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books with African characters

(35 Posts)
delphinedownunder Mon 25-Feb-13 03:26:05

I am a teacher in NZ and i have a new child in my class who is from Zimbabwe. I have been all through our library and the number of books we have that include African characters or even faces is really limited - lots of Maori and Pacific children as you would expect, but African families are just so rare outside of the small number of schools with Somalian refuge children and so are widely available books that include African faces. Today i found a non fiction book about breakfasts around the world that included photos of an African family and the child was so excited. She cried out "These people are just like me, look!" I am desperately looking for some more books I can buy from the UK to read to the class - so far, i have identified the Handa books and the Akimbo books. Any more suggestions?

SavoyCabbage Mon 25-Feb-13 04:03:42

I think you are wonderful for doing this. I live in Melbourne and when I gave my dd's prep teacher a picture book with black Cinderella in, I think she thought I was mad.

I think my dd finds it really hard that she is not represented in any of the things she sees at school here.

How old is your class?

jetstar Mon 25-Feb-13 04:12:37

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman - is that the sort of thing you are looking for? I'm a teacher interested in children's books and I'm sure I have read more books with African characters - will keep thinking smile

SavoyCabbage Mon 25-Feb-13 04:37:31

There are picture and early chapter books in the Amazing Grace series.

There are a series of fairy tale books by 'jump at the sun'

Bernard Ashley has written some lovely books. Our favourite is Double the Love.

Floella Benjamin has written picture books.

madamehooch Mon 25-Feb-13 08:28:04

The Jamela books by Nikki Daley.

Trish Cooke's 'Full Full full of Love' and 'So Much.'

SnowWoman Mon 25-Feb-13 08:41:44

Try the No 1 Car Spotter series by Atinuke, set in South Africa,

Picture books that come to mind are Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, The Village of Round and Square Houses (Ann Grifalconi), Eat Up, Gemma (Sarah Hayes)

I'll see if anything else comes to mind...

geogteach Mon 25-Feb-13 08:57:55

Anna Hibiscus books also by Atinuke.

ArbitraryUsername Mon 25-Feb-13 09:02:41

This is a list of children's book by the African books collective. Presumably there will be plenty of African characters to be found.

DuchessofMalfi Mon 25-Feb-13 14:11:58

You got there before me geogteach grin My daughter's read a couple of them and enjoyed them. Lovely little stories. We liked the one where Anna went to visit her aunt in Canada and experienced snow for the first time.

Moominsarehippos Mon 25-Feb-13 14:14:01

Handa's Surpise?

Leeds2 Mon 25-Feb-13 16:19:20

I work as a volunteer in a school library, and recently ordered a quantity of books from, who specialise in multi cultural books. Might be worth taking a look to give you some ideas. The children at my school love Amazing Grace.

Takver Mon 25-Feb-13 18:00:19

Not sure what age your pupils are, OP, but if they're younger there's an Anna Hibiscus picture book, too (Anna Hibiscus's Song I think is the title)

BigSpork Mon 25-Feb-13 18:07:50

Lots of great books on here already.

If it's appropriate for the age you use colouring book/pages/stickers, is great. The colouring books come with a couple pages of stickers in the back.

Theas18 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:11:43

Alexander McCall Smith (he of the No 1 detective agency) has written kids books for older than picture books- short chapters

GobblersKnob Mon 25-Feb-13 18:11:48

Quite a few here Handa's Surprise is a great book, both of mine loved it.

timtam23 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:07:33

As well as Handa, Jamela etc we have these 3 books at home which are African stories

The Honey Hunters by Francesca Martin - a traditional African folk tale with absolutely beautiful illustrations

Esther and the Baby Baboon by Susan Gates - this is (I think) based in West Africa but the illustrations and animals would be familiar to your pupil I'm sure. It's for slightly older readers but would be a lovely one to read to a class. I got mine in a 2nd hand shop, I think it is now out of print - can't find it to buy new anywhere -but it is on UK Ebay for 99p with worldwide postal options!

African Animals ABC by Philippa Alys-Browne , this is an ABC with gorgeous illustrations - Southern Africa I think so would perhaps be very familiar animals for a Zimbabwean child

timtam23 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:10:42

In fact have just seen on Amazon UK that the Animals ABC author is Zimbabwean!

QueenofDreams Mon 25-Feb-13 22:15:37

There's one I remember from school called Bonolo and the Peach Tree by Jabulo Ndebele. I should remember more to be honest as I grew up in Africa and we read LOADS of books by African authors with African characters but that's the only one I can remember!

timtam23 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:19:52

Am on a roll now!

Mama Panya's Pancakes is another one (based in Kenya)

A is for Africa (another ABC book - lovely photographs)

We All Went On Safari (my son's class - age 4 & 5 - read this book as part of their "Africa week" school project)

We're Going On A Lion Hunt (another one from my son's class!)

timtam23 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:27:08

Have also heard very good things about Chidi Only Likes Blue (by the same author as A is for Africa - Nigrian)

timtam23 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:27:49

oops *Nigerian

thornrose Mon 25-Feb-13 22:37:29

So much by Trish Cooke, it's about an African American family, my mixed race dd loved it.

KatherinaMinola Mon 25-Feb-13 22:44:10

DD likes The Boy on the Beach by Niki Daly.

jetstar Tue 26-Feb-13 00:03:44

The Hunter by Paul Geraghty is a nice story.
An angel just like me by Mary Hoffman
If you search Mary Hoffman on Amazon it comes up with all sorts of books featuring African children! I like the look of 'I love my hair' smile

Leeds2 Tue 26-Feb-13 16:53:02

I Love my Hair is brilliant!

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