African Culture & Identity
Can you recall what you learned about Africa when you were in school? I can. We learned all of the countries and then had a test where we had to fill in a map in 7th grade. That’s it. We didn’t learn about historical figures, tribal names or territories, and we didn’t learn about traditional foods or clothing.
So let’s change that. I have for you today two books that work together beautifully, and just as good on their own. One covers each country in Africa and the other gives biographies of historical figures that are aimed at upper elementary/MG readers.
Africa, Amazing Africa: Country By Country
Published by Candlewick Press
This oversized book is amazing! It’s a must for every reference collection. The Introduction gets the reader excited to learn more by dropping really cool facts, like how no one can decide exactly how many countries make up Africa! There are fluid areas that are in the process of becoming independent and there are so many tribal nations that cross borders.
The first humans are from Africa and then went on to populate the rest of the world. There is so much rich global history in Africa itself, not to mention the individual countries and their storied legacy. The book itself is divided into sections that cover the countries in Southern, East, West, North, and Central Africa. There are also different pieces that talk about culture in general, such as hairstyles, religions, and sports.
There is so much information within these covers it’s impossible to describe. It’s one of those books that can be read cover to cover, picked up to learn about a single country, or to take a picture walk through. If you know a teacher, they need this book!
This book is being released TODAY!
African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Can I tell you how thrilled I am that this book was sent to me?? The portraits are absolutely beautiful and there are photographs of different relics interspersed as well. Each section begins with a large portrait of the figure, and then a chapter describing their life and legacy that can still be seen today.
Like Merneith, a queen who has been erased from most of history. After coming into power, she made changes. Changes like choosing men to be sacrificed instead of women to accompany a high-ranking official into the afterlife. What a badass move, honestly. The men she chose to be sacrificed were also likely to be a threat to her stronghold, a brilliant political decision on Merneith’s part.
This book doesn’t just cover royalty, but also scholars and inventors that have shaped present day life as we know it and yet have never learned about them. Well, you’ve probably heard of Aesop and his fables. But what about Terence, a North African playwright? Inside this book is so much information, and it pairs beautifully with the geographical layout of the book above.
These were both kindly sent by the publishers listed above. All opinions and decisions to review & pair are my own!