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We are a family of happy travelers, in fact, we call ourselves “The Traveling Tribe.” It should be the name of our family memoir. 🙂
When we aren’t traveling physically, we are “armchair traveling.” It’s educational, fun, and a great way to learn new things about our world as a family. One way I’ve taught my children about the 7 continents is to use books from a specific continent and incorporate that into story time or family reading time. Folktales are especially good for this project.
This week our armchair traveling takes us to the continent of Africa.
Did you know that:
- Is Africa the second largest continent in the world?
- Africa is also called the Dark Continent because for a very long time not much was known about it. Africa’s terrain was very difficult to navigate and discover.
- Africa is the home of the Nile; the longest river in the world.
- It is also the home of the Sahara, the largest desert in the world.
- The equator passes through the middle of the African continent, this means it receives direct sunlight all year round. Africa’s hottest country is Ethiopia.
- Africa is very rich in minerals. Ninety-five percent of the worlds’ diamonds and more than 50% of the world’s gold comes from Africa.
- 66% of the world’s chocolate comes from Africa.
- Africa is considered to be the place where the first humans lived and learned to use tools.
There are some very masterful storytellers about Africa. Did you know that Africa is also known as the storytelling continent? Where possible I’ve organized this list by some great authors and storytellers.
Africa Kidlit Booklist
Verna Aardema: Verna Norberg Aardema Vugteveen, best known by the name Verna Aardema, was an American author of children’s books. Born Verna Norberg in New Era, Michigan she graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. of Journalism in 1934. She worked as a grade school teacher from 1934 to 1973 and became a correspondent for the Muskegon Chronicle in 1951, which lasted until 1972, the year before she retired from teaching elementary school:
Bimwili and the Zimwi:This story from Zanzibar explains what happens when Bimwili returns to the seashore to find a shell that she has left there. She is captured by an evil Zimwi who imprisons her in his drum. Purpose of this tale is to warn children about the dangers of straying alone from the village.
Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell
Bintou’s Braids by Sylviane Diouf
Bury my Bones but Keep my Words: African Tales for Re-telling by Tony Fairman
The Hunter and the Crocodile by Baba Wague Diakite
Stories by Ann Grifalconi
- Darkness and the Butterfly
- The Village of Round and Square Houses
The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton
Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel
Stories by Tololwa M. Mollel
The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kinte Cloth by Margaret Musgrove
The Fortune-Tellers by Lloyd Alexander
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park
Sense Pass King : A Story from Cameroon
Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa and Other Talking Drum Rhymes by Uzo Unobagha
From our very own stacks we offer The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
One of my favorite books about the continent of Africa is Africa for Kids: Exploring a Vibrant Continent 19 activities by Harvey Croze
We could not have a list about Africa without a couple of books about one of the most incredible people on the planet; Nelson Mandela.
Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela
What are your Africa Book picks?