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Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa…

Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa

by Don Brown

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Appropriate for second and third grade students, this biography tells the life of Mary Kingsley in an intriguing way. Besides using it for a read aloud, this book could also be used for teaching about biographies. ( )
  jenniferm14 | Nov 21, 2015 |
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Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa, written and illustrated by Don Brown. This book starts out when Mary Kingsley is young. It tells about her childhood and how lonely it was. After Mary is groan up and responsibilities at home are gone, she decides to visit West Africa. We follow her adventures through Africa and see the amazing things she did. Seeing all of the things she did was amazing and knowing it is true, that she really did it, makes it even more amazing. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read about people who really lived and did amazing things. This is a great book to learn more about Africa and Mary Kingsley.
  ecarlson2014 | Apr 13, 2015 |
Audience: 3-5th grade
This is a great book that portrays the life of Mary Kingsley who was a woman explorer in the 1800s in England. I will read this book to older students to showcase the struggles women explorers faced. ( )
  ShantiR | Apr 24, 2014 |
Another great Don Brown biography. This is definitely one of my favorites. Well done. Much appreciated. Mary Kingsley is such an unusual historical figure. It's fascinating to read of the exploits of her short life after her parents death. She accomplished so much in so short a time. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
Picture-book biographer Don Brown - whose other contributions to the genre include Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein and Rare Treasure: Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries - tells the tale of Victorian explorer Mary Kingsley in Uncommon Traveler. After passing a lonely - one almost might say neglected! - childhood and young adulthood, caring for her infirm mother, Kingsley set out for West Africa at the age of thirty, a journey few women of her time would have undertaken. Wading through swamps, tussling with alligators, and getting to know the native peoples she met, Kingsley conceived a respect and love for the region that would astonish her contemporaries back "home..."

I enjoyed Don Brown's book enough that I am tempted to add Kingsley's own memoir, Travels in West Africa, to my (ever-growing) to-be-read shelf. The story is fascinating, as is the woman. She seems such a contradiction to me - willing to step out of a traditional woman's role, and travel on her own, but either indifferent or opposed to various issues of women's rights; feeling a deep and true respect for the cultures of Africa, but unable or unwilling to challenge the racist underpinnings of colonialism itself. I'm glad that Brown points out some of these contradictions in his afterword, which was very informative. Although I can't say the illustrative style here really appealed to me, the tale itself was so engaging, and the figure of Mary Kingsley so compelling, that I would recommend Uncommon Traveler to all young readers with an interest in the history of exploration, or a taste for biography. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618369163, Paperback)

Mary Kingsley spent her childhood in a small house on a lonely lane outside London, England. Her mother was bedridden, her father rarely home, and Mary served as housekeeper, handyman, nursemaid, and servant. Not until she was thirty years old did Mary get her chance to explore the world she’d read about in her father’s library. In 1893, she arrived in West Africa, where she encountered giant Xying insects, crocodiles, hippos, and brutal heat. Mary endured the hardships of the equatorial country—and thrived.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:20 -0400)

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A brief biography of the self-educated nineteenth-century Englishwoman who, after a secluded childhood and youth, traveled alone through unexplored West Africa in 1893 and 1894 and learned much about the area and its inhabitants.

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