Learning about heroes can inspire us to lead better lives and overcome the challenges we are facing. Kids need to have heroes and heroines who they can look up to and emulate.
We have curated a list of children's books that touch on African Heroes. There is a variety of choices, from Ancient history to present-day Africa; there is something for all kids to enjoy.
African Kings and Queens
African kings and queens is a collection of four beautifully illustrated rhyming picture books inspired by ancient Africa’s most influential leaders. Perfect for introducing the next generation of young leaders, thinkers, and game-changers to Africa’s great history.
This picture book will introduce Queen Yaa, the brave and responsible leader of the Ashanti Kingdom. The second leader Mansa Musa, the loved leader of the Mali Empire. The third leader is Queen Kitami, the playful leader of Mpororo. Lastly, kids will be read about Shaka Zulu, the strong and brave leader of the Zulu Empire.
Recommended Age: 3 - 8 years
Cleopatra the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, was a powerful and passionate leader worshipped by her people as a god for her beauty and her accomplishments. Explore this legendary female ruler's illustrious beginnings through to her tragic end.
Recommended Age: 4 - 7 years
This book introduces young readers to Cleopatra and how she became a shero and one of the most famous female rulers of all time.
Recommended Age: 4 - 8 years
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel was born in Ghana with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist.
He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.
Recommended Age: 4 - 8 years
Idia from Benin Kingdom
Idia of the Benin Kingdom is an African folklore about Queen Idia of the ancient Kingdom of Benin. The young heroine sees her future in a dream and works her way to becoming one of the most loved, praised, and successful queens of the African Kingdom of Benin.
The book is beautifully illustrated to keep the kids engrossed. This story will teach your children about obedience, practicing one's art, and believing dreams can come true.
Recommended Ages: 8 - 12 years
Who Was King Tut? The young pharaoh has become a symbol of the wealth and mystery of ancient Egypt. Now, a two-and-a-half-year-long museum exhibit of Tut’s treasures is touring major cities in the U.S., drawing record crowds.
This book explains the life and times of this ancient Egyptian ruler, covering the story of the tomb’s discovery, as well as myths and so-called mummy curses
Recommended Ages: 7 - 10 years
Mansa Musa is a biography of Mansa Musa reads like an exotic tale of gold, glory, and adventure. During his long reign as Mali's emperor, Mansa Musa led his empire into its Golden Age; presided over a spectacular, 60,000 person, 9,000 mile pilgrimage; founded a university in Timbuktu; and helped revolutionize architecture across the Sudan.
This book is enhanced by a liberal sprinkling of enjoyable drawings, clear and helpful maps, and interesting photos. Not only are Mansa Musa's triumphs and dilemmas clearly portrayed, but so are the lives of the people of medieval Mali.
Recommended Ages: All Ages
Who Was Nelson Mandela? As a child he dreamt of changing South Africa; as a man he changed the world. Nelson Mandela spent his life battling apartheid and championing a peaceful revolution. He spent twenty-seven years in prison and emerged as the inspiring leader of the new South Africa.
He became the country’s first black president and went on to live his dream of change.
Recommended Ages: 8 - 12 years
The Extraordinary Life of Nelson Mandela focuses on his upbringing. He is known for dedicating his life to fighting for equality in South Africa and overthrowing racial segregation. He grew up hearing the elders' stories of his ancestors' fighting in the wars of resistance, and he dreamed of fighting for the freedom of his people.
His childhood wish was granted when he became the first black president of South Africa, and an icon for hope, change and equality.
Recommended Ages: 7 - 12 years
Njinga of Ndongo and Matamba
Njinga of Ndongo and Matamba is a great African folklore based on the story of Queen Njinga, a renowned African legend. Queen Anna Njinga (circa 1581-1663) of Angola bravely fought against slave trade and European influence in the seventeenth century.
The book teaches the historical truth behind Queen Njinga's story of bravery in a simple and relatable manner to today's kids.
Recommended Age: 8 - 12 years
Amina of Zaria: The Warrior Queen starts with Amina as a young child. When she was a little girl, she didn't dream of being queen―she dreamed of being a fierce warrior. The only problem was that everyone overlooked her.
Despite the doubt of the people around her, she mastered every weapon in the armory, like bows and arrows, spears, and swords. Her skills on the battlefield made her native Zaria prosperous, and in the mid-sixteenth century, she became a queen.
Recommended Age: 5 - 8 years
Queen Amina of Zaria in this story Wuraola, Nneka and Azeezah learn how sixteen year old Queen Amina protected her land from jealous neighbours by building walls around it and riding around them on her horse, called Demon, shooting the enemy with her bow and arrow.
You can still see evidence of Queen Amina's walls today if you look very carefully in the sand.
Recommended Age: All Ages
Shaka Zulu: He Who United the Tribes focuses on the legendary leader from South Africa. South Africa is known to have many tribes, and each has its own belief system. Shaka Zulu was a leader who united South African tribes. How did he do it?
Reading his life story will help young readers understand the traits of a true leader.
Recommended Age: 9 - 12 years
Sundiata: Lion King of Mali is the story of Sundiata, son of the king of Mali in the time of the great trading empires of Africa in the thirteenth century. Sundiata overcame physical handicaps, social disgrace, and strong opposition to rule the West African trading empire of Mali. i
It is a powerful tale of courage and determination.
Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya through artful prose and beautiful illustrations, tells the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, known as “Mama Miti,” who in 1977 founded the Green Belt Movement, an African grassroots organization that has empowered many people to mobilize and combat deforestation, soil erosion, and environmental degradation.
Seeds of Change: Wangari's Gift to the World starts with Wangari as a young girl in Kenya. She was taught to respect nature, and grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her -from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river.
Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time. Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace brings to life the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa as a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed.
So Wangari decides to do something—and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans. . . .
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a story of fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba from Malawi. His village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.
Recommended Age: 4 - 10 years