From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom

Collected by: Eric Walters

Illustrated by: Various illustrators, see information below

For Ages: any age

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Culture, Community.

Summary: This book is a collection of aphorisms from around Africa. Each page is beautifully illustrated by a different artist, with the origin of the aphorism as well as an explanation of its meaning. This book does a fabulous job of introducing the reader to a multitude of African tribes and cultures as well as different artists from all over the globe. The wisdom from these common sayings have been in practice for generations, and it is refreshing to now have their specific origin stories to share with the younger generation of readers. We have all heard, for example, “many hands make light work” but thanks to this collection by Walters, we know this phrase originated from the Haya people in Tanzania.

About the Author & the Illustrators:

eric waltersIt all began in 1993 when Eric Walters was teaching a Grade 5 class. His students were reluctant readers and writers, and Eric began to write to encourage them to become more involved in literature. His first novel, Stand Your Ground, was created for this class. It is set in the school where Eric was teaching, Vista Heights Public School, and some of the features of the community of Streetsville and many of the names of his students were incorporated into the story. Since his first novel Eric has exploded on the children’s and young adult scene. Over the past two decades he has published 96 more novels and picture books with eight scheduled for the coming years. These novels have been enthusiastically received by children and young adults and critically acclaimed by teachers, reviewers and parents. Eric’s novels have won more than 100 awards including eleven separate children’s choice awards. He is the only three-time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and four-time winner of the Red Maple Award – in which over 250,000 students participate and vote the winner. In November 2013 he received the prestigious Children’s Africana Book Award – Best Book for young children – for his book The Matatu. This American award was presented to Eric in a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. In 2017 he won the prestigious Sakura Medal give to the favorite book of International students in Japan.  Eric’s novels are now available in places as far award as New Zealand, Australia, India and Nepal and have been translated into more than a dozen languages including French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese. Eric has presented to more than 1,500,000 students across North America and internationally in Japan, Kenya and Germany. His presentations blend drama, storytelling, audience participation and interaction. He presents to students from K – Grade 12 as well as adult groups and has been a keynote speaker at a variety of conferences.


Setor Fiadzigbey is an illustrator and former aircraft trainee engineer from Accra, Ghana. He’s been drawing all his life, and he was nominated for the Golden Baobab Prize and the Kuenyehia Prize.


Rogé is a French-Canadian artist who worked in advertising before turning to illustration, painting and writing. He has twice won the Governor General’s Literary Award and numerous others. He lives in Quebec.


Toby Newsome lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. He designs and illustrates and he works in mixed media. He plays guitar, but strictly for relaxation purposes!


Xanelé Purén is a South African illustrator and designer and co-founder of See Saw Do, a spatial and interactive design studio. She won the Golden Baobab Prize, and she has a cat  named Bob.


Tom Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba, and now lives in Duluth, Georgia. He’s been an art director, principal designer and creative development manager; he’s been an artist his whole life.


Maaike Bakker is an illustrator, exhibition curator, fine artist from Pretoria, South Africa. Maaike has been illustrating for ten years and works mainly in Illustrator and Photoshop.


Joe Morse is an award winning illustrator and the Coordinator of the Bachelor of Illustration Program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. He lives in Toronto.


CLPE poetry book award winner Iain McIntosh was born in Motherwell, Scotland, and now lives in Edinburgh. He uses scratchboard, pen on paper and a digital tablet, and he’s been illustrating since the 1980’s.

melinda josie

TD Award Winner and Governor General’s Award nominee Melinda Josie grew in Muskoka, Ontario. She has been drawing and painting as long as she can remember, and she works mostly in watercolor. She lives in Toronto.


Elicser Elliott is a Toronto-based street artist whose famous aerosol murals appear all over the city. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, and grew up in the West Indies (St. Vincent). He’s been an artist for 21 years.


Award-winning artist Eugenie Fernandes was born on a big island (Long Island, New York) and now lives on a little island in Ontario. She has been writing and illustrating for 49 years.


Sindiso “R!OT” Nyoni was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and now makes his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. He’s been drawing since he was 4 years old, and he works in pen, ink and digital.


Jeannie Phan was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and now lives in Toronto. She’s been freelancing professionally for over four years; she’s been an artist for a lifetime. She’s also a horticulturalist and winner of a National Magazine Award.


Artist, teacher and illustrator Eva Campbell was born in Ghana. Her oil on canvas illustrations have won and been nominated for many awards. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


Illustrator and designer Loveis Wise was born in Washington, DC, and lives in Philadelphia. She mostly creates using digital methods, graphite and gouache, and she’s been an artist for as long as she can remember.

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