AFRICA, AMAZING AFRICA

COUNTRY BY COUNTRY

This loving tribute is absolutely dazzling.

Established storyteller Atinuke, of Anna Hibiscus fame, introduces every country on the African continent.

Africa is enormous. Africa is diverse. The people, the geography, the languages, the religions, the living conditions, the animals, the political systems—discovering all the differences and interesting facts becomes an adventure in this fascinating collection. The book’s introduction offers samples of the amazing historical and contemporary distinctions unique to the continent. Each region is introduced in a double-page spread with an illustrated map featuring animals and buildings, flora and minerals, text with welcome written in a plethora of regional languages, a list of the countries in the region, and a survey of some special features of the region. Within the sections, each country is represented on one page, with a paragraph of descriptive text, a colorful half-page illustration, and one to three interesting facts. The text is lively and engaging, concisely conveying the astounding richness of history and culture that make the continent of Africa so exciting to explore. Small wonder that Atinuke can make a nonfiction book every bit as fun to follow as a storybook. Readers will leave this volume full of new, amazing views and eager to discover more about the familiar and unfamiliar territories covered here. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This loving tribute is absolutely dazzling. (index, resources) (Nonfiction. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0537-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

CELEBRATE KWANZAA

WITH CANDLES, COMMUNITY, AND THE FRUITS OF THE HARVEST

From the Holidays Around the World series

A good-enough introduction to a contested festivity but one that’s not in step with the community it’s for.

An overview of the modern African-American holiday.

This book arrives at a time when black people in the United States have had intraracial—some serious, some snarky—conversations about Kwanzaa’s relevance nowadays, from its patchwork inspiration that flattens the cultural diversity of the African continent to a single festive story to, relatedly, the earnest blacker-than-thou pretentiousness surrounding it. Both the author and consultant Keith A. Mayes take great pains—and in painfully simplistic language—to provide a context that attempts to refute the internal arguments as much as it informs its intended audience. In fact, Mayes says in the endnotes that young people are Kwanzaa’s “largest audience and most important constituents” and further extends an invitation to all races and ages to join the winter celebration. However, his “young people represent the future” counterpoint—and the book itself—really responds to an echo of an argument, as black communities have moved the conversation out to listen to African communities who critique the holiday’s loose “African-ness” and deep American-ness and moved on to commemorate holidays that have a more historical base in black people’s experiences in the United States, such as Juneteenth. In this context, the explications of Kwanzaa’s principles and symbols and the smattering of accompanying activities feel out of touch.

A good-enough introduction to a contested festivity but one that’s not in step with the community it’s for. (resources, bibliography, glossary, afterword) (Nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2849-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2017

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Close Quickview