book review, Booklists, Read Around The Continents

Read Around the Continents Booklist: An Africa Kidlit Booklist

**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**

Read Around The Continents

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.

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain: This Nandi story uses rhyme and repetition in a cumulative pattern to teach about life and animals on the savannah. When the rains are late, Ki-pat uses an eagle feather to end the drought on the plain.
Misoso: Once Upon a Time Tales from Africa: From Angola to Zanzibar, this treasury is as varied and bountiful as Africa itself!  Master storyteller Verna Aardema retells 12 tales of justice and revenge, greed and generosity, sly trickery, and off-the-wall silliness with her trademark humor and flair.
Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears: This West African cumulative tale begins when Mosquito tells Iguana a tall tale. Iguana, rather than listen to Mosquito, puts sticks in his ears and that is when the problem begins
Read Around the Continents
Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali  by Khephra BurnsMufaro’s


Beautiful Daughter by John Steptoe

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

The Hunter and the Crocodile by Baba Wague Diakite

Stories by Ann Grifalconi

The Village of Round and Square Houses

The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton

The Girl who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton

Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel

Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel

Stories by Tololwa M. Mollel

Stories by Tololwa M. Mollel

The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kinte Cloth by Margaret Musgrove


The Fortune-Tellers by Lloyd Alexander

The Fortune-Tellers by Lloyd Alexander

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

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?

Books for kids about Africa

2 thoughts on “Read Around the Continents Booklist: An Africa Kidlit Booklist

  1. This is an awesome list. I love sharing books that give insight to other cultures and places. These would make great book gifts for my grandchildren!!

Comments are closed.