believed that to bury the Griots underground would be as though history itself was being buried alive. Boabobs that still contain bones are rare. People came from all around the world to utilize the bones of these masters of knowledge and keepers of history in their own practices.

Descendants of these ancestral sages began to place the bones in secret places. In 1962, the Senegalese President Leopold Sedar Senghor banned the burial of Griots in Baobabs because of health risks associated with the decomposition of bodies, as well as being a political gesture to French influences that frowned upon the practice.  

The Baobab tree became a living mausoleum for the remains of famed local Griots and is now represented in our logo as a symbol of our By The Book mission to preserve the knowledge, wisdom, guidance, wittiness and fanciful storytelling found in books that we treasure. 

The O’s in our logo are homage to Opon Ifa, which is a divination board used in West African cultures to tell or read stories that have a permanent effect on one’s life. Similar to the affect one may have after reading a really good book. The colored version of our logo contains color tones commonly found on various West African fabrics, further connecting the two traditions in a meaningful way. 

As we begin publishing book reviews and releasing interviews with authors, we would love for you to join us in our journey to promote the power of literature and the discovery of worlds we may have never known.

You can directly contribute to our mission by reading/sharing our book reviews and interviews and engaging with us in meaningful dialogue via our IG @ByTheBookClub. And feel free to contact us directly at:

Thanks for your support,

By The Book: Book Club, 

“For Those Who Treasure Words.”