In this blog post, we offered some fantastic ways to explore African history and culture with kids.
Reading literature from around the world, is indeed important. Africa is one of the most diverse continents. It is rich in history and culture.
Here are 12 of the best African children’s story books that will introduce your kids to this incredible continent.
Books About African Culture
My First Book of Shona And Ndebele Words is one of the best African children's story books to introduce your kids to Shona and Ndebele, Zimbabwe’s two main native languages.
This graphic-rich book makes use of colorful illustrations and simple first words making it engaging for kids of all ages!
Recommended Age: All ages
Makanaka's World: Adventure in Morocco takes children on an adventure to Morocco. Makanaka gets invited to a soccer game by her friend Nadia in Morocco. Makanaka and Fari the parrot go to Casablanca. But when they arrive, they discover that someone has taken Nadia's team's soccer ball! Makanaka and Fari must find this ball.
This book introduces kids to geography, foreign words, and bits of the Moroccan culture.
Recommended Age: 5 - 8 years
Books About African History
The Other Side is African history picture book that introduces kids to South African history. There's a fence behind Clover's house that separates black people from white people. Clover is not allowed to cross the fence, but she is too curious to meet Anna, the white girl who lives on the other side of the fence. The two girls go against the rules of segregation and form an unlikely friendship sitting together on top of the fence.
Recommended ages: 5 and up
A Long Walk to Water is a New York Times bestseller. It tells two stories told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, goes to fetch water from a pond two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan. These are refugees who covered the African continent on foot in search of their families and for a safe place to stay. Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
Recommend Ages: 10-12 years
Books About African Girls And Women
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: 4 - 12 years
Njinga of Ngondo and Matamba is another 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: 4 - 12 years
Books About African Science And Nature
A Computer Called Katherine tells of a fight for equality for African-Americans. In this book, a story is told of how Katherine Johnson helped put America on the moon. She made history by helping NASA to put America's first manned flight into space and the world's first trip to the moon
While it may not be about Africa specifically, this book teaches kids not to allow their black descent hold them back from being outstanding.
Recommended Age: 6-9 years
Wangari’s Trees of Peace tells of the story of Wangari a young girl growing up in Kenya. She was surrounded by trees, but after leaving Kenya for a period of time, she is distraught to come back home to forests without trees. Wangari embarks on a mission to restore the forests and starts by planting nine seedings in her backyard. As they grow, so do her ideas.
This book teaches children to love and nurture their environment.
Recommended Ages: 4-7 years.
Books About African Family
Masai and I tells the story of a young American girl who learns about East African culture and begins to imagine herself as a Masai. Her thoughts take the readers through a journey of two different cultures.
The book has beautiful artwork that your kids will love. It helps kids appreciate having knowledge of your family roots.
Recommended Ages: 4-7 years.
Baby Goes to Market is an interesting African book for kids about Baby and his doting mama and their time at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace.
This bright, bouncy read-aloud books offers your children a gentle introduction to numbers. It uses rhythmic language, visual humor, and a bounty of delectable food to make this a tale that your kids will want to hear over and over again.
Recommend Ages: 2-5 years.
Books About African Animals and Safari
Giraffe's Eggs is about a giraffe that becomes very jealous, when her best friend the Ox pecker, shows her her colourful eggs. The giraffe decides to do anything it takes, to get her own eggs. Will she succeed or she'll get into trouble?
This book is a lovely picture book that teaches children to love themselves as they are, and be grateful for others.
Recommend Ages: 3-6 years.
Textures is about all the textures around us. This innovative board book will take your kids on an African safari as they learn about safari animals.
You will enjoy the tactile teaching and your kids will love the discovery in Textures.
Recommend Ages: 2-4 years.