QUEEN NZINGHA by Patricia C. McKissack


Warrior Princess of Matamba
Age Range: 8 - 14
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This remarkable book tells the true story of a courageous young princess who grew to be a military leader and hero. Set in 16th-century Congo and enriched with vivid descriptions of the jungle, the story unfolds through the journal writings of Nzingha, who is 13 and about to be chosen for marriage. Nzingha yearns for the attention of her father, the leader of the Mbundu people, and fervently wishes to join him on a hunt. Nzingha is chastised for her impetuous and spirited ways, but ultimately earns her father’s praise. The defining factor of their lives, however, is the constant encroachment of their enemy, the Portuguese. As her father’s faith in her grows, Nzingha is entrusted to negotiate with the Portuguese Governor, who offers peace if her people will supply slaves to the Portuguese. She discovers that these slaves are shipped to Brazil, where they are worked often to death. When Nzingha decides to advise her father against this bargain, she is kidnapped. Folks are not what they seem through the twists and exciting turns the story suddenly takes. The journal ends with Nzingha’s safe return and marriage, but the epilogue goes on to give a synopsis of her lifelong fight to save her people from slavery and domination. With photos, woodcuts, and maps the reader is able to get a very accurate picture of this leader, who is still honored in present day Angola and Brazil. McKissack (Color Me Dark, p. 637, etc.) has written a stunning and thoroughly researched addition to the Royal Diaries series. (epilogue, historical note, family tree, photos, maps, pronunciation guide, glossary) (Historical fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-439-11210-9
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2000


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