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Africa – Picture Books

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Picture books which take place in specific African countries (see note):
Algeria ; Angola ; Benin ; Botswana ; Burkina Faso ; Burundi ; Cameroon ; Cape Verde ; Central African Republic ; Chad ; Comoros ; Democratic Republic of the Congo ; Republic of the Congo ; Cote D’Ivoire ; Djibouti ; Egypt ; Equatorial Guinea ; Eritrea ; Ethiopia ; Gabon ; The Gambia ; Ghana ; Guinea ; Guinea-Bissau ; Kenya ; Lesotho ; Liberia ; Libya ; Madagascar ; Malawi ; Mali ; Mauritania ; Mauritius ; Mayotte ; Morocco ; Mozambique ; Namibia ; Niger ; Nigeria ; Rwanda ; Saint Helena ; Sao Tome and Principe ; Senegal ; Saychelles ; Sierra Leone ; Somalia ; South Africa ; Sudan ; Swaziland ; Tanzania ; Togo ; Tunisia ; Uganda ; Western Sahara ; Zambia ; Zimbabwe

AFRICA (download .doc) or  AFRICA (download .pdf)


The Sabbath Lion: a Jewish Folktale from Algeria by Howard Schwartz (HarperCollins 1992)
FOLKTALE. Because of Yosef’s devotion to honoring the Sabbath, he is given special protection by a great lion during a dangerous journey through the desert.


It Takes a Village by Jane Cowen-Fletcher (Scholastic 1993)
On market day in a small village in Benin, Yemi tries to watch her little brother Kokou and finds that the entire village is watching out for him too.

The Market Lady and the Mango Tree by Pete Watson (Tambourine 1994)
A sly merchant gets rich when she devises a contraption for collecting mangos, but a dream teachs her a lesson about greed.

Only One Cowry: A Dahomean Tale by Phillis Gershator (Orchard 2000)
FOLKTALE. A clever young fellow persuades an equally clever chief’s daughter to marry the king of Dahomey, and both the young man and future queen prosper in the bargain.

Fire Came to the Earth People: A Dahomean Folktale by Susan L. Roth (St. Martin’s 1988)
FOLKTALE. The earth animals fail in every attempt to capture fire from the selfish moon god Mawu, until Chameleon and Tortoise combine their talents and help bring light and warmth to the newly-created earth.


Chubbo’s Pool by Betsy Lewin (Clarion 1996)
A selfish hippopotamus, who will not share his pool with the other animals, learns a lesson about cooperation and sharing.

Bashi, Elephant Baby by Theresa Radcliffe (Viking 1998)
This story was inspired by the wildlife film: Reflections on elephants, from the series: The savage paradise, a National Geographic Production produced by Wildlife Films, Botswana.

Elephant Quest by Ted Lewin (HarperCollins, 2000)
NONFICTION. Recounts an expedition through the Moremi Wildlife Reserve in Botswana, describing the vegetation and wildlife, and culminating in the sighting of an African elephant herd. [591.968]


The Water Princess by Susan Verde (Putnam’s, 2016)
The story of one young girl’s quest to bring clean drinking water to her African village. [the author grew up in Burkina Faso and the story is based on her childhood experience]


The Fortune-Tellers by Lloyd Alexander (Penguin 1992)
A carpenter in the West African country of Cameroon goes to a fortune teller and finds the predictions about his future coming true in an unusual way.

Madoulina: A Girl Who Wanted to Go to School by Joel Eboueme Bognomo (Boyds Mills 1999)
When her mother needs her to work all day in the marketplace, a girl finds a way of continuing her education.

Oh, No, Toto! by Katrin Hyman Tchana (Scholastic 1997)
Little Toto loves to eat, and when he toes with his grandmother to the marketplace, he eats everything in sight, leaving chaos in his wake. Includes a glossary of Cameroonian foods and a recipe for egussi soup.

The Market Bowl by Jim Averbeck (Charlesbridge 2013)
FOLKTALE. In this tale from Cameroon, Yoyo has to make amends when she offends Brother Coin, the Great Spirit of the Market, by asking too high a price for her bitterleaf stew. Includes a recipe for a version of bitterleaf stew.

The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi (Little Brown 1986)
FOLKTALE. A grandmother explains to her listeners why in their village on the side of a volcano the men live in square houses and the women in round ones. A Caldecott Honor Book.

Vacation in the Village: A Story From West Africa by Pierre Yves Njeng (Boyds Mills 1999)
FOLKTALE. A young African boy overcomes his preconceptions of what life must be like in rural villages when his family vacations there for the summer. While visiting, the boy makes friends, learns old customs, and learns to hunt.

Sense Pass King by Katrin Hyman Tchana (Holiday House 2002)
FOLKTALE. Despite a jealous king’s repeated attempts to get rid of her, Ma’antah continually manages to outwit him and proves herself worthy of the name Sense Pass King.


Rain School by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
The children arrive on the first day of school and build a mud structure to be their classroom for the next nine months until the rainy season comes and washes it all away.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (formerly known as Zaire)

Rickie & Henri: A True Story by Jane Goodall (Dutton 2004)
When her human guardian goes on a business trip, Ricki, an orphaned chimpanzee infant, adopts Henri, a shaggy dog, as her “mother.”

Looking for Miza by Craig, Juliana & Isabella Hatkoff (Scholastic 2008)
In a magical place called the Congo, in the beautiful forests and jungles of Virunga National Park, lives a young female mountain gorilla named Miza. She was just like any other baby gorilla, riding on her mother’s back, playing, taking naps. Then, one day, when Miza and her mother were out searching for food, Miza’s mother disappeared, leaving her baby alone and frightened. Miza’s father, a fierce silverback named Kabirizi and the leader of Virunga’s largest family of mountain gorillas, set out to find Miza.

Monkey for Sale by Sanna Stanley (Farrar 2002)
With etchings combined with vibrant collage, Stanley tells a lively story about two friends who embark on an elaborate chain of barter and bargaining to rescue a monkey. (BWI)

Monkey Sunday by Sanna Stanley (Farrar 1998)
Young Luzolo tries very hard to sit still while her father preaches at the village Matondo, a celebration of thanksgiving, but when a puppy, chickens, pigs, goats, and a monkey show up, it is very difficult.

The Rains are Coming by Sanna Stanley (Greenwillow 1993)
As Aimee, the daughter of a missionary in Zaire, gathers her friends for a party, the sky grows more and more threatening.

Traveling to Tondo: A Tale of the Nkundo of Zaire by Verna Aardema (Knopf 1991)
FOLKTALE. On his way to his wedding, with his friends as attendants, a civet cat meets with extraordinary and unexpected delays.

Beeswax Catches a Thief: From a Congo Folktale by Ann Kirn (Norton, 1968)*
FOLKTALE. Since only those animals who helped create the pond are allowed to drink from it, the jungle creatures set a beeswax trap to capture the inconsiderate and lazy jackal.

Tale of a Crocodile: From a Congo Folktale by Ann Kirn (Norton, 1968)*
FOLKTALE. When selfish old Crocodile will not move off the plantain which Rabbit would like for lunch, Rabbit realizes that he cannot rely on the other animals to scare Crocodile back to the river; so he calls his family together and they do the job themselves.


Api and the Boy Stranger: A Village Creation Tale by Patricia Roddy (Dial 1994)*
FOLKTALE. In this Ivory Coast legend, Api and her family are repaid for their kindness to a stranger with a mysterious warning to leave their village and go to the other side of the river Amman.


The Mystery of King Karfu by Doug Cushman (HarperCollins 1996)
The great detective Seymour Sleuth and his assistant Muggs journey to Egypt to search for a missing stone chicken, an important clue to the location of the Lost Treasure of King Karfu.

Clever Ali by Nancy Farmer (Orchard 2006)
When seven-year-old Ali’s greedy pet steals cherries from the wicked Sultan for whom his father keeps carrier pigeons, Ali is given three days to find 600 new cherries or his father will be thrown into the deep, dark oubliette. Includes facts about carrier pigeons and the sultan on whom this story is based, as well as an excerpt from “In Praise of Books” by al-Jahiz.

Muti’s Necklace by Louise Hawes (Houghton Mifflin 2006)
Muti treasures the necklace her father gave her so much that she risks the wrath of Egypt’s pharaoh when it falls into the water. Based on an ancient Egyptian story.

The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide (Lothrop 1990)
A young Egyptian boy describes the city of Cairo as he goes about his daily work and waits for the evening to share a special surprise with his family.

What’s the Matter, Habibi? by Betsy Lewin (Clarion 1997)
One day, instead of following Ahmed around in a circle giving children rides, Habibi the camel runs through the bazaar with Ahmed following him and trying to figure out what is wrong.


Trouble by Jane Kurtz (Harcourt 1997)
This circular tale of Tekleh begins with a wooden game board given to him to occupy him as he tends the goats. Through a series of trades, the boy ends up with a game board, albeit a different one.

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore (Lee & Low, 2011)
A cumulative verse, alternating with additional narrative, describes the ecological and social transformation resulting from the work of Dr. Gordon Sato, a Japanese American cell biologist who made saltwater and desert land productive through the planting of mangrove trees in the tiny African country of Eritrea.


A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World by Christine Ieronimo (Walker books, 2014)
Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu.

The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela by Cristina Kessler (Holiday House 2006)
In the Ethiopian mountain village of Lalibela, famous for its churches and honey, a young girl determines to find a way to be a beekeeper despite being told that is something only men can do.

Only a Pigeon by Jane Kurtz (Simon & Schuster 1997)
Ondu-ahlem carefully trains his pigeons and prepares them for the day when he and other Ethiopian boys test the homing instinct and loyalty of their precious birds. Homing pigeons.

Pulling the Lion’s Tail by Jane Kurtz (Simon & Schuster 1995)
Her grandfather finds a clever way to help an impatient young Ethiopian girl get to know her father’s new wife.

New Shoes for Helen by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2011)
Helen, a young girl living in Ethiopia, searches her house for the perfect shoes to wear to her aunt’s wedding, and when she cannot find the right pair, Helen goes to the market with Mama to buy new shoes.

Day of Delight: A Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia by Maxine Rose Schur (Dial 1994)
Follows a young Ethiopian Jewish boy and his family through their typical daily routine, followed by preparation for and celebration of the Sabbath.

When I Left My Village by Maxine Rose Schur (Dial 1996)
An Ethiopian Jewish family leaves their oppressed mountain village to make a difficult and treacherous journey in the hope of reaching freedom in Israel.

On the Wings of Eagles: An Ethiopian Boy’s Story by Jeffrey Schrier (Millbrook 1998)
A Jewish Ethiopian boy recounts the story of Israel’s 1991 airlift rescue of his threatened people.

Yuvi’s Candy Tree by Lesley Simpson (Kar-Ben 2011)
Fleeing famine in her native Ethiopia, five-year-old Yuvi is sure she will have a candy tree when she arrives in Jerusalem

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams (Lee & Low 2005)
Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek thousands of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.


Amoko and Efua Bear by Sonia Appiah (Macmillan 1988)
Amoko, a little girl living in Ghana, takes her favorite teddy bear everywhere that she goes and is heartbroken when she thinks he’s lost.

Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare (Kane/Miller 2002)
When a great storm threatens, Sosu, an African boy who is unable to walk, joins his dog Fusa in helping save their village.

Kente Colors by Debbi Chocolate (Walker 1996)
A rhyming description of the kente cloth costumes of the Ashanti and Ewe people of Ghana and a portrayal of the symbolic colors and patterns.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway (Kids Can, 2008)
Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many.

Grandma Comes to Stay by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2010)
Three-year-old Stephanie works hard to help get ready for a visit from Grandma and she is rewarded by special gifts only a grandmother can give.


Ndito Runs by Laurie Halse Anderson (Holt 1996)
A Kenyan girl runs past the thatch-covered homes in her village, up the hillside, through the grassland, by the water hole, on her way to school.

First Come the Zebra by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low 2009)
When two young Kenyan boys, one Maasai and one Kikuyu, first meet, they are hostile toward each other based on traditional rivalries, but after they suddenly have to work together to save a baby in danger, the boys begin to discover what they have in common.

Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary Chamberlin (Barefoot Books 2005)
Mama Panya has just enough money to buy ingredients for a few pancakes, so when her son Adika invites all their friends to join them, she is sure there will not be enough to go around.

Lila and the Secret of Rain by David Conway (Frances Lincoln, 2008)
Lila’s village in Kenya is experiencing a terrible drought. When Lila’s grandfather tells her the secret of rain, she sets off on her own to save her village.

Chirchir is Singing by Kelly Cunnane (Schwartz & Wade 2011)
Chirchir wants to help her family with their daily chores, but each of their tasks proves too challenging for her.

For You are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cunnane (Atheneum 2006)
From rooster crow to bedtime, a Kenyan boy plays and visits neighbors all through his village, even though he is supposed to be watching his grandfather’s cows.

Muktar and the Camels by Janet Graber (Henry Holt 2009)
Muktar, an eleven-year-old refugee living in a Kenyan orphanage, dreams of tending camels again, as he did with his nomadic family in Somalia, and has a chance to prove himself when a traveling librarian with an injured camel arrives at his school.

Papa Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse (Chronicle 2004)
When a Masai father in Africa answers his son’s questions, the boy learns that his father’s love for him is unconditional.

Nanta’s Lion: A Search and Find Adventure by Suse MacDonald (Morrow 1995)
A Masai child is curious to see the lion that her father and the other villagers are hunting.

My Sister’s Wedding: A Story of Kenya by Waithira Mbuthia (Soundprints, 2002)

Water for One, Water for Everyone by Stephen R. Swinburne (Millbrook 1998)
A counting tale in which native animals, from one tortoise to ten elephants, arrive at a Kenyan waterhole.

Hope Springs by Eric Walters (Tundra, 2014)
Set in a Kenyan village, a group of orphans are thrown out of the line for water when a drought hits the area, so when the orphanage gets its own well, one of the orphans has an idea to help the villagers.

My Name is Blessing by Eric Walters (Tundra, 2013)
A young Kenyan boy with disabilities named Muthini lives with his grandmother and eight cousins, but when his grandmother is no longer able to take care of him the two set out on a journey that will change the young boy’s life, and his name, forever.

How the Ostrich Got its Long Neck: A Tale from the Akamba of Kenya by Verna Aardema (Scholastic 1995)*
FOLKTALE. A tale from the Akamba people of Kenya that explains why the ostrich has such a long neck.


One Round Moon and a Star for Me by Ingrid Mennen (Orchard 1994)
A young boy of rural Lesotho needs reassurance that his father is still his papa, too, when a new baby is born into the family.


Koi and the Kola Nuts: A Tale from Liberia by Verna Aardema (Atheneum 1999)
FOLKTALE. An African folktale in which the son of the chief must make his way in the world with only a sackful of kola nuts and the help of some creatures that he has treated with kindness.

The Vingananee and the Tree Toad: A Liberian Tale by Verna Aardema (Warne, 1983)
FOLKTALE. A strange animal called the Vingananee beats up all the other animals and eats their stew until the tiny Tree Toad offers to fight him.

Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye (Holt 2002)
FOLKTALE. In this tale from the Dan people of Liberia, Head, Arms, Body, and Legs learn that they do better when they work together.

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye (Holt 2003)
FOLKTALE. When a crocodile captures Mrs. Chicken and takes her to an island to fatten her up, clever Mrs. Chicken claims that she can prove they are sisters and that, therefore, the crocodile shouldn’t eat her.


Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams (Lothrop 1990)
Walking through his village, a young African boy finds the materials to make a special toy.

When Africa Was Home by Karen Lynn Williams (Orchard 1991)
After returning to the United States, Peter’s whole family misses the warmth and friendliness of their life in Africa; so Peter’s father looks for another job there.

The Mean Hyena: A Folktale from Malawi retold by Judy Sierra (Dutton, 1997)
FOLKTALE. After suffering as a victim of one of Fisi the hyena’s nasty tricks, Kamba the tortoise offers to paint new coats for all the animals as a way of getting revenge on Fisi.


I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite (Scholastic 2006)
While visiting her father’s family in Mali, a young girl loses a tooth, places it under a calabash, and receives a hen and a rooster from the African Tooth Fairy.

The Everlasting Embrace by Gabrielle Emanuel (Viking, 2014)
A young child describes her experiences of life in Mali as she spends a day carried in a blanket on her mother’s back.

Yatandou by Gloria Whelan (Sleeping Bear 2007)
Eight-year-old Yatandou helps the women of her Mali village raise enough money to buy a machine that will replace their pounding sticks.

My Baby by Jeanette Winter (Farrar 2001)
As she waits for her baby to be born, a young African woman describes some of the sights and sounds of her Mali homeland as she creates a beautiful bogolan cloth for her child.

The Hatseller and the Monkeys by Baba Wague Diakite (Scholastic 1999)
FOLKTALE. An African version of the familiar story of a man who sets off to sell his hats, only to have them stolen by a treeful of mischievous monkeys.

The Magic Gourd by Baba Wague Diakite (Scholastic 2003)
FOLKTALE. Brother Rabbit and Chameleon teach a greedy king the importance of generosity and friendship.


The Butter Man by Elizabeth Alalou (Charlesbridge 2008)*
While Nora waits for the couscous her father is cooking to be finished, he tells her a story about his youth in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Mirror by Jeannie Baker (Candlewick 2010)*
In Sydney, Australia, and in Morocco, two boys and their families have a day of shopping. Readers are invited to compare illustrations in two wordless stories that are intended to be read one from left to right and the other from right to left.

Zorah’s Magic Carpet by Stefan Czernecki (Hyperion 1995)
A Moroccan woman’s magic carpet takes her to faraway places which provide inspiration for her to create other beautiful carpets.

The Bachelor and the Bean by Shelley Fowles (Farrar 2003)
FOLKTALE. In this Jewish folktale from Morocco, a bachelor receives a magic pot from an imp, but it is stolen by an old woman.

My Father’s Shop by Satomi Ichikawa (Kane/Miller 2006)
Come visit Mustafa in his favorite place in all of Morocco, his fathers shop. There, amongst the beautiful rugs, is an entire world of colors, textiles and languages.

The Storytellers by Ted Lewin (Lothrop 1998)
Abdul and Grandfather pass through the streets of Fez, Morocco, and stop at an old gate, where Grandfather performs as a storyteller.

Ali, Child of the Desert by Jonathan London (Lothrop 1997)
On a trip to the Moroccan market town of Rissani, Ali becomes separated from his father during a sandstorm.

The Nightingale by Jerry Pinkney (Phyllis Fogelman 2002)
FOLKTALE. Despite being neglected by the emperor for a jewel-studded bird, the little nightingale revives the dying ruler with its beautiful song.


Catch That Goat! by Polly Alakija (Barefoot 2002)*
Ayoka is put in charge of the family goat, who promptly vanishes and runs through the town’s market stalls taking whatever looks tasty.

The Story of Lightning & Thunder by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum 1993)
FOLKTALE. In this retelling of a West African tale, Ma Sheep Thunder and her impetuous son Ram Lightning are forced to leave their home on Earth because of the trouble Ram causes.

The Magic Tree: A Folktale from Nigeria by T. Obinkaram Echewa (Morrow 1999)
Although Mbi, an orphan boy, is constantly asked to “do this” and “do that” by his many unkind relatives until a special tree grows, just for him.

The Flying Tortoise: An Igbo Tale by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1994)
FOLKTALE. Mbeku, the greedy tortoise, gets himself invited to the banquet in Skyland, but is trapped with no way to get back to Earth in this Igbo tale of why the tortoise has a checkered shell.

Bikes for Rent! by Isaac Olaleye (Orchard 2001)
Lateef, a poor young boy living in a village in western Nigeria, works hard so he can rent a bicycle and ride with the other boys.

Bitter Bananas by Isaac Olaleye (Caroline House 1994)
When baboons begin stealing the sweet palm sap that Yusuf sells at the market near his Nigerian village, what is he to do?

Lake of the Big Snake: An African Rain Forest Adventure by Isaac Olaleye (Boyds Mills 1998)
Ade and Tayo live in an African rainforest village. Their mothers have warned them not to play by the Big Lake. But they can’t resist the lure of the jungle and of course, meet up with ‘the big snake’. (BWI)

A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Cobblehill 1993)
The author, a member of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria, presents text and her own photographs of twenty-six things, from A to Z, representative of all African peoples.

Emeka’s Gift: An African Counting Story by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Cobblehill 1995)
Emeka goes to visit his grandmother and wishes to take her a present. As he passes through the market he sees lots of things she would like, but with no money, he could not buy anything. Would Granny understand? The story is illustrated with photographs taken in Emeka’s village in Nigeria.

Grandfather’s Work: A Traditional Healer in Nigeria by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Millbrook 1998)
A child describes the work of his grandfather, a traditional healer in a Nigerian village, comparing it to the work of other family members. Include information about plants used in healing.

Ife’s First Haircut by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Frances Lincoln, 2014)
Chinaza, a young girl from Nigeria, is excitedly preparing for her baby brother Ife’s first haircut and the family party to celebrate it.

My Grandfather is a Magician by Ifeoma Onyefulu (Millbrook, 1998)
A child describes the work of his grandfather, a traditional healer in a Nigerian village, comparing it to the work of other family members.

Chinye: A West African Folk Tale by Obi Onyefulu (viking 1994)
FOLKTALE. Chinye lives with her cruel stepmother and lazy stepsister, but her life changes for the better when a mysterious old woman in the forest directs her to a magic gourd.

Amadi’s Snowman by Katia Novet Saint-Lot (Tilbury House 2008)
As a young Igbo man, Amadi does not understand why his mother insists he learn to read, since he already knows his numbers and will be a businessman one day, but an older boy teaches him the value of learning about the world through books.

Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria by Aaron Shepard (HarperCollins 2001)
FOLKTALE. A boastful strong man learns a lesson harder than his muscles when he encounters one of Nigeria’s superheroes in this Hausa tale which explains the origin of thunder.

The Day Ocean Came to Visit by Diane Wolkstein (Harcourt 2001)
After hearing Ocean’s stories, Sun invites Ocean to the house he shares with his wife, Moon, but his visitor proves to be more than his house can hold.


Sebgugugu the Glutton: A Bantu Tale from Rwanda retold by Verna Aardema (Eerdmans 1993)
FOLKTALE. A greedy poor man tests the patience of Imana, Lord of Rwanda, until he loses everything.


Is it True, Grandfather? by Wendy Lohse (Scholastic 1994)


Be Patient, Abdul by Dolores Sandoval (Margaret McElderrry 1996)
With the help of his younger sister, seven-year-old Abdul raises money to go to school by selling oranges in the marketplace in Sierra Leone.


The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner (Putnam’s, 2014)
Each time Hector watches white boys playing soccer in Johannesburg, South Africa, he dreams of playing on a real pitch one day and after the fall of apartheid, when he sees the 1996 African Cup of Nations team, he knows that his dream can come true.

Happy Birthday, Jamela! by Niki Daly (Farrar 2006)
Jamela wants sparkly “princess shoes” to go with her new birthday dress, but Mama makes her buy practical school shoes instead.

The Herd Boy by Niki Daly (Eerdmans, 2012)
While doing a good job of caring for his grandfather’s sheep and goats on the grasslands of South Africa, young Malusi dreams of everything from owning his own dog to becoming president one day.

Jamela’s Dress by Niki Daly (Farrar 1999)
Jamela gets in trouble when she takes the expensive material intended for a new dress for Mama, parades it in the street, and allows it to become dirty and torn.

Not So Fast, Songololo by Niki Daly (Atheneum 1986)
In South Africa, a young black boy shares a special day with his grandmother when they go into the city on a shopping trip.

Once Upon a Time by Niki Daly (Farrar 2003)
Sarie struggles when she reads aloud in class in her South African school, but then she and her friend Auntie Anna find a book about Cinderella in Auntie Anna’s old car and begin to read together.

What’s Cooking, Jamela? by Niki Daly (Farrar 2001)
Jamela is responsible for fattening up the chicken intended for Christmas dinner, but instead she gives it a name and makes it her friend.

Where’s Jamela? by Niki Daly (Farrar 2004)
When Mama gets a new job and a new house, everyone is excited about moving except Jamela who likes her old house just fine.

At the Crossroads by Rachel Isadora (Greenwillow 1991)
South African children gather to welcome home their fathers who have been away for several months working in the mines.

A South African Night by Rachel Isadora (Greenwillow 1998)
The inhabitants of South Africa divide their activities by day and night, as the animals in Kruger National Park go about their business while the people of Johannesburg sleep and then lie down in the shade as the people wake up.

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin (Candlewick, 2010)
In a dangerous alley in a township in South Africa, the strength and unity which a group of young friends feel while playing soccer keep them safe when a gang of bullies arrives to cause trouble.

Somewhere in Africa by Ingrid Mennen (Dutton 1992)
Ashraf, a South African boy who lives in a big city, dreams of the African wild.

Nabulela: A South African Folk Tale by Fiona Moodie (Farrar 1997)
FOLKTALE. When the village girls cruelly trick the daughter of their king, he will forgive them only if they kill Nabulela, a treacherous white-skinned monster.

Charlie’s House by Reviva Schermbrucker (Viking 1991)
Charlie builds a house with cast-off materials in his South African township.

The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa, April 1994 by Elinor Sisulu (Little Brown 1996)
Thembi and her beloved great-grandmother, who has not left the house for many years, go together to vote on the momentous day when black South Africans are allowed to vote for the first time.

The Dove by Dianne Stewart (Greenwillow 1993)
A visiting dove provides the answer to Grandmother Maloko’s financial problems when floodwaters destroy her crops and she must rely on the sale of her homemade jewelry.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Archbiship Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams, illustrated by A. G. Ford (Candlewick 2013)
When Desmond takes his new bicycle out for a ride, his pride and joy turn to hurt and anger when some boys shout a very mean word at him causing Desmond to seek the advice of Father Trevor, who teaches him about the power of forgiveness.

Halala Means Welcome: A Book of Zulu Words by Ken Wilson-Max (Hyperion 1998)
Introduces words in Zulu, a “musical language with unusual clicking sounds” while following the activities of a boy at home in South Africa.

Elsina’s Clouds by Jeanette Winter (Farrar 2004)
In South Africa, a Basotho girl paints designs on her house as a prayer to the ancestors for rain.


My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd by Cristina Kessler (Orchard 2000)
Residents of a Sudanese village rejoice when a traditional water storage method is replaced by modern technology, but Fatima’s grandmother knows there is no substitute for the reliability of the baobab tree.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams (Lee & Low 2005)
Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek thousands of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.


Jubela by Cristina Kessler (Simon & Schuster 2001)
When a baby rhino loses his mother, he must rely on his own resources to survive until he is adopted by an old female rhino.


Mugambi’s Journey by John Becker (Gingham Dog 2004)
When lions like those who killed his brothers drive Mugambi, his mother, and two sisters from their den on the plains of Africa, the six-week-old cub proves his courage on their perilous journey toward safety.

In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press, 2015)

Is it Far to Zanaibar?: Poems About Tanzania by Nikki Grimes (Lothrop 1999)
Over a dozen poems with some aspect of the African country of Tanzania as a theme.

Fresh Fish: A Tale from Tanzania by John Kilaka (Groundwood 2005)
FOLKTALE. A dog schemes to steal fish from a chimpanzee and his animal friends who are trying to get the fish to a market.

We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs (Barefoot Books 2003)
Learning to count from one to ten becomes more interesting as Maasai children teach readers how to count in both English and Swahili. This fact-filled text includes a map of Tanzania, a description of each featured animal, and much more. (BWI)

Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia MacLachlan (Candlewick 2011)
A mother relates the events of a peaceful day along the banks of Lake Tanganyika to her baby, wrapped up and ready for sleep.

Big Boy by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1995)
Little Oli wants to be big enough to go bird hunting with his brother Mbachu but has to take a nap instead.

Kele’s Secret by Tololwa M. Mollel (Dutton 1997)
A young African boy who lives with his grandparents on their coffee farm follows their hen in order to find out where she is hiding her eggs.

My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1999)
A Tanzanian boy saves his coins to buy a bicycle so that he can help his parents carry goods to market, but then he discovers that in spite of all he has saved, he still does not have enough money.

Song Bird by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 1999)
An adaptation of a folktale from southern Africa, in which a magical bird helps a kind young girl get back her people’s stolen cattle from Makucha the monster.

Subira Subira by Tololwa M. Mollel (Clarion 2000)
Set in contemporary Tanzania, this variation on a traditional tale describes how a young girl learns a lesson in patience when a spirit woman sends her to get three whiskers from a lion.

Hippo Goes Bananas! by Marjorie Dennis Murray (Cavendish 2006)
As animals tell one another about Hippo’s strange behavior, each makes up something terrible to add to the story, until they are frightened that Hippo will destroy the Serengeti itself.

Babu’s Song by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 2003)
In Tanzania, Bernardi’s mute grandfather makes him a wonderful music box and then helps him realize his dream of owning a soccer ball and going to school.

Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 1998)
When a young Tanzanian girl gets a new baby brother, she finds a rock, which she names Eva, and makes it her baby doll.

Elizabeti’s School by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 2002)
Although she enjoys her first day at school, Elizabeti misses her family and wonders if it wouldn’t be better to stay home.

Mama Elizabeti by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Lee & Low 2000)
When her mother has a new baby, Elizabeti is given charge of her younger brother and finds it more difficult to take care him than it was to care for her rock doll.


A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press 2013)
When Kato heads to the village well to pump a day’s supply of water into two jerry cans, he discovers the aid-worker’s truck has arrived with a special gift for his village.

Give Up, Gecko!: A Folktale from Uganda retold by Margaret Read MacDonald (Two Lions, 2013)
FOLKTALE. African animals of every size from Elephant to Gecko stomp on the ground in search of water.

Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier (Atheneum 2001)
A young girl’s dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer.

Forest Singer by Sylvia Sikundar (Barefoot Books, 1999)
Mabuti is a pygmy who lives in the forest with his family and friends. Determined to stop them from teasing him about his singing, Mabuti practices singing to the forest animals and manages to tease his friends in return.

Gift Days by Kari-Lynn Winters (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012)
A young girl who longs to study but must run the household and look after her siblings after her mother’s death gets an invaluable gift from her brother. One day a week, her brother does her chores so that she can pursue her dream of an education, just as her mother would have wanted, in this tale about overcoming obstacles.


Bintou’s Braids by Sylviane Diouf (Chronicle 2001)
Rich, earthy illustrations and a heartwarming story capture the spirit of a West African village in this wise tale about a girl who learns she’s perfect just the way she is, even though she’s too young for braids.

Anansi Does the Impossible!: An Ashanti Tale retold by Verna Aardema (Atheneum, 1997)*
FOLKTALE. Anansi and his wife outsmart the Sky God and win back the beloved folktales of their people.

Anansi Finds a Fool by Verna Aardema (Dial, 1992)*
FOLKTALE. Lazy Anansi seeks to trick someone into doing the heavy work of laying his fish trap, but instead he is fooled into doing the job himself.

Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House 2001)
FOLKTALE. Anansi the Spider steals Hyena’s magic stick so he won’t have to do the chores, but when the stick’s magic won’t stop, he gets more than he bargained for.

The Singing Man: Adapted from a West African Folktale by Angela Shelf Medearis (Holiday House, 1994)*
FOLKTALE. A couple’s youngest son is forced to leave his West African village because he chooses music over the more practical occupations of his brothers, but years later he returns to show the wisdom of his choice.


This for That: A Tonga Tale by Verna Aardema (Dial 1997)
FOLKTALE. Rabbit tricks the other animals of the African plain into giving her food and other treats.

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum 2003)
FOLKTALE. Vivid cut-paper collage art and exuberant, rhythmic text blend seamlessly in this joyful Zambian folktale about how Blackbird shared a touch of his coveted blackness with the other birds while reminding them about their own inner beauty.


Party Croc!: A Folktale from Zimbabwe retold by Margaret Read MacDonald (Albert Whitman, 2015)
FOLKTALE. In this retelling of a Shona folktale from Zimbabwe, a girl promises a crocodile he can come to a party in exchange for a favor, but since crocodiles aren’t allowed in the village, she doesn’t expect she’ll have to keep the promise.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe (Lothrop 1987)
FOLKTALE. Mufaro’s two beautiful daughters, one bad-tempered, one kind and sweet, go before the king, who is choosing a wife.

Gugu’s House by Catherine Stock (Clarion 2001)
Kukamba loves helping her grandmother decorate her mud home in a dusty Zimbabwe village, but when the annual rains partially destroy all her art work, Kukamba learns to see the goodness of the rains.

The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Tererai Trent (Viking, 2015)


Tibili: The Little Boy Who Didn’t Want to Go to School by Marie Leonard (Kane Miller 2001)*
After Tibili, a young African boy, follows Crope the spider’s suggestion as to how he can avoid starting school, he discovers he wants to go after all.

Under the Baobab Tree by Julie Stiegemeyer (Zondervan 2012)*
Moyo and his sister Japera hurry to the baobab tree in their African village, wondering whether they will find peddlers, conversation among the elders, storytellers, or perhaps something new.


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