This entry in the We Thought of It series introduces African innovations in various fields including architecture, arts and crafts, communication, musical instruments and more.
The series features co-writing by an academic expert and a member of the country or culture represented, clear, colorful design that includes numerous full-color photos and a great deal of information. A fascinating blend of tradition and modernity is evident, especially in one photo of a Maasai man in traditional clothing using a digital camera to photograph animal tracks. The innovations range from the familiar (bow and arrow; pyramids) to some that will be new to most kids (a "rondavel," or round house; "injera," a spongy bread). Although the text focuses on history of these discoveries and inventions, briefly putting them into contemporary context, there is also a helpful "Africa Today" chapter. Unfortunately, the decision to treat Africa as a single entity—other series titles focus on an individual country or people, such as The Chinese Thought of It (2009) or The Inuit Thought of It (2007)—contributes to the lack of awareness about the many different countries, languages and cultures represented on this enormous continent. The text, as opposed to the title, does address Africa's diversity, often noting that the same item or concept is known by different names throughout Africa, for example.Interesting to browse and suitable for research. (Nonfiction. 8-11)