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Africa Is Not A Country by Margy Burns…

Africa Is Not A Country

by Margy Burns Knight

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Who says kids' books can't be anti-imperialist? This picture book walks us through days-in-the-lives of children in almost all of Africa's 53 countries, teaching us about traditional Igbo dance, riddle games in the DRC, words in Setswana and Somali and Kikuyu, a million nice things you can make with cassava, andc., andc. I feel like it's a bit tough luck on Rwanda to make it carry the whole burden of representing Africa's sorrow and torment, especially when the Congo and Zimbabwe and Somalia and Sudan were all included, but I guess that was 2002 for you? And I can see why they didn't want it to be a litany of sorrow; I just finished reading this to a four-year-old at bedtime, for god's sake.

And? It put her right to sleep. ( )
1 vote MeditationesMartini | Mar 22, 2011 |
Gr 1-4-The authors narrate the experiences of children at play, at school, and at home, and use realistic illustrations to explore the cultural, environmental, ethnic, and social diversity of the 53 countries that make up the African continent. They explain that in Rwanda, refugee children (many of whom have been orphaned) are making pictures of war, while in Kenya, two children race to school, dreaming of one day becoming professional runners. From vast deserts with camels in the North to lush agricultural lands in Central and Southern Africa, the widely varied terrains are described in a paragraph or two of text. Unfortunately, there are no chapter or subtopic headings to indicate immediately what country is being discussed, and there is no indication of where it is located on the continent, so it's difficult to find it on the map. While the art is lively and colorful, and the book concludes with an alphabetical listing of the countries and facts about them, this offering does have its drawbacks.-Daniel Mungai, Queens Borough Public Library, NY

From Booklist:
Ages 6-8. The title says it all. Instead of the "vanishing tribes" view of one Africa with tourists from different countries photographing the animals and primitive people, this informative picture book celebrates the diversity of the 53 nations that make up the continent today. On each page there's a quick vignette of children in one country, with a bright, happy, colorful illustration. Three girls in school uniform walk on Cairo's jammed city sidewalks. A boy in Nigeria practices the ancient Igbo dances. At the back a small note on each country fills in facts about geography, currency, population, etc. There's still the danger of generalization (kids in Kenya running to school), and there are minor inaccuracies (South Africa's Freedom Day dates from 1994, not 1974); but readers will want to go on from here to explore in depth particular countries that interest them. The essential differences and connections are here. Hazel Rochman
  margrieterik | Mar 19, 2008 |
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Demonstrates the diversity of the African continent by describing daily life in some of its fifty-three nations.

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