Africa

Written and Illustrated by Karen Katz

Although written for earliest readers, this is a beautiful, informational and inspirational book for any age!  Karen’s Katz’s beautiful illustrations take you through the seven days of Kwanzaa and the activities that one family does to celebrate each day.

It’s wonderful to watch principles or concepts such as “creativity, faith, self-determination, and helping our neighborhood grow” come alive on the pages of this book.  A great book for reading or reading aloud at holiday time to inspire the question… what do the holidays mean to you?

Suggested Reading Level – Ages 3 and up.




A simple way to get acquainted with Kwanzaa

"Hooray! Hooray!
It's time to get ready for Kwanzaa."

During the seven days of Kwanzaa we celebrate the importance of family, friends, and community. This warm and lively introduction to a very special holiday will help even the youngest children join in!

Author and illustrator Karen Katz kicks off a wonderful new series of picture books for the very young with My First Kwanzaa. The series will offer a simple and fun way to get familiar with the traditions of holiday celebrations from different cultures.

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Written By Margaret Musgrove, Illustrated By Leo and Diane Dillon

Africa is a large and diverse continent.

This beautiful book takes an ABC approach to exploring some of the cultures found throughout Africa.  Although a short book can’t tell a complete story of African heritage, the beautiful illustrations and short descriptions of various cultures are enough to make any reader – young or older- want to learn more.

How do people live? What do they like to grow and eat?  How do people dress and what are their families or celebrations like?  What games do the children play?  This book allows you to take a whirlwind trip throughout Africa as an introduction to its rich and diverse cultural heritage.




Artists Leo and Diane Dillon won their second consecutive Caldecott Medal for this stunning ABC of African culture. "Another virtuoso performance. . . . Such an astute blend of aesthetics and information is admirable, the child's eye will be rewarded many times over."--Booklist. ALA Notable Book; Caldecott Medal.
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Written By Margy Burns Knight

Illustrated By Anne Sibley O’Brien

Africa is a broad and diverse land.  This book shares short vignettes of how life is different in 53 countries that make up the African continent.

Bright illustrations share everyday activities such as going to school on a busy street in Cairo, practicing a traditional dance in Nigeria, children drawing their impressions of the war in Rwanda and kids dreaming of being professional runners in Kenya. Although it’s hard to compress so many traditions and cultures into a short title aimed at young readers, this book is a welcome starting point to explore the diversity of the continent in a way that encourages the reader to want to learn more.



Africa Is Not A Country (Paperback)

By (author): Margy Burns Knight

Demonstrates the diversity of the African continent by describing daily life in some of its fifty-three nations.
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Written By John Steptoe

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a Cinderella tale beautifully in Zimbabwe.  Written by John Steptoe, the story was inspired by a folktale of that region published in the late 1800’s and the names of the characters are from the Shona language of Zimbabwe.

The book tells the tale of a village elder and his two daughters whose personalities are as different as night and day. When a King from a nearby town declared his intention to find a wife, the real action of the story begins.  As both girls travel to the main city to meet the King, they encounter obstacles that turn out to be tests of character.  How both girls handle the situations determine who is seen as fit to marry the King.  And there’s another plot twist that will surprise you, but you’ll have to pick up the book to find out what it is.

Although the “Cinderlla story” is well known, this book is so well written and lushly illustrated that you may find yourself lost in the tale or rereading it time and time again.  It’s just that good.




The tale of Mufaro's two daughters, two beautiful girls who react in different ways to the king's search for a wife - one is aggressive and selfish, the other kind and dignified. The king takes on disguises to learn the true nature of both girls andof course chooses Nyasha, the kind and generous daughter, to be his queen.
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Aug
26

Rain School

Written and Illustrated by James Rumford

Can you imagine going to school and your first task is making the building you will have your classes in?  This short but powerful book was written based on experiences that author, James Rumford, and his wife had while teaching school in the country of Chad in Africa. Rumford had seen many makeshift schools set up during the dry season and then washed away completely when the rainy season came.  The next year, the school would have to be built again from the ground up.

In “Rain School” readers get to see the school year through the eyes of a young scholar named Thomas who has his first year at just such a “rain school”. What is his first year of studies like?  He asks his brothers and sisters so many questions.  Will there be paper, pencils?  A desk?  Will he learn to read like his older friends and relatives?  The story of how Thomas helps to build the walls, the roof and mud desks sets the stage for the many things his dedicated and enthusiastic teacher shares with him and his class.  And the best part of this story?  The following year, when Thomas is an older student, he is able to help the younger ones do the very things that he learned the previous year.

This is a wonderful book for sharing how schools and schooling are different from country to country, around the world.



Rain School (Hardcover)

By (author): James Rumford

It is the first day of school in Chad, Africa. Children are filling the road.

"Will they give us a notebook?" Thomas asks.
"Will they give us a pencil?”
"Will I learn to read?"

But when he and the other children arrive at the schoolyard, they find no classroom, no desks. Just a teacher. "We will build our school," she says. "This is our first lesson."

James Rumford, who lived in Chad as a Peace Corps volunteer, fills these pages with the vibrant colors of Africa and the spare words of a poet to show how important learning is in a country where only a few children are able to go to school.

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Written by Angela Shelf Medearis, Illustrated by Daniel Minter

This is a wonderful folktale style story with glorious illustrations that seems to embody the very spirit of Kwanzaa.  The tale starts with a father who has lost his wife and must take care of his seven sons all by himself.  Although the sons have many blessings, it seems that all they can do is fight all day long.  However, when their father passes away, he has left them with a test.  If they turn seven spools of thread into gold in one day without fighting, they can have all that was his.

How will the boys accomplish this?  And what will be discovered when they learn to work together instead of fighting all day long?  Will they learn the seven principals of Kwanzaa during their struggle to turn thread into gold?  And will they find a way to benefit everyone in their village instead of just their own personal needs?  Pick up this beautifully illustrated book to discover how the boys solved this tough riddle and in the process, learned how to put the seven principles of Kwanzaa into action.

Without giving away more of the story, the book also mentions kente cloth and offers an easy-to-do hand weaving project (similar to those used in Africa) that is perfect for small hands or beginning crafters.  I’m off to try making a kente style belt today!

This is a beautiful book for so many reasons! Perfect for any home school or classroom library!

 

 




In an African village live seven brothers who make life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread or they will be turned out as beggars.
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Written by Verna Aardema
This wonderful “Reading Rainbow” book is loosely based on a folktale from Kenya.  Ki-Pat is a herder out on the plain in Africa who knows that everyone in his village needs rain and they may not survive.  But what can he do, and how do his actions change everything?  The answer is an engaging read-aloud or read-along selection that will easily become a child’s or a classroom favorite.  It’s a beautiful folk tale turned into a classic children’s book!
 Suggested Reading level: Ages 4-8



The rainy season is late and the plains of Africa are brown and dry. A herdsman named Ki-pat helps to bring the rain.
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