Africa Access Review Of Children's Materials, ed. Brenda Randolph

Africa Access Review Of Children's Materials,

ed. Brenda Randolph

  • Introduction

  • AUTHOR: TITLE: AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: VOICES IN A TRADITION. Publisher: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 994 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN: 0-03-047424

    Subjects: Africa/Literature/African Americans/Diaspora

    Review: This textbook on African American literature includes selections by some of Africa's most outstanding writers. Claude Ake, Buchi Emecheta, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Leopold Senghor, and Amos Tutuloa are among the writers included. In addition, there are two works from the past, a poem by Pharoah Akhenaton, and an excerpt from Olaudah Equiano's famous narrative on his capture and enslavement in the 1700s. These selections and others in the text are preceded by background notes and information on the literary form being highlighted. At the conclusion of each offering, a "Responding to the Selection" section provides a review of the material covered. Additional features include a map of Africa which shows the birthplaces of the contributors, a pronunciation guide for Igbo words, and splendid photographs, many of which are in color. This outstanding collection is a must purchase for all schools. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: AARDEMA, VERNA TITLE: PRINCESS GORILLA AND A NEW KIND OF WATER Publisher: Dial Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $10.95 ISBN: 0-8037-0413-5

    Subjects: Folklore/Mpongwe/West Africa

    Review: This retelling of a West African tale reinforces the use of stereotypical language ("hut" and "jungle"). The story focuses on the search for a husband for Princess Gorilla. King Gorilla wants a husband for his daughter who is "very strong and brave." The princess just wants someone who loves her. The king decrees that whoever can drink a barrel of a new kind of water (actually vinegar) can marry the princess. The winner or rather winners turn out to be a group of monkeys who trick the king by pretending to be one monkey. Curiously, the king accepts the deception. The princess is saved from an unhappy marriage by a leopard who denounces the monkeys as cheaters. The tale ends not by punishing the cheaters but by explaining why monkeys live in treetops. This conclusion is unexpected and puzzling. One expects a strong moralistic ending rather than an explanation about the habitat of monkeys. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: ABEBE, DANIEL TITLE: ETHIOPIA IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1836-8

    Subjects: Ethiopia/ East Africa

    Review: This book portrays contemporary Ethiopian life in most of its vital aspects. Unfortunately, much has changed that raise question marks, for example, Lenin's statue in Addis Ababa which was toppled with the fall of the Mengistu government. However, for the curious young reader that should not be a problem; helped by a knowledgeable teacher, the rest of the pictures can fill in some gap in the knowledge of young students about Africa. (Bereket Habte Selassie)

    Review 2: Lerner Publications, whose address is not included in the present text, has apparently purchased publication rights to the Visual Geography Series, which was previously published by Sterling Publishing Company of New York. This is advertised as an "all new edition," within a series that lists 68 countries, 20 of which are African. The book includes four sections (The Land, History and Government, The People, and The Economy) in addition to a one-half-page Introduction and one-page index. The text is written for middle and high school students. While the photographs enhance the teaching and learning value of the text, they are not always captioned with proper detail. For example, on page 15, a color photograph, provided by the United States Agency for International Development, of one village is identified only as: "A cluster of round dwellings lies amid sparse woods in an elevated region of Ethiopia." While the walia ibex--a goat-family member found only in the Semien mountains--is identified, a desert plant located in an adjacent picture is not. Generally, however, the many photographs are an asset. Likewise, Daniel Abebe, the person who "prepared" but perhaps did not write the text, has included terms in Amharic--the language of the Amhara ethnic group--but none from the languages of the Oromo, Galla, Beta Esrael, Tigrean, or Somali ethnic groups. The book is useful for teachers and students who need a starting point for reports or presentations. Abebe provides a brief description of Ethiopia's long political history and explains, in a section entitled "Change of Political Direction," the military coup of September 1974 which led to the imprisonment of Emperor Haile Selassie and his replacement by the Dergue (Amharic: "committee," a group of military officers), and its eventual leader, Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Mengistu Haile-Mariam. This self-described "socialist military government" was later replaced by an elected government, with Mengistu as President. Ending with events in 1986-7, the book does not, obviously, describe the defeat of the Ethiopian army, the invasion and capture of the capital, Addis Ababa, by a coalition of military forces from the northern areas of Eritrea and Tigre in March 1991, and the subsequent fall of Mengistu's government. This short book and Dennis Fradin's comparable one (Ethiopia [1988], reviewed in Irohin, Feb. 1991) are useful student introductions to Ethiopia's 52 million people and 40 ethnic groups. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: ABRAHAMS, ROGER TITLE: AFRICAN FOLKTALES: TRADITIONAL STORIES OF THE BLACK WORLD Publisher: Pantheon Copyright: 1983 Type: Book Collation: 352 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): $16.00 ISBN (pap): 0-394-72117-9

    Subjects: Folklore/Africa

    Review: This book brings together 94 African folktales from around the continent as an addition to the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library. Selecting from a variety of sources such as the early missionaries as well as some of the later collections and ethnographies, Roger Abrahams, a leading American folklorist, has retold the stories in this readable volume. The tales are divided into five sections, including: "Tales of Wonder from the Great Ocean of Story;" "Stories to Discuss and Even Argue About" (commonly known as dilemma tales); "Tricksters and Other Ridiculous Creatures;" "Tales in Praise of Great Doings;" and "Making a Way Through Life." Each section is preceded by a short introduction putting the folktales in a more general world context. Missing are sociocultural contexts for the individual tales or background information on tale tellers. In fact, the original source for each tale is not provided other than through a select bibliography which does not indicate the original source of particular tales. The only specific background information the reader receives is the ethnic group of the tale's origin, and that is not as significant since these stories travel readily across ethnic and language boundaries. Furthermore, any stylistic or local flavor of the tales is not preserved in a retold version where elements such as audience response, a most important component of Africa storytelling, is completely missing. This kind of information, although it is essential to a folklorist's analysis, may not be required for middle and high school students who are non-specialists in the field of African folklore. For those who are looking for an enjoyable, wide ranging representation of African folktales, this volume comes well recommended. (Eren Giray)

    AUTHOR: ADZINYAH, ABRAHAM; MARAIRE, DUMISANI; TUCKER, JUDITH TITLE: LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: SONGS FROM GHANA AND ZIMBABWE Publisher: World Music Press Copyright: 1986 Type: Kit Collation: Book with 1 audio cassette Grade: E/M/H Price: $20.95 ISBN: 0-937203-22-X

    Subjects: Ghana /Zimbabwe/Music/Folklore/Akan/Shona

    Review: This is a 116 page song book with translations, teaching suggestions, illustrations, glossary, percussion techniques, and bibliography. The song selection is quite representative of the ethnic societies in Ghana and Zimbabwe. The musical transcriptions are fairly accurate and reflect the true rhythmic and melodic phrasing of the folk traditions. The stories preceding the songs are focused and seem to enhance the mood for each performance, but explanations to some of the games accompanying the songs are unclear. A video demonstration might be a viable alternative e.g. Kyekyekule. Kyekyekule should also reflect a pentatonic scale pattern d r m s l (see pg. 11). Some picture illustrations do not have any relevance to songs, games, or stories (see pp. 13, 39, 72, etc.) Voices on taped-music do not serve as a good model. Still, the kit is generally good and useful for multicultural music education programs in schools. (Joe Attah)

    TITLE: AFRICA: HISTORY, CULTURE, GEOGRAPHY. Publisher: Globe Books/Prentice Hall Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 308 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN: 0-8359-0413-X

    Subjects: Africa/History

    Review: This textbook is one of the better ones for secondary school students. It is similar in most respects to the previous edition published in 1989. Like its predecessor, it avoids most pejorative terms, is less problem-oriented than many works, and keeps Africans rather than Africa's colonizers in the forefront of discussions. There are ten chapters, a glossary, a bibliography, numerous maps and charts. Chapters 1-6 provide basic information on geography and history to the eve of independence. These chapters are generally accurate, balanced, and free from stereotypes. One wishes, however, that the term "black African" had been avoided since it tends to interject Western concepts about race into a continent that defines itself more by language and ethnicity than by dubious racial definitions. Also, the new bibliography is disappointing. It does not compare with the excellent one in the 1989 edition. It has fewer titles, fewer African authors represented, and fewer works written expressily for secondary school students. Also disappointing is the outdated discussion of human origins in Africa. Although the text cites Africa as the original homeland of humans, it fails to discuss the more recent fossil and DNA evidence on the origins of Homo sapiens in Africa. Another problem is the simplistic discussion of European missionaries in Africa. The text fails to describe the complex roles missionaries played in helping and hindering African development. Chapters 6-9 explore past and contemporary history in four major geographical regions of Africa - West, Central, East, and South. The obvious omission is North Africa. This is unfortunate as it truncates discussions and leads to gaps and distortions. Each of the regional discussions provides an overview of the region and highlights a few countries. As one would expect, this broad scope and selective country treatment results in uneven coverage and gaps. A few countries, Ghana, and Zaire for example, receive several pages while other countries receive a few paragraphs or hardly a mention. Also, while political and economic complexities are revealed in some discussions, other discussions are overly simplistic. The final chapter is a strong one. It does a good job of assessing Africa's progress while noting areas for improvement. There are other strong points in this textbook. The brief vignettes of African life and culture dispersed throughout the book are informative and interesting. The black and white photographs are representative and tastefully chosen. Most importantly, Africans are allowed to speak for themselves in this work. There are numerous excerpts by outstanding literary figures and well-known politicians. This is a textbook schools will want to acquire. The work is clearly better than the usual textbook fare on Africa. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: ALLEN, JUDY; MCNEILL, EARLDENE; SCHMIDT, VELMA TITLE: CULTURAL AWARENESS FOR CHILDREN Publisher: Addison Wesley Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 253 pp. Grade: T (P/E)

    Price (pap): $32.00

    Subjects: Multicultural education

    Review: Eight cultures including Africans and African Americans, are highlighted in this teacher's guide. The bulk of the discussion focuses on what purports to be "African culture." The information provided is often trivial, superficial, and stereotypical. Pejorative terms and errors abound (e.g. the Zulu of South Africa are described as "tribesmen" from West Africa). Activities for students are simplistic and reinforce stereotypes (e.g. making "thatched huts," "shields," and "grass skirts"). Not recommended. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: ANDERSON, DAVID TITLE: THE ORIGIN OF LIFE ON EARTH: AN AFRICAN CREATION MYTH Publisher: Sights Productions Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P/E Price: $18.95 ISBN: 0-9629978-544

    Subjects: Folklore/Mythology/Yoruba/Nigeria/West Africa

    Review: David Anderson weaves an incredibly wonderful tale in his retelling of "The Origins of Life on Earth." This story is based on the Yoruba creation myth. At last, we have a very good rendition of this story that is readable by children and adults alike. I recommend it for every child (K-12). The story is so dramatically told that it draws its reader to the imaginary world it creates. Obatala represents what is human in all of us - - children's inquisitiveness and desire for adventure. The author and illustrator demonstrate their sensitivity to some of the current issues in the society today, such as gender and multiculturalism. The introduction provides a necessary background for locating the story culturally and geographically. My suggestion is to add a map of Africa with Nigeria or Ife (the home of the Yoruba) identified. It is not enough to mention "west and north of the Niger" delta without showing the region on a map, as some of these readers may not know where the Niger is in the first place. This weakness not withstanding, the book is well done. The non-gender specific nature of the "all powerful" Olurun is commendable, for it emphasizes the need to recognize that powerful figures can belong to either gender. Appreciation is shown for all kinds of people, whether they have twisted legs, partial fingers, complete body parts or plugged ears. The authors suggest the common origin of all people. In addition to the wonderful narrative, the book is dramatically well illustrated. Kathleen Wilson, expresses the current desire for an affirmation of African roots within the African American community through a splash of colors that brings to life the beautiful designs of African textiles. Not only is the story endearing, but the colorful illustrations are so well coordinated that one can almost "see" the beautiful shades of the African landscape. This book is highly recommended. (Maureen N. Eke)

    AUTHOR: ANDERSON, JOY TITLE: JUMA AND THE MAGIC JINN Publisher: Lothrop Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-688-05443-9

    Subjects: Kenya/Fiction/East Africa

    Review: Lamu, Kenya is the setting for this picture book. Bored with school and endless math problems, Juma longs to go someplace where there is nothing to learn and no one to remind him to behave. Storekeepers spin yarns about beautiful jinns (spirits who often take human form) who make magic but Juma doubts that they really exist. When Juma pops the cork on a blue jinn jar and a lovely jinn appears and offers him a wish, his doubts vanish. Seizing the opportunity to escape, he replies, "I wish to be where I cannot learn anything. I am tired of learning things." Juma soon discovers the folly of his wish and seeks to return to school and home. This book is instructive as well as entertaining. Lamu was once an important city-state in the ancient international trading area known as Azania. Traders from Persia, India, and China came to the island to exchange their goods for African ones. A major result of this trade was a blend of African, Arab, and Asian cultures. Anderson demonstrates her awareness of this cultural blend in her illustrations and text. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: ANGELOU, MAYA TITLE: MY PAINTED HOUSE, MY FRIENDLY CHICKEN AND ME. Publisher: Random House/Clarkson Potter Copyright: 1994 Type: Book

    Grade: P/E Price: $16.00 ISBN: 0 5175 96679

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: South Africa/Ndebele

    Review: This book is about an eight year old Ndebele girl, Thandi (which means love and not hope as the book claims), and her friendship with a chicken. Friendship between a girl and a chicken is very unlikely in Ndebele culture. Chickens are not pets. Thandi's primary relationships seem to be with animals rather than humans. The book is set against a background of beautiful painted houses and beadwork. The pictures are bright and attractive but in some places they bear no relationship to the text. There is not much movement in the book. The pictures are static and Thandi dressed in colorful beads seems to spend all her time posing in front of beautiful walls. She seems to be living in a highly decorated exotic world. What the book illustrates is not even a 'traditional' world; it is one that never existed. There is no sense here of a world that includes both old and new. The book will leave young readers with an inaccurate picture of a Ndebele child's life. (Lesego Malepe)

    TITLE: APARTHEID: CALIBRATIONS OF COLOR Publisher: Icarus/Rosen Publishing Group Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 159 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $16.95 ISBN: 0-8239-1330-9 Price (pap): $8.95

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: South Africa /Literature/Apartheid /Southern Africa

    Review: This assemblage of short stories, plays, photographs, and essays provides a penetrating and pithy look at South Africa. The book opens with Norma Kitson's "Masimba," a boisterous selection that ridicules South Africa's "homeland" policy. The book ends with "Don't Dance," a description of the founding and fortunes of "Shifty Records," a recording company that provides an outlet for banned music. Sandwiched between these two pieces are works that provide a representative sampling of the life experiences of the oppressed of South Africa. An additional and valuable contribution is Frank Brown's riveting account of the student divestment campaign at Columbia University. Also, Zoe Wicomb provides a look at the international dimensions of apartheid in her poignant,"In the Botanic Gardens." For historical balance there is Achmat Dangor's "Places of Stone." This short story examines social and economic relationships engendered by slavery. It explodes the myth of a "benign" slave system in colonial South Africa. This excellent volume should find wide-spread use in secondary schools. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: APPIAH, SONIA TITLE: AMOKO AND EFUA BEAR Publisher: Macmillan Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-02-705591-4

    Subjects: Ghana/Fiction/West Africa

    Review: Written by a British woman married to a Ghanian man, this picture book reflects the author's western background. Indeed, the story is based on the experiences of the author's daughter's first trip to Ghana. The Ghanian lifestyle depicted here is that of an urban, well-to-do elite, people who have blended western and Ghanian cultures. Amoko, for example, lives in a nuclear rather than the typical Ghanian extended family. Her home is decorated in a western manner and her favorite toy, a stuffed bear named Efua, is a manufactured animal alien to Africa. The family members, however, wear African dress, shop in an open-air market, and eat dinner Ghanian style. (The illustrator, one should note, makes a mistake when she depicts the mother eating with her left hand. This is an absolute no-no in Ghanian culture.) Amoko's elite status is not likely to be detected by American children. She is given a bath by her mother outside and she and her family often go about barefooted. American children accustomed to indoor plumbing and sneakers may comment that Amoko is "poor." Adults reading the story may need to redirect children's attention to the bounty Amoko has, i.e. good food, a warm bed, and parents who love her and try to make her happy. The book is a useful addition to American school collections overweighted with folktales and fables. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: ARLABOSSE, SEVERINE TITLE: L'AFRIQUE EN FRANCAIS Publisher: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Center for African Studies Copyright: 1986 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 204 pp. Grade: T (M/H)

    Price (pap): $15.00

    Subjects: Francophone Africa - Study and teaching/West Africa/French/Language and languages

    Review: This text is detailed and covers a wide range of topics -- both historical and contemporary -- which will give students a pretty good portrait of Africa and Africa's experience with the French and France. The "cartoons" from "Famille et Development" are a good way of conveying information and inducing language learning, but the illustrations in the section on clothing -- "Les Vetements Senegalais" -- are tacky. Slides should be used to give a more accurate picture of the nature of dress in Senegalese society. The lessons are good and the author provides a helpful guide as to how to use and derive most benefit from the text. (Mbye Cham)

    Review 2: This is a collection of readings in beginning and intermediate level French on history, religion, literature, family, and the following countries: Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal. It also includes activities related to crossword puzzles, comics and a videotape, and teaching suggestions. Materials in the volume may be duplicated for classroom use. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: ARMSTRONG, CAROL; MASAGARA, NDIZI TITLE: LA DIVERSITE EN AFRIQUE FRANCOPHONE Publisher: SPICE Copyright: 1991 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 108 pp. Grade: T (M/H)

    Price (pap): $24.95

    Subjects: Francophone Africa/West Africa/Language and languages/French

    Review: The cultural content is well integrated in the lessons. Africa is shown in its traditional and modern life as well. This approach is always helpful to non-African teachers and students since it informs about the diversity in modern African customs. However, the section that deals with geography is a total disappointment to me. Instead of describing weather, seasons, climate etc., the lesson focuses on the oldest Western stereotype about Africa: land of exotic animals. Though all the animals listed in that lesson do exist in Cote d'Ivoire, I am afraid that making them the central theme of the lesson will only strengthen the stereotype. In lesson 3, there is a grave overstatement about Nina who is considered to be "occidentalisee" simply because of how she dresses. For many Africans, especially Africans of the younger generation, western clothes are part of their recent cultural heritage since these clothes are now made by tailors of African descent. I do believe that one does not become "occidentalisee" by wearing a tie or a pair of pants. By the same token, one does not become African by wearing clothes that originated in Africa. (Mamadou Gueye)

    TITLE: ARTS OF GHANA Publisher: UCLA Museum of Cultural History Copyright: 1977 Type: Filmstrip Collation: 1 sound filmstrip, with guide Grade: E/M/H Price: o.p.

    Subjects: Art/Ghana /West Africa

    Review: This product consists of a filmstrip accompanied with narration recorded on audio-cassette tape. The authenticity and technical quality of the visuals are quite good. The visuals are accurate representations of the broad variety and richness of the creative arts of Ghana. The factual accuracy of content and terminological appropriateness of narration are of acceptable standard, though the narrative style is somewhat dull and lacks creative use of certain narrative devices that stimulate attention and enhance retention. Given the diversity and the broad range of artistic expressions in Ghana, the instructional effectiveness of the product would have been enhanced if the material had been presented in two or three parts. Too much information was packed into one filmstrip. A teacher's guide accompanies the kit. (Kwaku Ofori-Ansah)

    AUTHOR: ASARE, MESHACK TITLE: CAT IN SEARCH OF A FRIEND Publisher: Africa World Press Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P

    ISBN: 0 86543 107 8 Price (pap): $6.95 ISBN (pap): 0-86543-107-8

    Subjects: Fiction

    Review: This simply told animal tale features a domestic cat and a number of plains and forest animals. As the title suggests, a lonely cat searches for a friend. Each animal Cat meets seems suitable as a friend until a more powerful animal appears. Ultimately, Cat decides to be friends with all but mistress of her own life. Regrettably, the illustrations are often muddy. Also, the author uses the pejorative term "hut" instead of the more positive "house." The story ends rather abruptly. One expects to see the cat alone on the final page. Still the story is an interesting one, the repetition and changing characters should hold the attention of primary children. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: AYOUB, ABDERRAHMAN TITLE: UMM EL MADAYAB : AN ISLAMIC CITY THROUGH THE AGES Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 49 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $16.95 ISBN: 0 395 65967 1

    Place Of Publication: Boston Subjects: North Africa/Cities and towns

    Review: This book, translated from Italian, is part of a series that provides similar coverage for cities on other continents. It describes and depicts a fictional city in North Africa from prehistoric times to the present. The core of the book is detailed city plans at 14 different historical periods, which are interesting but relatively difficult to interpret even with the accompanying text. In addition there are a few detailed black and white drawings of buildings, selected artifacts, eg. pottery, boats, hand tools, and people, who are not particularly North African in appearance, for each period. The short text traces the growth of the site from a hunting-gathering camp in the palaeolithic, to a neolithic community dependent on shell fish, through the iron age to a Phoenician city in the 9th to 8th century B.C., which was the first port. The changes in the size, arrangement and types of buildings are then traced through Punic-Numidian, Roman, Christian, Islamic, several Arab, Ottoman, colonial and contemporary periods. For each period only a few features of the city are mentioned in the text, for the most part public buildings and activities of the ruling, commercial or religious elite. Specialized vocabulary related to each period is defined in the text. The book is difficult to evaluate since the city is fictional and has no location more specific than being on the seacoast. The brief text does not do justice to the detail of the illustrations or the complexity of life at each historical period. No references are provided for readers curious to learn more about what is shown in the drawings or mentioned in the text. (Nancy J. Schmidt )

    AUTHOR: AZEVEDO, MARIO; PRATER, GWENDOLYN TITLE: AFRICA AND ITS PEOPLE Publisher: Kendall / Hunt Copyright: 1982 Type: Book Collation: 211 pp. Grade: H

    Price (pap): o.p. ISBN (pap): 0-8403-2730-7

    Subjects: Africa - Study and teaching/History

    Review: This textbook is the result of collaborative efforts of Africa scholars and public school teachers. Interdisciplinary in its approach, it aims to touch all major aspects of African life. The target audiences are secondary school students and college freshmen. The book has many strengths. History is balanced, aspects of culture are explained in African rather than Western terms, geography is related to human conditions, and the diversity and complexity of the continent's physical and social features are described. An additional plus is the background information that is provided in the introduction. Also, each of the seven units begins with a list of performance objectives and concludes with review questions, suggestions for activities and extensive bibliographies. The authors make an effort to avoid biased and derogatory language. A list of terms that reinforce myths and stereotypes is given and teachers are cautioned against using biased terms. Unfortunately, the authors themselves make occasional slips. The terms "non-Western," "non-white," and "Hottentot" are used. Also, after cautioning against the use of the concept "race" students are later asked to compare and contrast the "races" of Africa with those in the U.S. These are minor flaws in an essentially sound work. The authors are attuned to difficulties inherent in teaching African studies to an American audience. Efforts are made to explain unusual or complex issues in terms that Americans can understand. One will want to supplement the dated bibliographies and provide information from more recent country studies. Global Studies: Africa is a good choice for the latter. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BACAK - EGBO, CAROL TITLE: AFRICAN STUDIES CURRICULUM: TANZANIA Publisher: Michigan State University - African Studies Center Copyright: 1984 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 175 pp. Grade: T (M/H)

    Price (pap): o.p.

    Subjects: Tanzania - Study and teaching/East Africa

    Review: This curriculum guide is focused on Tanzania and provides historical information, fact sheets, evaluation criteria, and classroom activities. It is designed for a variety of grade levels. The information is accurate and the student activities are good; the curriculum emphasizes Tanzanian history, a component that is often missing in units on Africa. Activities for younger students involving Swahili number games, proverbs, and poems are good. If teachers find this curriculum too specific to use as an entire unit, certain activities could easily be infused into the standard curriculum. I recommend this work as a resource for teachers. (Sara Talis)

    AUTHOR: BAILEY, DONNA AND SPROULE, ANNA TITLE: KENYA Publisher: Steck-Vaughn Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: E Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8114-2563-0

    Subjects: Kenya - Description and travel/East Africa

    Review: This easy-to-read book is part of Steck-Vaughn's Where We Live series. In each series title, a child, ostensibly from that country, introduces readers to aspects of life in his or her country. Kenya causes one to question the veracity of the publishers. Our Kenyan guide, Wanjiru, introduces himself on page 1 but is never seen again. On page 4 he tells us that the family pictured below is his own, yet the very same photograph appears in a Lerner publication, A Family in Kenya. In the Lerner book the people in the photograph are described as members of the Katama family from Mombasa! The deception or error is not the only problem with this work. Young readers are given a very superficial and highly selective view of Kenya. An inordinate amount of attention is focused on the Maasai (a Western favorite). The inclusion of information about the Maasai drinking "cow's blood mixed with milk" is certain to reinforce the Western stereotype of Africans as exotic and strange. The book ends abruptly during a discussion of another Western preoccupation, wild animals. Good materials on Kenya are needed for the primary grades. Unfortunately, this book does not fill the void. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BANGURA, ABDUL TITLE: KIPSIGIS Publisher: Rosen Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: M

    ISBN: 0 8239 1765 7

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: East Africa/Kenya/Kipsigis

    Review: Each volume in The Heritage Library of African Peoples is about the environment, subsistence, social relationships, customs, beliefs and social and technical change in one ethnic group. There is a map of Africa at the beginning, which is not up-to-date, and numerous black and white and color photographs, some of which are not integrated with the text, which is divided into 6 or 7 chapters, each with short, titled sub-sections. The author of Kipsigis is a political scientist from Sierra Leone. The book begins with an excerpt from an origin story and a discussion of the migration of Kipsigis and related peoples from the Upper Nile region to Kenya. Their language is said to be a "form" of Nandi (it is an independent language). The chapters which follow discuss the organization of society before colonization in deterministic terms, "every aspect of life is a response to the environment," initiation and marriage ceremonies, family organization, European contact and colonial rule, and a view of the future (which focuses on polygamy, population growth and bridewealth). The book is primarily about the past and provides no sense of the place of the Kipsigis in contemporary Kenya. All of the books suggested for further reading were written for adults and none provides information on contemporary Kipsigis life. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: BARYSH, ANN TITLE: SUITCASE SCHOLAR GOES TO KENYA Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: Teacher's Guide, 5 Lerner titles, map Grade: E Price: $49.95

    Subjects: Kenya/East Africa

    Review: This kit includes a teacher's guide, a map and five Lerner titles. The teacher's guide includes 11 lessons for students and a resource section for teachers. Three of the 11 lessons for students focus on the study of foreign cultures, the remaining eight lessons focus on Africa in general and Kenya specifically. The first five lessons of the guide, none of which utilizes Lerner titles to any significant degree, are excellent. Also of great use are the enrichment activities which accompany each lesson. The enrichment activities employ the use of materials (other than Lerner titles) which are listed in the Resource Guide. Included among these are materials written by scholars who specialize in the study of Africa. Unfortunately the lessons that employ the Lerner titles, Safari, Kenya in Pictures and Count Your Way Through Africa are highly problematic. Although the lessons are often well-thought out, the use of Lerner titles results in the very problems the guide cautions against, i.e. stereotyping, use of pejorative terms, and an emphasis on the exotic or strange. Additionally, some of these titles are so limited students cannot achieve the objectives outlined in the lesson. The lessons that utilize A Family in Kenya and Cooking the African Way, two relatively good works, are useful. (A word of caution with regard to A Family in Kenya. The child featured in the book and described as Salaama of the Katama family is pictured in the Steck-Vaughn series Where We Live as belonging to a family that lives in Nairobi. See the review ofKenya , authored by Donna Bailey and Anna Sproule, in this volume.) Lerner should be congratulated for devising a unique country-study approach. If equal care and thought are devoted to future Lerner titles, the Suitcase Scholar concept should prove quite useful. (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: BAYNHAM, SIMON TITLE: AFRICA FROM 1945 Publisher: Watts Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 62 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $12.90 ISBN: 0-531-10319-6

    Subjects: Africa/History

    Review: This book is about "Europe" in Africa. As part of a series, it continues the analysis of European conflict in the 20th century. Africa's peoples and history are secondary. The continent, in fact, is notable here only because it represents a geographical region in which Europeans: (a) confronted and competed with each other via their "Scramble for Africa;" (2) exploited the local human and material resources of that continent; and (3) require a revised local historical interpretation to justify their immoral and destructive actions in Africa. The primarily military focus of this volume restricts a balanced analysis even more and attempts instead to demonstrate the superiority of western culture, armaments and technology over that of Africa. (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: BECKER, LAURENCE TITLE: WHAT IS A RESOURCE Publisher: SPICE Copyright: 1985 Type: Book Collation: 35 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): $6.50

    Subjects: Economic development/Africa

    Review: The product here is a self-contained study unit on the concept of natural resources and their role in human and societal development, using Africa as the case for study. I found it to be a splendid, well-informed and very thoughtful package -- displaying considerable insight into African problems from an objective rather than from the orthodox western perspective. The book remains current, not only for the time when it was published but still today, nearly seven years later. The only deficiency is that the author had an excellent opportunity to make some points about the ecological implications of resource use, but chose not to do so. (Robert Browne)

    AUTHOR: BENITEZ, MIRNA TITLE: HOW SPIDER TRICKED SNAKE Publisher: Raintree/Steck Vaughn Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $13.32 ISBN: 0 8172 3524 8

    Subjects: Diaspora/Anansi/Folklore

    Review: This is an easy-to-read adaptation of a well-known story about the trickster spider also known as Anansi. According to the book's summary, this adaptation was drawn from a Jamaican tale. It is similar in some respects to older versions of the story told about Anansi in West Africa. In this version, Spider goes to Tiger, the king of all animals, to ask that all stories be called Spider stories. Tiger promises to grant Spider his wish if Spider is able to catch Snake and deliver him to Tiger. Spider devises several tricks to capture Snake but Snake is onto Spider's schemes. Eventually, Spider is able to outwit Snake and Tiger grants Spider's wish. In the popular version of this Ghanian tale, God or Nyame, is the owner of all the world's stories and it is to Nyame that Spider appeals. Several animals, in addition to a snake, must be captured before Anansi can claim the world's stories. Gail Haley's A Story, A Story is one of the better renditions of this tale. Supporters of the whole language approach to reading (who support keeping stories in tact with their original rich and complex language forms) may prefer Haley's work. Those who want to make the story accessible to younger readers may prefer this primer approach. The story may also be useful in demonstrating to children how stories traveled from West Africa to the Americas during the period of enslavement. The illustrations are undistinguished but not offensive and the text is free of pejorative terms. Teachers will want to supplement this folktale with books about contemporary life. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BENTLEY, JUDITH TITLE: ARCHBISHOP TUTU OF SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Enslow Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 96 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-89490-180-X

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Desmond Tutu

    Review: This biography of Tutu provides a smooth narrative that integrates South African history with personal details about Tutu's life. Bentley does a particularly good job of describing Tutu's philosophy of non- violence, noting Tutu's abhorrence of violence but his support of the liberation struggle. Also, Bentley provides brief but pointed excerpts of Tutu's scathing comments about Western economic support of apartheid. In general, Tutu's life and contemporary history are adequately covered. Unfortunately, Bentley's recounting of early South Africa history is quite problematic. She provides an Afrikaner version of history when she describes the Xhosa as migrating southward where they "met the Boers." She falls into another common pitfall when she simplistically suggests that some South African groups were warlike while others were "peaceful." Peace and war characterize historical periods rather than cultural groupings. Another problem is Bentley's use of pejorative terms. African houses should not be referred to as "huts." Ethnic groups should be substituted for the 19th century term "tribe." And "Bantu" and "native" are not acceptable (Bentley notes that Africans dislike the terms "Bantu" and "native" but goes on to use them anyway). The bibliography should be used with caution. Several titles present biased and/or stereotypical views of South Africa (e.g. Laures' South Africa: Coming of Age Under Apartheid, Lawson's South Africa and Meyer's Voices of South Africa: Growing Up in a Troubled Land ). (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BOROWSKI, RICHARD TITLE: THIS LAND IS OUR LAND : LAND REFORM IN POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Leeds Development Education Center, Address: 151-153 Cardigan Rd. Leeds LS6 1LJ, England Copyright: 1994 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 16 pp. Grade: E/M/H

    Price (pap): Pound2.75 ISBN (pap): 1 871268 55 9 Place Of Publication: Leeds Subjects: South Africa - Study and teaching/Apartheid

    Review: This teaching guide is divided into two parts, "Introductory Activities," and "Land Reform Role Play." The major component of the introductory section is "Past to Present," an interactive activity aimed at providing students with historical background to contemporary land ownership and use issues in South Africa. This is the weaker part of the guide. It fails to include sufficient information on land ownership and use patterns among indigenous South Africans prior to conquest and colonization. The author errs on the date of contact between the Khoisan and Xhosa people (contact certainly happened before the 1700s). The strong resistance Africans mounted to Boer and British rule is overlooked and this section does not achieve the guide's stated aim of raising "awareness of the British involvement in the historical events which have led to the present land division in South Africa." The British reserve system was the blueprint for the post-World War II apartheid system, a fact not mentioned in the guide. Absent also is a description of the foot-dragging behavior of Western corporations with regard to sanctions and divestment. Another weakness is the repeated use of the term "Bantu." In the South African context "Bantu" is a derogatory word, it should be replaced with the term Bantu-speaking. The second part of the guide which focuses on land reform is quite useful. The student role-play activity helps students understand the difficult tasks facing the post-apartheid government with regard to land reform. If teachers supplement the historical content and correct the terminology where needed, they will find this a valuable resource. The lessons are practical and the directions for using the guide easy to understand and follow. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BOROWSKI, RICHARD; KISOPIA, PETER; SAYER, GEOFF TITLE: THE FINAL FRONTIER? LAND ENVIRONMENT AND PASTORALISM IN KENYA Publisher: Leeds Development Education Center Address: 151-153 Cardigan Rd., Leeds LS6 1LJ, England Copyright: 1993 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 48 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): Pound9.50 ISBN (pap): 1 871268 50 8 Place Of Publication: Leeds Subjects: Kenya/Maasai/East Africa/Environment/Economic development

    Review: This guide focuses on the Maasai of Kenya, a small minority group that has received a disporportionate amount of attention in the West. Surprisingly, the authors of this work manage to avoid the stereotypical depictions so commonly found in materials on the Maasai. To being with, the photographs are not designed as exotic representations rather they convey messages of value as illustrations of Maasai lifestyle. The Maasai are represented as living in a modern state in a real-life manner and the people are dressed in a variety of ways. The focus here is on pastoralism as a means of production that is linked to modern economic and environmental realities. Pastoralism is used to instruct students on the impact of external interventions - tourism, debt and land/resource maintenance - on real people and the earth. The lessons are interative, students are invited and motiviated to role play in a realistic manner. They are exposed directly to causes and effects, external decision-making, specific domino examples and the results as they affect human lives and resources at various levels. Recommended. (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: BOZYLINSKY, HANNAH TITLE: LALA SALAMAA Publisher: Philomel Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: East Africa/Fiction/Swahili language materials

    Review: A simple lullaby becomes a vehicle for illustrations of a variety of animals that inhabit East Africa. The text, in Kiswahili and English, features the greeting "lala salama," which means, "sleep in peace," (or as the book loosely translates the phrase, "peace, sleep well') and the Kiswahili names of the animals -- giraffe, hawk, rhinoceros, porcupine, hyena, hare, gazelle, elephant, crocodile, hippopotamus, lion, zebra, cattle, goat, and others. The boy who sings the lullaby begins in the savanna, where he his herding his family's cattle and goats. He crosses the river, leaves the cattle and goats grazing near his home, and finally says "lala salama" to his mother before going to sleep. An author's note gives a brief description of the way of life of the Maasai people, and there is a pronunciation guide. Illustrations are in gouache, with soft lines and earth tones dominant. Though attractive in its simplicity, the illustrations provide a confusing portrait of African life for young children. In most of the scenes, the African boy is shown frolicking with the animals. He swims alongside baby elephants, picks porcupine quills from the nose of an unfortunate goat, and rides a buffalo with a friendly lion following. With the exception of the rhinoceros and the crocodile, none of the animals so much as threatens the boy and his herd. This is especially confusing when one reads the author's note, for the author points out that hyenas and lions can kill members of the herd. The author explains that she wants to show the Maasai's simple lifestyle and closeness to nature. She succeeds in this goal, but in doing so, she presents a simplistic, misleading, and ultimately very stereotypical view of life in rural East Africa. (Lyn Miller-Lachmann)

    AUTHOR: BROOKE-BALL, PETER TITLE: SOUTHERN AFRICA Publisher: Silver Burdett Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 46 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $11.24

    Subjects: Southern Africa - Description and travel/History

    Review: This title is part of the 24-book Silver Burdett series, People and Places. European and certain Asian countries in the series are treated in separate country studies. Southern African countries are simply lumped together. As one would expect in a volume of this broad scope, the information is inadequate. Accuracy is also lacking. Students are informed, for example, that early Bantu-speaking settlers "pushed" San hunters and gatherers into the desert. Actually, intermarriage and accommodation were the major relationships between Bantu-speakers and the San. The history section is quite Eurocentric, particularly when discussing 19th century battles and personalities. Shaka is described as "ruthless," while the notorious Cecil Rhodes is called a "statesman." Apartheid is discussed in this volume. Indeed, it is integrated into many of the topics. But this is one of the book's few strengths. The publishers should abandon the regional approach for southern Africa and adopt the single country format as it has for Europe. This would permit more in-depth discussion and help students distinguish among southern African countries. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BROWDER, ATLANTIS; BROWDER, ANTHONY TITLE: MY FIRST TRIP TO AFRICA Publisher: Institute of Karmic Guidance Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 38 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $16.95 ISBN: 0-924944-02-1 Price (pap): $8.95 ISBN (pap): 0-924944-01-3

    Subjects: History/Egypt/North Africa

    Review: This is an excellent introduction to Africa for children. The authors wisely chose one African country, Egypt, and gave it their full attention. The authors are a father and daughter team, Anthony and Atlantis Browder. Atlantis, who is 8 years old, is our narrator and guide. The book chronicles her 13 day study tour of Egypt in 1989. Atlantis describes her visits to ancient Egyptian cities and historical sites. She also shows the influence of Egypt on architectural structures in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Black and white photographs and colored drawings illuminate the text. The book corrects distortions about Egypt and provides the original African names of certain places and people (e.g. Kemet is the indigenous name for ancient Egypt). Additional pluses include a gem of a glossary and a useful teaching guide. (Robert J. Cummings and Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BROWN, BARBARA; JOST, DIANE TITLE: AFRICA: BEYOND THE MYTHS Publisher: Society for Visual Education Copyright: 1992 Type: Filmstrip Collation: 2 sound filmstrips, guide Grade: P/E/M Price: $89.00

    Subjects: Africa - Study and teaching

    Review: The concept for these filmstrips derives from a 1985 slide-tape program produced by the African Studies Center at Boston University entitled What Do We Know About Africa? Its aim was to address and dispel the negative stereotypes of Africa which appear to run relatively unobstructed through American film, popular literature, print media, television, advertising, and, consequently, Americans minds. Barbara Brown of Boston University and Diane Jost of the Field Museum in Chicago have adapted the What Do We Know About Africa? concept and converted it for use at the elementary and middle-school levels. Their credentials, timing, and perspective are welcome. The filmstrips' slides and scripts work well together. The focus upon Africans living in the countryside as well as those living in the city is nicely illustrated and enhanced by introducing a student and family in each of the separate programs. The 11- minute and 15 - minute length of the programs is appropriate, and teachers will appreciate the script of both programs, teacher's guide, and activity sheets included in the accompanying three-ring binder. Only three aspects of the filmstrips may detract from it as a teaching resource. First, it is a filmstrip and not a slide program or videocassette. My impression is that both students and teachers prefer and use slide-tape programs and videocassettes rather than filmstrips, but I am open to persuasion. Second, the narrator of Program 1 -- not identified in the credits -- is occasionally too bubbly and effervescent, perhaps the result of a few too many exclamation points and underlinings within the scripts or within the director's mind. On the positive side, the narrator is enthusiastic about the subject -- let's learn about Africa! -- and her enthusiasm is infectious. Third, the voices of the African students featured in both programs are clearly those of adults. It remains to be seen how the younger and older student audiences will respond to adults pretending to speak like a child or preteen. Regardless, Brown and Jost are on the right track in producing audio-visual materials with practical teaching value, proper organization, and a reasonable price. Both of these filmstrips are recommended for teachers seeking to introduce Africa in a positive way that also counteracts the wrong impressions and information collected by young students from less-informed sources. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: BROWN, KENNETH TITLE: FROM AFRICA TO THE NEW WORLD, 1000-1713 Publisher: Troll Copyright: 1970 Type: Filmstrip Collation: 1 silent filmstrip Grade: P/E

    Subjects: African Americans/West Africa/History/Slavery/Diaspora

    Review: This filmstrip is extremely dated in its contents, references and usages of terms. "Negro," "the new world," "discovery," "Dark Continent," and "tribes" are terms long since retired. The initial reference to "Portuguese explorers" as Africa's chronological point of departure is not valid. Africa has its own historical points of departure. The filmstrip jumps too quickly from one event to another. It gives the erroneous impression that the many events naturally follow each other, yet they often do not. Also, themes are left incomplete and without examples. In short, the author attempts too much and fails to provide a meaningful depth of knowledge. Additionally, today it is most unusual to encounter a silent filmstrip. Thus the first question a potential purchaser must address is whether a silent, captioned filmstrip is a worthwhile purchase. In this instance, the mediocre quality of the filmstrip obviates the need for such a decision. (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: BROWN, MARCIA TITLE: SHADOW Publisher: Scribner's Sons Copyright: 1982 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-68417226-7 Price (pap): $3.95

    Subjects: Africa - Poetry

    Review: Shadow has no specific setting. Apparently, the book is meant to convey a sweeping view of Africa. Tangled forests, mountains, baobab trees, and large game animals suggest various climatic and vegetational zones. The visual messages this picture book sends are negative. Brown's illustrations evoke eerie and menacing images of Africa. Scary masks, waiting vultures, spear-carrying warriors, spooky spirits, and creepy crawlers are encountered in rapid succession. The "dark continent" theme is repeated on every page. Children learn virtually nothing about everyday life in Africa. Africans are depicted either dancing, hunting, standing around or going to war. It is difficult to understand why the Caldecott committee chose to honor this book with a medal. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BRUYKER, DANIEL DE AND DAUBER, MAXIMILIEN TITLE: TINTIN'S TRAVEL DIARIES : AFRICA Publisher: Barron's Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 75 pp. Grade: E/M

    ISBN: 0 8120 6425 9

    Place Of Publication: Hauppauge, NY Subjects: Africa - Description and travel

    Review: Full of stereotypes and offensive language this book is reminiscent of old colonial literature about Africa. The colonial flavor is not surprising. The book is inspired by a comic-strip series, the Adventures of Tintin, which was launched during the colonial era (in 1929) by the Belgian cartoonist George Remi better known as Herge. Hugely popular, the comics highlight the daring activities of Tintin, an intrepid boy reporter. Although critics credit Herge with scrupulous research for his Tintin books, some have lambasted the series for its bias against various groups (including Jews, women, and Africans). At least one charge of bias struck home. Herge reportedly stated his regret for the colonial prejudices that appeared in his Tintin book on the Belgian Congo. The format for Tintin's Travel Diaries, Africa is different from the Herge series. Tintin's adventures are not the focal point here, instead Tintin provides comic relief as serious and not so serious subjects about Africa are discussed. The book poses thirty questions about Africa, each of which is answered in a two-page spread which consists of (1) a brief answer in italics, (2) a longer answer of several paragraphs, (3) color photographs, and (4) a cartoon. A glossary, chronology, map, index, and undistinguished bibliography complete the volume. The cover of the book shows Tintin (clad in a white hunter's outfit) and his faithful pooch, Snowy, sweating their way through Africa. En route they encounter "Pygmies," "Bushmen," "tribes," and "natives" who believe in "fetishes" and "magic." The plethora of pejorative terms in the book is matched with images that evoke old stereotypes of Africa. Most shocking is an illustration representing African religions. A clawed, evil spirit hovers behind an unsuspecting Tintin as he walks, gun in hand, in a thicket. In addition to the stereotypical presentations and offensive language there are two glaring errors. The Xhosa of South Africa are not the "Xhana" and the Khoisan are not a Bantu-speaking people (their language belongs to the Khoisan language family). Tucked amid the nonsense in this book, one does find answers that reflect solid research. Unfortunately, the stereotypical and ethnocentric presentations that predominate obviate the usefulness of the information. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: BRYAN, ASHLEY THE STORY OF LIGHTNING AND THUNDER TITLE: THE STORY OF LIGHTNING AND THUNDER Publisher: Macmillan/Atheneum Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 27 pp. Grade: P

    Subjects: Folklore

    Review: Ma Sheep Thunder and her son, Ram Lightning used to live on earth in the West Afircan coastal village of "Alkebu-lan, called Africa today." They were docile: pattable and chattable. However, as he matures, Ram Lightning wants to display his horns before the King and villagers; to do so he uses his head and horns to move from the back of the fron of the assembled community. To protect the villagers from Ram's head, the King orders him and Ma to move to the outskirts of the village. Later, Ram Lightning ears the hat maker's wares and knocks her to the ground. Eventually, Ram Lightning's destructive behavior prompts the King to banish him to the sky. From time to time, he leaves his sky home. A fine book for reading aloud and discussing with elementary school students. Well- written and well illustrated by Ashley Bryan, the book offers insights into unintended consequences, the nature of our natures, villlage political life, and the dependence of humans upon land and rain. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: CARAWAY, CAREN TITLE: AFRICAN DESIGNS OF THE CONGO, NIGERIA, THE CAMEROONS AND THE GUINEA COAST Publisher: Stemmer House Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: E/M/H

    Price (pap): $15.95

    Subjects: Art/West Africa/Central Africa

    Review: The focus of this book is a rendering in black and white line drawings of images derived from a variety of art forms from selected African traditional societies. Images were selected from various visual art forms created by peoples from what the author terms as "The Congo, Nigeria, the Cameroons and the Guinea Coast." This classification is confusing since the Guinea Coast, technically, includes Nigeria and Cameroon. Most of the book is pictorial and comes without pagination. Textual information is very scanty and does not make substantive reference to the content of images featured. Out of the 140 pages, only nine were devoted to textual information. The text contains some useful general information, much of it which is accurate. However, a substantial amount of obsolete data, terminologies and misconceptions about Africa are found in the text. Such terms as "Pygmies"and "tribes," and concepts such as "hot, humid rain forest," "climate that has long made cultural development difficult in many areas," and "when the Portuguese discovered The Congo in 1482" are all considered inaccurate and therefore out of usage in current literature on Africa. There are also incorrect usages of names of ethnic groups or peoples. The use of prefixes such as "ba" in names of peoples is inaccurate and inconsistent with the language patterns of those peoples. Bakwele, Bakuba, Bateke, Ashanti, etc. are all incorrect usages. The usages are Kwele people, Kuba people, Teke people and Asante people. While some of the images presented are identified by names of ethnic groups, many are not identified at all. Since the focus of the book is on designs in African art, greater attention should have been given to the names of the art pieces, and the symbolic significance of motifs and patterns featured. This information should have appeared alongside the corresponding images and would have enriched the information base of the book. The line drawings are generally accurate portrayals of the original art forms. The technical quality and craftsmanship are quite impressive. It is those aspects of the book that make it useful if properly adapted for a variety of instructional purposes. Its usefulness lies in how creatively those designs can be adapted for use in school art activities. (Kwaku Ofori- Ansah)

    AUTHOR: CASE, DIANNE TITLE: LOVE, DAVID Publisher: Lodestar / Penguin Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 128 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-525-67350

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: South Africa/Fiction/Southern Africa

    Review: The setting for this novel is Cape Flats, an impoverished area near Cape Town, South Africa. The narrator is Anna Jantjies, a "colored" girl apparently 7 - 10 years old. The novel revolves around the tension between Anna's half brother David and his stepfather, Dadda (the father of Anna). Dadda's actions are often quite brutal, he frequently beats David and occasionally hits David and Anna's mother, Mamsie. David's resentment of his stepfather and the poverty that surrounds him leads him to petty crime. Eventually, he is arrested for selling marijuana. Following his arrest, white authorities return David to his parents. After a period of observation, he is removed from the home and sent to reform school. At novel's end, reform school is depicted as the best place for David. Whites, in this novel, are distant figures who are neutral or kindly. The only significant white character is Mamsie's employer. We never meet her directly but hear of her because of her charitable gifts to Mamsie. Dadda rails against these pittances and tells Mamsie she's being exploited but Mamsie has nothing but kind words for her madam. Apartheid is never discussed in this novel. Rather, the impact of apartheid is apparent in the poverty and pathology of Cape Flats. One wonders, however, if American students will make the connection between apartheid and the disruption in the Jantjies family. The victimization of women is another troublesome issue. Mamsie cringes in fear before her drunken husband's rages. She fails to protect her son from Dadda's abuses and endures her own beatings without complaint. Anna's view of her abusive father is similar to that of her mother. Love, not resentment, surges when her drunken father is asleep, "Mamsie and I struggled to remove his shoes and get him under the blankets. He sometimes does wrong things and says hurtful things, but I cannot love him any less, even though he makes me angry at times. When he snores so contentedly, all is forgiven." The author of this book, a South African, describes her novel as based on her mother's own childhood. The experiences she relates are certainly believable. Unfortunately there is little here to help readers see the total picture. Will they identify apartheid as the hidden disrupter of familial peace or will they simply point an accusing finger at Dadda? (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: CATCHPOLE, BRIAN; AKINJOGDIN, I. A. TITLE: HISTORY OF WEST AFRICA IN MAPS AND DIAGRAMS Publisher: Collins Educational Copyright: 1983 Type: Book Collation: 147 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): $13.95 ISBN (pap): 0-00-032650-X

    Subjects: Maps/West Africa/History

    Review: Catchpole and Akinjogbin's compilation of maps and commentary is an excellent contribution to the study of West African history and a very useful tool for students of the subject. The maps are arranged in chronological order, beginning ca. A.D. 100 and extending into the late 1970's. The detail of the maps is generally accurate, and includes not only the location of states, cities, and empires, but also the direction of ethnic migrations, trade routes, invasion patterns, cultural dispersions, military campaigns, etc. Each map is accompanied by a synopsis of the area in question's history and a brief discussion of important attendant issues. For example, the treatment of the Asante includes a rulers' list, a diagram of military formations, a reproduction of the Golden Stool, and a map illustrating Asante expansion. The section on the Atlantic slave trade is quite good, as it focuses on zones of origination, routes, period technology, and even touches on the complex question of underdevelopment. The book gives equal attention to developments in the Muslim savannah and the "traditional" forest, and discusses interaction between the two. The colonial era is well represented, and the post-colonial period includes discussion of the OAU. The book even discusses Garvey's influence on Africa and the rise of Pan-Africanism. (Michael Gomez)

    AUTHOR: CHIASSON, JOHN TITLE: AFRICAN JOURNEY Publisher: Bradbury Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 55 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $16.95 ISBN: 0-02-718530-3

    Subjects: Africa - Description and travel

    Review: This is a book with high quality photos very reminiscent of a browse through National Geographics of pre-independence Africa. The book depicts people in five different cultural contexts as though these cultures are simple, one dimensional and devoid of the dynamic of ethnic diversity and political competitiveness. Both the photos and the narratives send an old colonial-era message: that these African cultures are locked in a timeless past. Time has stood still. Despite the fact that current demographic statistics for each of these cultures indicate increasing urbanization and a burgeoning urban and young adult population with attendant urban stresses of unemployment, noise and air pollution, lack of public services, etc., the cover photo conjures up an image of a past era - one of man against or in harmony with nature. It is a simplistic message in what is, in fact, an increasingly complex physical and cultural environment. Additional observations are as follows: (1) There is a definite bias in terms used. For example, the caption describing the cover photo uses the term "tribespeople" and the term "tribe" is used throughout the book. (2) There are over generalizations and questionable categorizations of ethnic groups. For example, the Tuareg are referred to as "light-skinned" and "nobles of the desert." This is a highly superficial and subjective observation based on the author's site specific encounter with this ethnic group. Having worked with both the Tuareg and the WoDaBee in Niger, I know there are dark-skinned Tuareg and never hear them referred to as "nobles of the desert." (3) "Man against nature" is the recurring theme and message of this photobook, despite the author's statement that this African journey includes a cosmopolitan city. Not one photo is of a cosmopolitan city, thus presenting a very misleading reality of African environments today. (4) The few references to present-day Africa are completely divorced from the political dynamic in these countries. For example, the author alludes to socioeconomic constraints faced by the Tuareg, but assumes no responsibility for articulating these constraints based on the facts. Instead, the reader is told that the future of the Tuareg seems to depend on the rain. (5) Finally, this photobook has nothing to recommend it, in fact, it sends an unrealistic, inadequate, and negative message to young readers being introduced to Africa. (Theresa Ware)

    AUTHOR: CLARK, BEATRICE TITLE: LA FAMILLE SENEGALAISE Publisher: International Film Bureau and Hampton University

    Type: Filmstrip Collation: 2 cassettes, Guides Grade: H Price: $70.00

    Subjects: Senegal/West Africa/French/Francophone Africa

    Review: The filmstrip portrays traditional as well as modern Senegalese lives. It can indeed help students grasp two different perspective on Senegalese values. The language is clear and understandable. Unfortunately, so many ideas are expressed in a rather superficial manner. Some of these cultural elements need some explanation for non-Africans to understand their significance. The cultural content is not explained with enough details at all. A thematic study that treats all the cultural elements in depth would have been helpful. A mere compilation of information on Africa may not be the best way to introduce material from Francophone Africa to non-African students. (Mamadou Gueye)

    AUTHOR: CLARK, BEATRICE TITLE: UN CONTE AFRICAN: LE TAUREAU DE BOUKI Publisher: International Film Bureau and Hampton University

    Type: Filmtrip Collation: 1 filmstrip, student and teacher guides Grade: H Price: $37.00

    Subjects: Senegal - Social life and customs/West Africa/French/Francophone Africa

    Review: The idea of using an oral narrative for language learning is good. However, the performance of the narrative via the filmstrip and the accompanying narration is a bit too static. The clarity of the performance is also questionable and this might constitute a barrier to easy comprehension. (Mbye Cham)

    AUTHOR: CLARK, LEON ED TITLE: THROUGH AFRICAN EYES, VOL. 1: THE PAST: THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE Publisher: CITE (Council on International and Public Affairs) Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 294 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $28.95 ISBN: 0-938960-35-0 Price (pap): $19.95 ISBN (pap): 0-938960-27-X

    Subjects: Africa/History

    Review: This is a revision of the highly successful first edition published in1970. The focus is on African perspective. It includes reprints of primary resources, many written by Africans, with introductions by Clark for each section of articles and each article. There are four sections on the African past (ancient empires and oral tradition), the European arrival (slavery and trade), the colonial experience (missionaries, trade, colonial government), and the rise of nationalism (political and cultural aspects). A complementary work -- Teaching Strategies $8.95 paper, -- is also available. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: CLINTON, SUSAN TITLE: THE WORLD'S GREAT EXPLORERS: HENRY STANLEY AND DAVID LIVINGSTONE Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 128 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $17.95 ISBN: 0-516-03055-8

    Subjects: Africa/Biography

    Review: As a genre, explorer books are Eurocentric, for exploration as a science and challenge to manhood has been an aspect of Western culture. Thus, although the author generally avoids negative stereotyping terms, such as "native" or "primitive," that frequently characterize explorer books, there is little here that can help us understand the African experience. The author appears to rely primarily on the writings of her protagonists. Because Livingstone was more understanding of African cultures than Stanley, she is able to discuss the political problems created within Sechele's society by his conversion and the extent to which concern about their military security influenced the Makololo alliance with Livingstone. Yet these are minor observations in a story dominated by European heroes, and Stanley's accounts frequently distort. He tended to see Africans as hostile or not hostile--without attempting to comprehend their political realities, and this tone is carried into the book. The author's comment that, "He fought them when he couldn't avoid it" (p. 96) is a naive acceptance of Stanley's view of himself. In the one case where Clinton describes a leader articulate in his resistance to foreign encroachment, she uncritically recounts Stanley's story of the ruse by which Stanley intimidated him. This book deals with the anti- slavery/trade/exploration/imperialism nexus better than most juvenile books. Yet the interconnection doesn't become real, perhaps because too little space is given to the evangelical roots of abolitionism in Great Britain. The author's organization of the stories of the two men is effective. While the book is filled with interesting illustrations, many from the explorers' books, there is no discussion of the likely accuracy of the images presented. The single map is not clearly reproduced or adequately explained. (Loretta Kreider Andrews)

    TITLE: COTE D'IVOIRE IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1828-7

    Subjects: Ivory Coast/West Africa

    Review: This is an even handed and fair historical and geographical text about a single West African country. The chapter on the people, and on cultural factors, is sympathetically presented. Although the swift deterioration which has taken place in the Cote d'Ivoire since the book was published has undercut the text's generally positive assessment of the Cote d'Ivoire's economic outlook, the book provides an accurate portrayal of that country's post-independence economic policies. (Robert Browne)

    AUTHOR: CRANE, LOUISE TITLE: AFRICAN NAMES: PEOPLE AND PLACES Publisher: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Center for African Studies Copyright: 1982 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 105 pp. Grade: T

    Price (pap): $13.00

    Subjects: Personal Names - Study and teaching/Africa

    Review: This teaching manual provides a wealth of information on African names. Part I gives background information on personal and place names. Naming ceremonies are described as are the numerous ways African children receive their names. The section on place names gives historical background, describes changes made during colonial rule and efforts by Africans to reverse these changes after independence. Part III provides numerous activities teachers can use in the classroom. Part III also includes a pronunciation guide, a list of African countries and important places in African countries. All the activities are reproducible, a real plus. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: CROFTS, MARYLEE TITLE: TANZANIA IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1838-4

    Subjects: Tanzania/East Africa

    Review: This text is well presented with excellent pictures, maps, charts, etc. The colors are very appealing. The geographical and historical information is appropriate and presented with a positive view. I commend the preparer for an extensive coverage of Tanzania geographically. Though the material presented seems positive, there is a limited presentation of life in Tanzania today. In most African countries, especially cities, dress varies. Children learning about Africa need to understand this. Also emphasis should be given to the strong feeling of "Ujamaa" that prevails through Tanzania and goes across ethnic groups; there is some mention but it is inadequate. In summary, the text is adequate and I recommend it for students; however, it must be supplemented to give a thorough and adequate view of urban and rural life. The strongest features are the color and sharpness of the pictures. (Elvira Williams)

    AUTHOR: CROWDER, MICHAEL TITLE: WEST AFRICA: AN INTRODUCTION TO ITS HISTORY Publisher: Longman Copyright: 1977 Type: Book Collation: 214 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): $8.95 ISBN (pap): 0-582-60003-0

    Subjects: West Africa/History

    Review: The late Michael Crowder's introduction to West African history is fundamentally sound. It was written for the high school student and, as such, provides a very informative background on the region. The author's use of photographs, maps, and other illustrations greatly aids the student in formulating a composite picture of the subject matter. The substance of the textbook is straightforward and uncomplicated. The reader is treated to an overview of important developments, with discussion of significant leaders and themes. With regard to Islamic reform movements, the author's emphasis of Usman dan Fodio's efforts in Nigeria and relative disinterest in similar developments in 18th century Senegambia is regrettable, but it reflects the state of the literature at the time of the book's publication. Crowder's inclusion of the theme of resistance to the European conquest reflects his earlier research on the matter. However, the distinction between French "direct" and British "indirect" rule is problematic. Notwithstanding these observations, the book is generally reliable and enjoyable. (Michael Gomez)

    AUTHOR: DALY, NIKI TITLE: NOT SO FAST, SONGOLOLO Publisher: Macmillan Copyright: 1985 Type: Book Collation: 30 pp. Grade: P Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0 696 50367 9 Price (pap): $3.50 ISBN (pap): 4 050715 9

    Subjects: Fiction/South Africa

    Review: Songololo is the Zulu word for millipede. The term is affectionately applied to Shepard by his granny. Granny is nervous about going into the city to shop so she takes little Shepard along to help her. Through Shepard and Granny's eyes we see the city. The illustrations depict patterns of segregation in apartheid South Africa but no direct comments are made about apartheid. This is a warm satisfying story with an emphasis on family and the interdependent relationship between old and young. Adults can explore the question of apartheid by discussing the illustrations. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: DAMALI, NIA TITLE: GOLDEN NAMES FOR AN AFRICAN PEOPLE Publisher: Blackwood Press Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 72 pp. Grade: E/M/H

    Price (pap): $6.95 ISBN (pap): 0-945708-01-7

    Subjects: Personal Names/Africa

    Review: The foreword to this volume, by Professor Asa Hilliard, is an excellent introduction. Hilliard describes the history of name-giving by African people (especially African Americans) and the social dimensions involved in the selection of a name. The book is broadly divided into 2 parts -- "African Names" and "Arabic Names." This has the unfortunate consequence of reinforcing the notion that Arabic-speaking Africa is somehow separate from the rest of Africa. However, the African section does include some Arabic names; these are identified as "Arabic, N. Africa." Common personal names predominate in both sections but the Arabic section also includes names associated with Allah and Muhammad. Included here are "Ninety Nine Names of Allah," "Names of Prophet Muhammad," "Biblical Names and Arabic Equivalents," "Names of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad," and "Names of the Daughters of Prophet Muhammad." Approximately 1,320 names are given. Names in both sections are divided by gender. Gender names in the African section are arranged alphabetically and by ethnic group. Those in the Arabic section are simply arranged alphabetically. Meanings are given for most names. Phonetic pronunciations are given for the names in the African section. In the Arabic section, the names are written in Arabic and Roman characters. Phonetic pronunciations are not given on each page but the Arabic section is preceded by a "Transliteration of Arabic Names." Persons without knowledge of Arabic or unskilled in linguistics may need further help with pronunciations. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: DANAHER, KEVIN TITLE: BEYOND SAFARIS: A GUIDE TO BUILDING PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE TIES WITH AFRICA Publisher: Africa World Press Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 193 pp. Grade: H Price: $39.95 ISBN: 0- 86543-204-X Price (pap): $12.95 ISBN (pap): 0-86543-205-8

    Subjects: Africa/Development/Volunteer workers

    Review: Kevin Danaher is an activist regarding United States-African relations and policies. In 1988, he published South Africa: A New U.S. Policy for the 1990s through Food First Books in San Francisco. Beyond Safaris is aimed at the American who cannot afford one of Fielding's safaris or is interested in approaching Africa with different intentions. His first chapter -- Why Care About Africa? -- sets a pragmatic and humanistic tone for the remainder of the book. Other chapter titles include: Aid: From Charity to Solidarity; Studying and Volunteering in Africa; Partners with People; Travel with a Purpose; Fair Trade; Confronting Africa's Environment Crisis; and Corporate and Governmental Accountability. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: DE SAUZA, JAMES TITLE: BROTHER ANANSI AND THE CATTLE RANCH Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-89239-0441

    Subjects: Folklore/Central America/Nicaragua/Diaspora/Anansi

    Review: Originally told in West Africa, Anansi stories traveled via enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas. This story about Anansi comes from the Atlantic coastal area of Nicaragua. The Central American environment and culture are reflected in the animal characters, terrain, the activities in which the characters engage and the bilingual text written in English and Spanish. Brother Tiger, the object of Anansi's tricks, is not a true tiger but an ocelot, a leopard cat that is indigenous to the Americas. Cattle, ranches, and palm trees -- all typical of Nicaragua -- are woven into the tale. Also, as often seen in tales from the Americas, Anansi appears in human rather than spider form. The story begins with Brother Tiger winning the local lottery. Brother Anansi quickly seizes this opportunity to swindle his friend. He persuades Brother Tiger to use his winnings to go into cattle ranching. Brother Tiger likes the idea. He tells Anansi: "We could sell meat, milk and cheese. We could ship to the United States and South America. We could make big business." Brother Anansi and Brother Tiger become partners but, of course, Brother Anansi ends up with all of Brother Tiger's cattle. In contrast to most Anansi tales, this one ends without a moral. Despite this rather unusual ending, the story can be used in several ways. To help primary children understand the concept of the Africa diaspora, children can follow the path of Anansi from West Africa across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and Central America. Modern aspects of the story (e.g. the lottery) can be used to illustrate the dynamic aspect of Anansi stories which are constantly evolving and adapting to different times and places. Teachers can also use the story to help students explore the economic ties between Nicaragua and its neighbors in South and North America. Finally, since the story ends with Anansi escaping punishment for wrong doing, teachers can instruct students to write a sequel in which Anansi gets what he deserves. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: DENENBERG, BARRY TITLE: NELSON MANDELA: NO EASY WALK TO FREEDOM Publisher: Scholastic Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 164 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-590-44163-9 Price (pap): $2.95

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Nelson Mandela/Southern Africa

    Review: This biography of Nelson Mandela is divided into five parts. Part I takes a brief look at Mandela's early life; Part II reviews South African history; Part III, the bulk of the book, summarizes the resistance movement to the 1980s, Part IV describes South Africa's lengthy state of emergency; and Part V focuses on Mandela's release. Mandela's life is adequately handled. His struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments are satisfactorily described albeit in a rather dry fashion. The author handles contemporary South African history (1948 to the present) quite well. He does a particularly good job of summarizing the resistance movement and discussing the various groups and philosophies. He avoids common pitfalls (e.g. red-baiting, "tribalism" ) and delivers hard hitting commentary on South Africa's oppressive policies. There are problems. No attention is given to women's role in the resistance movement (except Winnie Mandela, of course). Also, the role Western corporations and governments played in supporting apartheid is ignored. Attention is focused instead on recent divestment campaigns and the sanctions legislation the U.S. belatedly imposed. Among the most serious flaws is the author's treatment of South African history. The focus here is on Europeans in Africa. Africans are introduced only as their actions affect whites. Incredibly the first people to suffer European exploitation and dispossession, the Khoisan, are never mentioned. Asians enslaved by the Dutch are also overlooked. Language poses another problem. Africans object to terms such as "native," "primitive," and "tribal." In sum, the book's strongest feature is the coverage of resistance history since 1948. Indeed the book is as much a history of the contemporary resistance movement as it is a biography of Mandela's life. Teachers will want to supplement the historical treatment with works that are accurate and fair. Good choices are A New History of Southern Africa by Neil Parsons and Kevin Shillington's A History of Southern Africa. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: DIAMOND, ARTHUR TITLE: THE IMPORTANCE OF ANWAR SADAT Publisher: Lucent Books Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 111 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN: 1 56006 020 4

    Place Of Publication: San Diego Subjects: Anwar Sadat/Biography/Egypt/North Africa

    Review: This biography of Sadat appears in The Importance of series which aims to place influential persons in historical perspective, using abundant quotations from primary and secondary sources. Sadat is presented as a bold, courageous peacemaker and a controversial figure because of his peace initiatives with Israel. His life is traced from his childhood to his assassination in 7 chapters. Six of the chapters focus on his political activities from 1939 to 1981 in considerable detail. His successes and failures are covered, as are changes in his thinking and strategies, as well as continuity with his rural upbringing. Sadat's life is discussed in the context of both Egyptian nationalism and Middle Eastern/Arab relations. A time line summarizes the important dates in Sadat's life, and small maps situate Egypt geographically, in 1947 at the time of the Israel-Arab partition, and in the Middle East after the 1967 war. Numerous black and white photographs with explanatory captions are integrated with the text. There are footnotes for the numerous direct quotations and the list of works for further reading is annotated. The biography shows the diversity and broad scope of Sadat' activities. Overall it appears to be balanced. Since it includes a lot of factual information in less than 100 pages, it is most appropriate for advanced readers. (Nancy J. Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: DOSTERT, PIERRE TITLE: AFRICA 1991 Publisher: Stryker-Post Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 207 pp. Grade: M/H Price: o.p.

    Subjects: Africa

    Review: Like previous editions of this annual publication, this volume is full of errors, distortions, and flawed language. Dostert uses anachronistic racial categories, dated historical approaches, and offensive terms such as "native" and "Bushmen." Most objectionable are his superior, ethnocentric, and racist attitudes towards Africans. He displays unabashed disdain for Africans and their abilities, repeatedly describing them as childlike. His introductory statement sets the tone for the entire work: "All too many African nations... have come to resemble hulking undereducated teenagers who have done little or no work, and then pout when their allowances in the form of foreign aid are reduced or eliminated." (v) He characterizes Africans as generally lacking "the technical or social wisdom" (vii) to tackle important problems. He singles Kenyan men out for special condemnation: "...women and children of age do the vast majority of the work in the fields. Men lead a rather leisurely existence debating and quarreling over little or nothing most of the day." (p. 154) Dostert's Cold War approach to the study of Africa is another serious problem. A staunch anti-communist, Dostert indoctrinates rather than informs. African perspectives are frequently ignored and the facts often distorted to fit Dostert's world view. For example, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, he insists on characterizing South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) as "communist." He views "communism," rather than apartheid, as the primary reason for the increasingly repressive tactics of the South African government. He describes the ANC as having adopted "an openly communist, Black supremacy emphasis that struck fear in the hearts of most Whites." (p. 199) This view of South African history hardly squares with the facts. It is true that some ANC members belong to South Africa's communist party but most of its members, including Nelson Mandela, do not. Moreover, in its 80 - year - history, the ANC has never adopted a "Black supremacy" policy. Country studies are sorely needed by students. This volume, however, cannot be recommended. Global Studies: Africa , published by Dushkin, is a much more balanced and accurate annual. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: DREW, EILEEN TITLE: BLUE TAXIS: STORIES ABOUT AFRICA Publisher: Milkweed Editions Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 155 pp. Grade: YA

    Price (pap): $9.95 ISBN (pap): 0-915-94341-7

    Subjects: Short Stories/West Africa/Zaire/Central Africa/Literature

    Review: Eileen Drew was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1957. Her father was a State Department employee and she lived, while growing up, in Lagos, Nigeria; Conakry, Guinea; and Accra, Ghana. From 1979 to 1981, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer librarian and teacher in Nsona Mpangu, Zaire. Nine of Drew's stories are included in this volume, one that provides American perspectives of African village and city life. As Rosellen Brown points out in her Foreword, the book's stories take place mainly outdoors "light- struck, under a wide African sky." But, "Drew is not smitten with a romantic view of the veldt, a desire to paint the kind of sweeping vistas that so bedazzled film audiences in Hollywood's construction of Out of Africa." Instead, Drew writes about ordinary Africans, Europeans, and Americans. Frequently the protagonist is clearly her younger self. The value of this approach, for American students and teachers, is that it includes various expatriate responses to Africa's social/political/economic conditions and pace of life, and Africa's opinions of "outsiders." Volunteer teacher Christina James of New Jersey--referred to as "Miss" in her classroom but "Miss Tomato" privately by her students because of her red hair -- was a puzzle. "Miss's" students, reflecting the respect and courtesy Africans generally reserve for guests and strangers, thought they could help her find a husband by plaiting her hair and encouraging her to eat more yams so that her cheeks and nose would become fuller and more attractive to men. Other Africans, newly impoverished by rising prices and unemployment, are envious of those who leave Europe or America to come to Africa. "Always without worries, without cares, so high in your skyscrapers and airplanes, your homes like botanical gardens," sneers "Cathy's" fellow passenger in a blue-colored taxi in Accra. If Americans harbor stereotyped views of Africans, the reverse is also true. American movies and television programs ("Dallas;" "Dynasty") lead urban Africans to believe that Americans can usually be found in the boardroom, bedroom, or limousine and usually with a drink in hand. Thus American PCVs, missionaries, and tourists in Africa sometimes hear: if you're rich enough to travel to Africa, you're rich! While angry and embarrassed by her African fellow-passenger, Cathy reflects upon the difference between him and the smooth-talking Kwame, who gives tennis lessons to embassy staff but never gives offense. "And I have to respect that man in the taxi," Cathy concludes. "Everything about him was honest, from his wire-rim glasses to his aching hate." Drew's American-in-Africa faces intellectual and emotional issues regarding personal values and what it means to live in someone else's country where the languages, sights, sounds, and smells are different. For some the "culture shock" never ends. Recommended for first-time travelers to Africa, including high school and college students. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: ECHEWA, T. OBINKARAM TITLE: THE ANCESTOR TREE Publisher: Dutton / Lodestar Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $13.99 ISBN: 0 525 67467 5

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Nigeria/Fiction/West Africa

    Review: The Ancestor Tree is the story of an old man Nna-nna and the children who eagerly come to listen to his wonderful stories every morning. The old man gets sick and he is sad because he has no children and there will therefore be no one to plant an Ancestor Tree in the Forest of the Ancestors when he dies. Only someone who has living children can have an Ancestor Tree planted for them. The children promise to plant an Ancestor Tree for him. After Nna-nna's death the children convince the Village Council to plant an Ancestor Tree for Nna-nna. One of the elders says, "You children have taught us that customs have a beginning, customs can change, and sometimes, customs come to an end. We have decided to end one custom and begin another." Apart from being a good story, The Ancestor Tree provides a corrective to the view of traditions in African societies as static. Here we see tradition evolving as is always the case. The only problem are the disappointing illustrations. They are awkward and lack cultural details.

    AUTHOR: EKEH, EFANIM TITLE: HOW TABLES CAME TO UMU MADU: THE FABULOUS HISTORY OF AN UNKNOWN CONTINENT Publisher: Africa World Press Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 97 pp. Grade: M Price: $19.95 cloth ISBN: 0-86543-127-2 Price (pap): $7.95

    Subjects: Africa - Folklore

    Review: This modern-day aetiological legend about the allegorical introduction of tables to the village of Umu Madu reinforces the myth of the noble savage with statements such as "the good people of Umu Madu were quite content having their simple little feasts on the ground." The idea that all was well in the humble village before the colonizers (No Skin) brought total discord, jealousy, and chaos also reinforces: Africans as victims; colonizers as the incarnation of evil; and historical events as either all good or all bad. The parable intimates that fighting did not even exist in the village before No Skin came to teach the villagers how to wage war and become mercenaries. This is too simplistic. It does not allow the reader the possibility of viewing both positive and negative aspects of social events. Even though it is lanced by the author as a contemporary fable and its satirical intent clearly evident at certain very comical points, one questions whether the allegorical allusions may be too subtle for a young inexperienced school-age audience. Statements such as "The era of B.T. (Before Tables) was the era of darkness and primitivity ... [we] cannot go back. Tables are here to stay" (p.27), though funny on some level, are not accurate when coupled with the idea that colonization was the first evil and that all was well before that. The level of the children at which this book is geared, middle school-age as the author points out in an afterword, may not be sophisticated enough to appreciate the fine tunings of parody and satire which are literary devices studied at a much higher level. Students already familiar with African history, namely African students themselves may stand much more to gain from this borrowing of folklore forms, than American students who are still struggling to unlearn generations of stereotyped, one-sided information about Africa. (Eren Giray)

    AUTHOR: ELLIS, VERONICA FREEMAN TITLE: AFRO-BETS FIRST BOOK ABOUT AFRICA Publisher: Just Us Books Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 135 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-940975-12-2 Price (pap): $6.95 ISBN (pap): 0-940975-03-3

    Subjects: Africa - Description and travel

    Review: This overview of Africa for young readers provides brief information on history, geography, wildlife, art, religion, and music. The topics are dealt with in a positive way. The author's objective is clearly to dispel common stereotypes about Africa. Important concepts, histories, and cultures, however, are glossed over or excluded. For example, there is an imbalance in the discussion of ethnic groups. There are nearly a thousand different groups in Africa, yet we learn of only a few. Included in the few are small atypical groups commonly and stereotypically depicted in the West, e.g. the Maasai, Mbuti, and San. The latter two groups are called by the negative Western terms - "Pygmy" and "Bushman." The pronunciation guide is generally good, but the correct phonetic pronunciation of apartheid is "ah-part-hate," not "a-par-thide". Despite these problems and the contrived dialogue, the work is useful. The generally accurate and upbeat treatment of Africa is sorely needed at the elementary level. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: EVANS, MICAHEL TITLE: SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Watts/Gloucester Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $11.90 ISBN: 0 531 17056 X

    Subjects: South Africa/ History/Apartheid/Southern Africa

    Review: Brevity characterizes this work. Complex issues are reduced to a few paragraphs or worse, a few sentences. Questionable opinions and unsupported statements are frequently offered as if they were valid. The section on history (three paragraphs) is totally Eurocentric. Nothing, it would seem, happened in South Africa until the Dutch arrived. Afrikaners are described as though they were the sole architects of apartheid. The significant role of the British is completely ignored. Conditions under apartheid are accurately summarized but descriptions of efforts to bring about change are not. The violence spawned by apartheid and the Gestapo- like tactics of police and security forces are not explored. Instead attention is focused on tensions within African communities and what the author terms, ANC's "violent campaign." Better treatments are available, see Timeline: South Africa by Harris. For a different view of this book see the review in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: EVERIX, NANCY TITLE: ETHNIC CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD: FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS Publisher: Good Apple Copyright: 1991 Type: Curriculum Collation: 160 pp. Grade: T (P/E)

    Price (pap): $11.95

    Subjects: Holidays/Multicultural Education

    Review: Despite its title, European countries are the primary focus of this collection of ethnic celebrations. One Asian country is included, two African (Nigeria and Kenya), two from Central and South America and 10 from Europe. The author includes seven celebrations from Great Britain, six from Germany, nine from Italy yet only two from Kenya and three from Nigeria. Most of the information provided on Kenya and Nigeria is on general topics rather than specific celebrations. Overall the presentations of Africa are stereotypical and ethnocentric. Objectionable terms including"hut" and "tribal" are used repeatedly. Also, there is an inordinate amount of attention devoted to polygamy and "buying" brides. Religion is often misrepresented and distorted. The author's frequent references to "spirits" implies that most Nigerians and Kenya are polytheistic (actually most embrace monotheistic belief systems). The author misleads again when she states that Nigerians "worship" their ancestors. Unimaginative activities -- drumming, mask making, and animal activities -- are suggested for students. The author says that her work stresses similarities among people in the world. But telling American children that "Ibos despise" twins and "the mother is made to suffer for bringing them into the world" hardly promotes cross-cultural understanding and global unity. (Brenda Randolph).

    AUTHOR: FAGAN, BRIAN TITLE: JOURNEY FROM EDEN: THE PEOPLING OF OUR WORLD Publisher: Thames and Hudson Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 256 pp. Grade: YA Price: $22.50 ISBN: 0-500-05057-0

    Subjects: Evolution

    Review: Fagan has written the kind of book that does justice to the long and interesting story of human history and culture. He explores the original homeland of human ancestors in the savannah of East and Southern Africa. He describes the role of the contemporary Saharan desert -- frequently a savanna itself during the past several million years -- in alternately absorbing and expelling people to its fringes. And, among other interesting chapters and sections of the book, he explains how Homo sapiens ("thinking person") survived in the frigid environment of Europe and Asia during the last Ice Age. Finally he demonstrates how "wise person" (Homo sapiens sapiens) managed to migrate not only to the earth's large land masses, but also to its large and small islands, separated from the mainland in some places by thousands of miles of ocean. The journey from Eden, according to Fagan, is one that has only been relatively recently completed. Fagan ends The Journey from Eden with a reference which may help teachers, as well as students, to explain why it is useful if not necessary to examine the origins, similarity, and diversity of human culture in order to fashion and re-fashion our social and political institutions with social justice in mind: "...'The Journey from Eden,' was perhaps the catalytic development of early human history. From it stemmed not only the brilliant biological and cultural diversity of humankind, but agriculture and animal domestication, village life and urban civilization, and the settlement of the Pacific offshore islands -- the very roots of our own diverse and complex world. It is astounding just how recently we have evolved, and how shallow our genetic roots go back into the past. This very shallowness serves to remind us that we are all products of a recent African twig." Such reminders of our common biological and cultural heritage, of our recent common ancestry, are needed in a world where racism is commonplace and altruism in short supply. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: FAIRMAN, TONY TITLE: BURY MY BONES BUT KEEP MY WORDS : AFRICAN TALES FOR RETELLING Publisher: Henry Holt Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 192 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $15.95 ISBN: 0 8050 2333 X

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Africa/Folklore

    Review: Based on well-known African tales (ten of the thirteen tales found in this book were adapted from already published folktales) and the author's own memories, this book is filled with authentic details of daily life from various parts of Africa. Written in a casual style, the book is easy to understand. The stories are effective in teaching African social values: social behaviors, rewards and punishment. In this spirited retelling, Fairman conveys nicely the idea that in African cultures, storytelling is a participatory activity with no addresser or addressee. In one of the tales, Hare and his Friends for example, Edward, the supposed storyteller, responds to an interruption by saying: "Now listen here, [...], who is telling this story, you or me?" The author enthusiastically and rightly so, encourages the reader "to take them [stories] off the page and give them life." Although he provides valuable information pertaining to the social and physical contexts in which the stories are told, very little information on the tales themselves is provided. Without a glossary, for example, the reader (a future storyteller according to the author) must guess the meaning of many unfamiliar and onomatopoeia. Moreover, many overgeneralizations about the Africans and African cultures reinforce the same stereotypes that the author wants to dispel. Yet, despite these shortcomings, the book provides new insights on storytelling, the storyteller, and African cultures in general. Recommended. (Ndinzi Mazagara)

    TITLE: FAMILY ACROSS THE SEA Publisher: South Carolina Educational TV

    Type: Videotape

    Grade: H Price: $32.45

    Subjects: Diaspora/African Americans/Sierra Leone/West Africa

    Review: This documentary chronicles the reuniting of Gullah (also known as Geechee or Black Seminole) families from South Carolina and off-shore islands with distant family members left behind 250 years ago in Sierra Leone. The film begins with the initial touchdown in Freetown and the enthusiastic welcome organized by the government of Sierra Leone. During their visit to Sierra Leone, the Gullah recall memories of grandparents and great-grandparents speaking Gullah and practicing craft, food, and agricultural traditions imported from the Rice Coast of Africa. They also visit, during a poignant moment of the trip, the Bunce island remains of the place where slaves were kept prior to their departure for the Americas. This moving and educational film will be a worthwhile addition to your school system's media library. The film has received several awards and honors, including: Global Africa Film and Video Festival; National Education Film and Video Festival (Silver Apple Award, "Anthropology"); South Carolina Associated Press Broadcasting Award (First Place "Documentary"); and Houston International Film and Video Festival Award (Gold Award). (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: FARMER, NANCY TITLE: DO YOU KNOW ME Publisher: Orchard Books Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 104 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $15.95 ISBN: 0 531 05474 8

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Mozambique/Fiction

    Review: This humorous story about the heroine's uncle who comes from rural Mozambique to join her family in Harare, Zimbabwe, reflects the author's interest in plants and insects (she spent 17 years working on biology projects in Mozambique and Zimbabwe). The story focuses on the uncle's attempts to adjust to urban life and teach his niece rural skills he has mastered, and on the heroine's relationships with her uncle, family, and rich, elite relatives. Some of the skills Uncle Zika tries to teach Tapiwa, the heroine, include hunting termites and mice, making a boar trap, catching bees, smoking fish, weaving baskets, and panning for gold. Each attempt at learning skills results in a humorous failure, as do the uncle's attempts to find paid employment. The uncle imparts knowledge to his niece, who prefers his company to being in school, and is declared a "national treasure" by a doctor at the Medical Research Center because he knows so much. Other humorous incidents take place at the heroine's school, a store where she attempts to buy cigarettes for her uncle, a hospital where her mother is taken after being "bewitched", and on a picnic with her wealthy relatives. There is a glossary of Shona words and a pronunciation guide for personal and place names. The black and white drawings, some of which include people with stereotyped faces, complement the text. This is an enjoyable story which could make some contribution to appreciating the skills of rural people in Southern Africa. However, it also could reinforce stereotypes about the inability of rural people to change and the wasteful behavior of urban elites. (Nancy J. Schmidt)

    Review 2: After walking for two weeks from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, Uncle Zeka comes to live with nine-year-old Tapiwa's middle-class family in Harare, Zimbabwe. Tapiwa adores her new-found uncle, who regales her with stories of prospecting for gold in his village and living (and escaping) by his wits and his knowledge of nature. Unfortunately, his activities in his new home lead to mishaps, as he eats poisoned caterpillars, sets the grass on fire in Harare, while looking for mice, unleashes a swarm of bees onto himself and Tapiwa, and drives a Mercedes down the shaft of an abandoned gold mine. His exploits amuse and sometimes embarrass Tapiwa, but his self- confidence and devotion to her help her to stand up for herself at school, where she is rejected by her upper-class schoolmates. Other family members also learn humility and understanding as they come to terms with their relative from the village.`The author uses her southern African setting to explore universal themes. Differences between country and city, between traditional and modern ways, and among the social classes are central to this novel. Uncle Zeka is a variation of the trickster hero who appears frequently in the folklore of southern Africa. Humor is used effectively, with the illustrations reinforcing the story at key points. The novel is not without flaws, however, the most critical being the author's reliance upon caricatures rather than full characterizations. Tapiwa's Aunt Rudo, the wife of a government minister, is the most striking example; there is nothing redeeming in this selfish, physically unattractive villain who stuffs herself at the banquet of the elite War on Hunger Ladies Club. Her husband, a chronic speechmaker, is no more sympathetic, nor are any of Tapiwa's wealthy schoolmates. The too-neat ending defies logic; after the mishaps with the caterpillars and the bees, few will believe that Uncle Teka gets a job because of his knowledge of nature (and that his new employer considers him a "national treasure"). Readers at the lower end of the book's age range will probably enjoy Uncle Teka and Tapiwa's struggle against the "sophisticated" buffoons in their lives, but older readers will want a more complex treatment. (Lyn Miller-Lachmann)

    AUTHOR: FORSON, ANDREW TITLE: BENIN SOURCE PACK FOR KEY STAGE 2 Publisher: Northamptonshire Black History Group Copyright: 1992 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: Teacher's guide, 5 booklets Grade: E/M

    Price (pap): Pound16.95 ISBN (pap): 1 873886 04 7 Place Of Publication: Wellingborough Addresss: c/o Wellingborough REC, Wellingborough NN8 1HT, England Subjects: Benin Kingdom/Nigeria - Study and teaching/History/West Africa

    Review: Excellent in design, this British curriculum guide describes life in the old kingdom of Benin and invites students to draw comparisons between Benin and England. The guide makes good use of primary source material, incorporates recent scholarly findings (including research from Nigerian scholars), describes the role of women, and notes the value of oral history. On the whole, the guide is accurate and balanced. However, the statement that the concept of divine kingship is "notably absent from Edo writings" is misleading. While absent in the written evidence, the concept is reinforced in other ways, particularly in the celebration of the annual Igue festival. Also one wonders why the authors raised the issues of human sacrifice in Benin and witch killing in the West yet refused to go forward with a comparison of these practices. If one is not prepared to go forward with the discussion, perhaps it is best not to raise the issues at all. Most importantly, one wishes for better photographs and more complete descriptions of certain art pieces. The inferior xerox copies do not do justice to luxuorius environment in the area or to the outstanding art of Benin. Moreover, some of the captions under the photographs are insufficient. A fuller description of the meaning of certain symbols (e.g. the leopard) would be helpful. Despite these criticisms, one will want to acquire this guide. Although written for British schools, the clear directions will make it useful for Americans teaching about Nigeria. Highly recommended. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: FRADIN, DENNIS BRINDELL TITLE: ETHIOPIA Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 120 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $26.60 ISBN: 0 516 02706 9

    Subjects: Ethiopia/East Africa

    Review: A part of the Enchantment of the World series, Ethiopia contains 120 pages of readable information, approximately the same number of four- color and black-and-white photographs, a full-page map of Africa and two of the Horn region, plus appended sections containing biographical information about important Ethiopian historical figures, general information, important dates, and an index. Useful as an introductory reader on Ethiopia for secondary school students, the book includes information about geography, climate, resources, Ethiopia's cities, government, rural and urban occupations, culture, and an entertaining chapter on Ethiopian folktales. However, information about "The Eritrean Question" is limited to one brief paragraph followed by more important information about the Eritrean Liberation Front, the " free Tigray Province," and the Oromo Liberation Front in a section entitled "Revolution." But, even this information stops in the mid-1970s, puzzling readers who anticipated, given the year of publication, another decade more of information. Still, Fradin handles political issues in a balanced way, reporting with equal diligence the development goals and shortcomings of Emperor Haile Selassie, and the increase in literacy under Mengistu Haile Mariam even as he executed and imprisoned thousands of Ethiopians and allowed thousands of others to die of starvation (much as his predecessor had done). (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: GEORGES, D. V. TITLE: AFRICA: A NEW TRUE BOOK Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: P Price: $11.27 ISBN: 0-516-01287-8

    Subjects: Africa - Description and travel

    Review: This overly simplistic survey of Africa provides little information on the continent. Major regions - which encompass vast areas - are allotted only a few pages. East Africa, for example, is covered in slightly more than four pages. One learns nothing about the people of East Africa. Mountains, lakes, animals, and white missionaries are the only topics covered. Pejorative terms and stereotypical depictions of Africa are found in the sections on equatorial and southern Africa. The latter section contains nothing on apartheid. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GOODSMITH, LAUREN TITLE: THE CHILDREN OF THE MAURITANIA : DAYS IN THE DESERT AND BY THE RIVER SHORE Publisher: Carolrhoda Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 56 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $19.95 ISBN: 0 87614 759 7

    Place Of Publication: Minneapolis Subjects: West Africa/Mauritania

    Review: This is primarily a book of color photographs, with brief captions, and related text, which compares the daily activities of two children, a Moor girl who lives in the desert in northern Mauritania, and a Halpoular boy who lives in a village in the south. The color photographs of the two children and their surroundings are fully integrated with the text which describes, but does not evaluate, the children's lives. A brief introduction provides background on history and ethnic groups, while a series of questions and answers at the end of the volume provides information on the size, population, languages, currency, flag and capital of Mauritania. Two maps locate Mauritania in Africa and show the regions of Mauritania. The topics covered include the daily round of activities for the children, schooling and informal education, housing, recreation and special events, such as hospitality for guests and a visit to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. Local terms are defined in the text; a pronunciation guide is provided at the end of the volume. This is a successful presentation of diversity within an African country, which is rarely the subject of children's books, in a manner that is interesting and visually appealing to children. Because there are no subtitles in the text, which weaves back and forth between the lives of the two children, there is the possibility that some readers will be confused. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: GORDON, SHEILA TITLE: WAITING FOR THE RAIN Publisher: Orchard Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 214 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $12.99 ISBN: 0 531 05726 7 Price (pap): $3.50 ISBN (pap): 0 553 27911 4

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction/Apartheid

    Review: This powerful novel describes the friendship between two boys, one an Afrikaner, the other a black South African. Unlike Go Well, Stay Well which provided a look at South Africa through the eyes of whites, this novel provides both white and black perspectives. The first half of the novel is extremely powerful. The author does an excellent job of depicting the realities of each boy's life and the gross disparities between black and white life in South Africa. The second half is rather didactic. There are other problems. On the whole, readers learn more Afrikaner history than African history and there is some distortion of the facts. For example, the author makes it sound as though the 19th century wars between the Afrikaner settlers and Africans in the interior were the result of simple misunderstandings. It is true that some whites settled on African land in the mistaken belief that the land was unoccupied. However, many other whites were well aware that the land belonged to Africans or that the land grants extended to them by Africans were usufructory in nature. Another difficulty is the author's neglect of the British role in South African history. It was the British Imperial government rather than the Afrikaners who ultimately defeated the more powerful African states. Moreover, it was the British who were responsible for establishing the massive reserve system that became the blueprint for apartheid. The author ignores these facts and falls into the common pattern of characterizing the British as liberals. Perhaps the novel's greatest weakness is the author's failure to include information that explains why apartheid has survived for so long. No mention is made of Western, Japanese, and Israeli support of South Africa. Despite these flaws, the book is recommended. It succeeds in areas where novels such as Go Well, Stay Well and Beyond Safe Boundaries fail. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GOSS, LINDA COPELAND TITLE: EGYPTIAN GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE ENNEAD Publisher: Maya Publications Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 23 pp. Grade: E

    Price (pap): $10.00

    Place Of Publication: Norfolk Subjects: Egypt/Religion/North Africa

    Review: A god-by-god description of the ten major gods of the Heliopolitan Ennead (a word that means "nine gods," but which was often expanded by the Egyptians themselves). It includes their descriptions and retellings of the myths connected with them. This is a very simple presentation of the major Egyptian gods, illustrated by drawings (perhaps done by one of the author's students?). It represents the fruits of considerable research, although the author has apparently taken stories from less-thoroughly-researched secondary sources as well as primary sources. (At least I presume this is the explanation for the occurrence of stories I have never heard of.) The transliterated names most probably come from the work of E. A. Wallis Budge, whose work on religion and language is very outdated, but is unfortunately widely distributed (frequently without notation of its original copyright date) and is often used by non-professionals. The retellings of stories based on Plutarch's "Concerning Isis and Osiris," "Isis and the Secret Name of Re," and the "Contest of Horus and Seth" in particular, reflect the author's close (and unusual) fidelity to her sources. The few inaccuracies are doubtless the result of her confusion (there are numerous contradictions to be found in both primary and secondary sources) and her fidelity to secondary authors who were not as careful as she seems to be. I found numerous small errors in the text, which I have noted by page number below. I have also cited the stories and incidents of which I am unaware, and which may have been added by secondary sources that the author relied upon. (ii) The creator god is usually called Re-Atum (Re = Ra). "Atum-Ra" is probably a confusion with "Amun-Re" the dynastic god of the new kingdom. (1) Creation by speech is generally associated with the myth in which Ptah was the creator. (3) The name of Re's day bark is not "Matet" but "Mandjet," which means "the place of safety." Also, it is usually Seth (= Set) who battles the serpent Apep for Re, not Re himself who fights, except one instance I can think of where he is shown as a rabbit-eared tom-cat. The bit about Re travelling too close to earth and thereby causing the summer heat sounds like an embellishment, as do the explanations for storms and eclipses. (5) "Shu" means "empty," not "he who holds up." Atlas (not Alas) holds up the earth, not the sky, in Greek mythology. Tefnut is never shown supporting the sky, nor have I ever heard of her tears being the seeds of incense plants. (7) The tears of Geb filling the oceans and seas are mentioned by Plutarch, but it is not said that they result from his separation from Nut. The entire story of Geb and the uraeus serpent recorded here is unknown to me, but surely his kingdom was divided between Osiris and Seth, not Horus and Seth. (9) Isis and Nephthys were born on the fourth and fifth, not the fifth and sixth, days. I don't think there is any evidence that the Egyptians believed the sky (Nut) descended to be with her husband the earth (Geb) at night. (14) Isis is never said in the story of Isis and the Secret Name to be living apart from the other gods. (16) Seth's loss of his leg is unfamiliar to me. (Normally he loses his testicles, but that is perhaps a bit graphic for this grade level.) As mentioned above, it is normally Seth who defends Re's sun boat from Apep. I know of no story in which this offends Re. Seth is invariably depicted in Egyptian art with the head of a (probably) mythical animal, though the Greeks said red-haired people were associated with him. (18) Nephthys was not the "goddess of Death" any more than Isis was; both helped in rebirth. (20) I know of no story where Horus cut off the head of Seth (he did cut of the head of Isis, however). (21) Isis's trick in getting Seth to admit that Horus was the rightful heir of Osiris was not the final contest between Horus and Seth; the contest continued for some time. (Ann Macy Roth 6/95)

    AUTHOR: GOULD, D. E. TITLE: NAMIBIA Publisher: Chelsea House Copyright: 1988 Type: Book

    Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-7910-0107-5

    Subjects: Namibia

    Review: The pre-independence publication date of 1988 makes any school- oriented reference on Namibia anachronistic. Unfortunately, in addition to being dated, the chapters on African cultures, peoples, and history are troubling not so much for inaccuracies (although they are numerous), but for the uncritical account of the colonial experience in Namibia. This perspective is accompanied by an unsympathetic, but not overly hostile, treatment of SWAPO (South West African People's Organization). This juxtaposition of analysis "allows" the author to be critical of SWAPO's planting of land-mines which killed innocent people, in addition to intended targets, but fails to mention the genocidal massacre of the Herero peoples by German colonialists in the early 20th century. The use of pejorative social indicators such as "primitives," "tribal," and the ethnonyms "bushmen" and "hottentots" throughout the book is disturbing and unacceptable. (John Metzler)

    AUTHOR: GRAY, NIGEL TITLE: COUNTRY FAR AWAY Publisher: Watts Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $12.99 ISBN: 0-531-08392-6 Price (pap): $4.95

    Subjects: Africa - Social life and customs

    Review: This picture book reinforces Western stereotypes about Africa as poor and "undeveloped." The book compares two lifestyles, that of a Euro- American boy living in a lush well-to-do suburb and that of an African boy living in a dusty dry village presumably somewhere in East Africa. Each page is divided into two parts, the upper part showing the activities of the African boy, the lower part showing the American boy. The boys are engaging in similar activities albeit in very different environments. One page, for example, shows the boys swimming. The American boy swims in an indoor pool with a separate diving pool and a winding water slide. The African boy swims nude in a rain-filled pond. On another page the American boy works in school on a computer drawing an image of his teacher; the African boy sits in a rustic outdoor "classroom" under a tree and draws animals on a slate. The author's obvious point is that no matter how different the surroundings, people have similar desires and values. Unfortunately, children may well miss the author's lofty purpose and absorb instead the image of Africa as impoverished and desolate. Comparative studies are often problematic. This book is no exception. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GREENE, CAROL TITLE: DESMOND TUTU: BISHOP OF PEACE Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 31 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $11.93 ISBN: 0-516-03634-3 Price (pap): $3.95 ISBN (pap): 0-51643634-1

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Desmond Tutu

    Review: This easy-to-read biography of Bishop Tutu begins dramatically with a recounting of the bomb threat in 1984 that disrupted the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Tutu. The author then introduces the issue of apartheid and discusses its impact on Tutu's life and the lives of the Black people of South Africa. The major benchmarks in Tutu's life are briefly given. The primary focus is on Tutu's efforts to bring peace and justice to South Africa. The author avoids most of the pejorative terms and stereotypes seen in materials on South Africa (the term "tribe" is used once). This is a useful book, one that fills a void in the early grades. For an different view of this book see the review in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GRIFALCONI, ANN TITLE: DARKNESS AND THE BUTTERFLY Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-316-32863-4

    Subjects: Cameroon/Fiction/West Africa

    Review: The setting for this picture book is not stated. However, since the name of the child in the story is Osa, the same name as the child in The Village of Round and Square Houses, one would assume that the location is Cameroon. This story focuses on Osa's fear of the dark. During the day, a brave and adventurous Osa plays without fear in the woods near her village. But when night falls, a fearful Osa emerges. With the help of a wise woman and a butterfly, Osa conquers her fears and discovers the beauty of the night. There is no sense of gloom or unrelenting fear in this book. The author handles her forest setting much more successfully than Marcia Brown does in her scary book Shadow. The book is also a useful means of showing the extended family in Africa and the roles children are expected to play. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GRIFALCONI, ANN TITLE: OSA'S PRIDE Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-316-32865-0

    Subjects: Cameroon/Fiction/West Africa

    Review: This is the third book in Grifalconi's series about the Cameroon Village of Tos and little Osa. Beautifully illustrated, warm and tender, this is the story of how a boastful Osa learns a lesson about foolish pride. Strong family ties, a bit of history, and the economy of the people of Tos are skillfully blended in this lovely picture book. For a different view of this book see Our Family, Our Friends, Our World. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GRIFALCONI, ANN TITLE: THE VILLAGE OF ROUND AND SQUARE HOUSES Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-316-32862-6

    Subjects: Cameroon/Folklore/West Africa

    Review: The village of Tos in Cameroon is the setting for this picture book. In Tos, the women live in round houses and the men live in square ones. Osa, a young girl from Tos, wonders how this custom originated. Gran'ma Tika provides the explanation. This story is not as smooth or as appealing as Grifalconi's subsequent story about Osa and the village of Tos (Darkness and the Butterfly). The transition from present-day (when to story begins) to ancient times is jerky and somewhat disconcerting. In addition, the myth that explains the custom is confusing. Children have to figure out that the tall ash-covered things were men and the smaller, round ones were women. Another concern is the depiction of the economic roles male and female play in Tos society. Men are shown farming food crops (yams and corn) while women are shown in strictly domestic roles. This is not the usual pattern in Cameroon. Typically, women produce food crops while men farm cash crops. There are certainly positive elements in the story. The scenes of family life show the respectful and close relationships between the young and the old and, in addition, demonstrate that each member of the family -- even the youngest -- is expected to help with household chores. For another view of this book see the review in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: GRIFFIN, MICHAEL TITLE: FAMILY IN KENYA Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: E Price: $8.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1680-2

    Place Of Publication: Minneapolis Subjects: Kenya - Description and travel/East Africa

    Review: This volume is a good presentation of the daily activities of a young girl, Salaama, living along the coast of Kenya. The photographs are realistic and the two maps are useful, to a limited extent, in showing the primary locations of the central character's home to Mombasa and Kenya to the world. However, one is left wondering about the objectives of the author. References are made to Mombasa, but it is never shown although the father works there and the young girl travels there for clothes and other special purchases. Similarly, references made about the medical center and the pharmacy receive only minimum visual representation. Also a taxi ride is mentioned but the accompanying photograph shows the family walking. Babysitting apparently is part of Salaama's work. Caring for her father and herself during the school year seems to be part of her assigned tasks as well. One is not, however, given to understand this rather simple conclusion via the text. The work of adults is included but is left disjointed and without connection to the story. Other points are raised and left as well without clarification and relevancy. Salaama's mother takes lots of food to Mombasa, for example, but we are never told why. Without explanation, the author informs us that home-ground maize is "better" than store-bought maize in Mombasa. Yet, from where and how the family gets its maize is ignored. Are there fields to harvest? Are children involved? Also, the author's images are lacking in balance. This is true in its urban-rural images and its Africa-U.S. images. Describing Salaama's desire for the game of checkers, the author attempts to make exotic the local use of "bottle tops... and a piece of wood for the board." Similar objects are also used in the USA but this fact generally would not receive such emphasis. The last entry in the volume, "Kenya's Abundant Wildlife" confounded me. It has no relevance to this volume. Mombasa is not near Kenya's National Park but animals apparently must be included in all books on Africa even when the subject is irrelevant! (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: GRIFFITHS, IEUAN TITLE: CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Rourke Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 76 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $15.93 ISBN: 0-86592-035-4

    Subjects: South Africa - History/Southern Africa

    Review: This slim volume is part of a Rourke series on world crisis situations. It begins by comparing the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre with the massacre in Langa township 25 years later. Apartheid is then briefly described. The next few chapters are devoted to history between 1487 and the rise to power of the National Party in the 1940s. The balance of the book discusses South African history from the post-World War II years to the Botha presidency . There are some pluses: (1) accurate terms are used, for the most part, to describe Africans; (2) apartheid is soundly condemned as are those Western governments and individuals who profited from apartheid; and (3) the author avoids the "black on black" nonsense one encounters in so many books on South Africa. Unfortunately, there are significant problems. First and foremost, the book is essentially Eurocentric in its focus. The index illustrates this point well. Of the 18 names listed, only four are black. The latter include Robert Mugabe, Jonas Savimbi, Dingane, and Albert Luthuli. Of this number only two (Dingane and Luthuli) are South African! The book's timeline also reflects a Eurocentric bias. It begins with European exploration of South Africa and primarily details the activities and actions of whites. Another problem is the author's presumption that readers are familiar with South African history. Oblique references are made to processes and events that are unfamiliar to American students. Conversely, some sections detail political history where summary and analysis would have been more instructive. The final chapter, "The Future," ignores evidence of power- sharing between blacks and whites in other parts of Africa. The author suggests that angry "township" blacks and "right wing" whites will be equally responsible for the violence to come. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: HADITHI, MWENYE TITLE: HOT HIPPO Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-316-33722

    Subjects: East Africa/Fiction

    Review: No particular country is identified in this picture book. However the terrain, animals, and the name "Ngai," the "God of Everything and Everywhere," suggest East Africa. The story explains how the hippopotamus came to live in water. The charming text and bright illustrations make this a good read aloud for preschoolers and young primary students. Unfortunately the failure to identify a particular region or country may reinforce the prevailing misperception of Africa as a vast animal preserve. On the positive side, the book does present a kindly picture of a caring and ecologically aware African deity. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: HADITHI, MWENYE TITLE: HUNGRY HYENA Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $15.95

    Place Of Publication: Boston Subjects: Africa/Folklore

    Review: This book, the latest in a series that includes Lazy Lion, Baby Baboon, Hot Hippo, and Crafty Chameleon, features the predatory hyena who is notorious for stealing the food of other animals. He begins this book by stealing a fresh fish from Fish Eagle, who turns to her animal friends for help. Having been tricked by the hyena, they are more than happy to devise a plan to wreak their revenge. They borrow a piece of honeycomb from the bees, and having lured the hyena to the honeycomb, they tell him the biggest, sweetest, yellowest piece of honeycomb is the moon. The hyena tells the other hyenas, and they climb on each other's back to reach the moon, but just as one reaches out to touch it, they all fall into the water, The fall cripples the hyenas, who are no longer swift animals but must slink along, as though with broken backs, for all generations to come. This original story recalls the folk tradition, especially those stories that describe how all the animals came to be. The economical writing will hold the interest of young readers, but the illustrations are the book's weakest link. Adrienne Kennaway's watercolors are inconsistent in their use of detail--sometimes quite intricate, at other times sketchy. The illustration of the hyena eating the honeycomb, with bees hovering about, gives the impression that the bees are about to sting the hyena and appears to telegraph (albeit falsely) the ending. Fans of the series as a whole will enjoy this book, but as a first introduction, it will gain few new adherents to the series. (Lyn Miller-Lachmann)

    AUTHOR: HADITHI, MWENYE TITLE: LAZY LION Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-316-33725-0

    Subjects: Animals/Fiction/East Africa

    Review: The "African plains" is identified as the locale for this story. The illustrator faithfully represents the plains setting but the text does not identify a particular African country. As in the author's other books (e.g. Hot Hippo and Crafty Chameleon) the failure to identify a particular region or country reinforces the stereotype of Africa as a vast animal preserve. The story is well told and in good African tradition has a strong message. The main character, Lazy Lion, wants a house but also wants other animals to do the work for him. His animal friends make honest efforts but none of the shelters suits Lazy Lion. When the "Big Rain" comes, the animals all scurry to their homes. The ungrateful and picky lion finds himself without shelter. To this day, he roams the plains without a home. Primary teachers focusing on animal shelters or grassland terrains could incorporate this story into their units. It could also be used to reinforce the concepts of self-reliance and gratitude. It should not, however, be used simply to teach about Africa. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: HALLIBURTON, WARREN TITLE: AFRICAN INDUSTRIES Publisher: Crestwood House Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN: 0 89686 672 6

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Africa - Economic conditions/Africa - Social conditions

    Review: (See review of Africa's Struggle to Survive by the same author)

    AUTHOR: HALLIBURTON, WARREN TITLE: AFRICA'S STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE Publisher: Crestwood House Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN: 0 89686 675 0

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Africa - Economic conditions/Africa - Social conditions

    Review: Books in the Africa Today Series that were written by Halliburton also include African Industries, African Landscapes and City and Village Life published in 1993, are seriously flawed in conception and content. Although the series is said to focus on the history, beauty, and strength of Africa and its people, the emphasis of these 4 books is more negative than positive, often stating what people lack rather than what they have. The color photos which fill half the pages of each volume are there to illustrate the "spirit" of the subject and have no captions. In checking the list of "Photo identifications" at the end of the volumes, it is evident that some photos do not represent the geographic area discussed in the text and others were taken in the colonial period when accompanying text is about contemporary times. There are no maps in the volumes, although many different countries are named. There is only an outline of the continent at the head of each chapter; the island nations of Africa are not shown. Each volume is a random collection of "fact" and opinion arranged in 4 or 5 chapters. There are errors of fact in all of the volumes, and conflicting facts among the volumes, for example, 2000 ethnic groups and 750 languages in Africa's Struggle to Survive and 1000 ethnic groups and 800 languages in City and Village Life. Even some terms in the glossaries are incorrect, for example, copra is defined as coconut oil, when it is the coconut meat, and griots as musicians rather than storytellers. There are incorrect generalizations that perpetuate stereotypes, such as life having remined unchanged for thousands of years and "many" women in cities being prostitutes. A typical village is described which not only is conceptually impossible for a continent more than three times the size of the U.S., but also does not mention schools, churches, and clinics which are found in villages throughout Africa. The volumes lack balance and do more to misinform than inform children about the complexity and diveristy of life in Africa. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: HARGROVE, JIM TITLE: NELSON MANDELA: SOUTH AFRICA'S SILENT VOICE OF PROTEST Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 135 pp. Grade: E/M

    Price (pap): $5.95 ISBN (pap): 0 516 43266 4

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Nelson Mandela

    Review: This is a detailed yet readable biography of Nelson Mandela. The book begins with a powerful first chapter which summarizes the impact of apartheid on Nelson Mandela's life and the lives of black South Africans. Most of the subsequent chapters are good and some are excellent. The book includes a description of the Xhosa society into which Nelson Mandela was born, the founding of the ANC Youth League, the Defiance Campaign, the Group Areas Act, the Treason Trial, the Rivonia Trial, Mandela's imprisonment, and his release in 1990. Hargrove does a good job of providing African perspectives of events and issues. However, there are flaws. He ignores African history prior to European settlement, fails to discuss Western investment in the apartheid state, and omits information on the efforts of anti-apartheid groups outside of South Africa. Also, he occasionally uses negative or biased terminology when referring to Africans, e.g. "native," "non-whites," "hut." (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: HARTMAN, WENDY TITLE: ALL THE MAGIC IN THE WORLD Publisher: Dutton Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 21 pp. Grade: P

    ISBN: 0525450920

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: Part of the magic of this book is that it is both non-continental and multicontinental. Except for a sign marked "Alabama," there is no reference to a particular country or region. The writer and illustrator are associated with South Africa. But this is a general book about those who find "beauty and magic in the ordinary" (to quote the dust jacket). Joseph is the odd-job man whose collecting of cast-off objects draws snickers from the children. But, Joseph shows them how a collection of minor objects can be transformed through the magic of fantasy and play. From one perspective, the book's strength is that Joseph's magic is not tied to African culture or cultural objects. Indeed, the objects Joseph uses could be found in most countries of the world. Thus, "All the magic in the world" can be found anywhere. But, for those looking specifically for a book about Africa, this one may disappoint them. Nevertheless, the plot is fun, the children are sprites who enjoy parading around together, and Hartmann's story fits nicely with illustrator Niki Daly's expressive faces. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: HASKINS, JIM TITLE: COUNT YOUR WAY THROUGH AFRICA Publisher: Carolrhoda Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $10.95 ISBN: 0-87614-347-8 Price (pap): $4.95

    Place Of Publication: Minneapolis Subjects: Languages/Swahili/Africa

    Review: In a just a few pages, Haskins manages to commit most of the blunders specialists on Africa decry in children's literature, e.g. pejorative terms, simplistic explanations, focus on the exotic or trivial, and erroneous information. The book errs at the outset when it treats the continent of Africa as though it is a country. The other books in this series focus on one country i.e Count Your Way through Japan. The use of Swahili to guide students through the continent is also faulty. Swahili is widely spoken in Africa but in no way serves as a lingua franca for the continent. Clearly, Haskins did not do his research well for this work. Incredibly, he states that Zimbabwe's ancient ruins are "the oldest that anyone has found on the African continent." What about structures in Egypt, Kush and Nubia, all of which are much older? His discussions about scarification, "Bushmen," warriors, and "tribes" tend to reinforce existing Western stereotypes about Africa. The publishers of this work need to scrap this volume and start afresh. A knowledgeable writer and a truly country study approach may result in a useful work. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: HATHAWAY, JIM TITLE: CAMEROON IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $11.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1857-0

    Subjects: Cameroon/West Africa

    Review: As with other volumes in this series, this book contains sections on the land, history and government, the people, and the economy. The tone sometimes strikes a false note, as for example on page 7 in a picture caption, "Most Cameroonians live in rural areas and follow a way of life not much different from that led by their ancestors 200 years ago." Are we never to hear the end of the notion that African society is static, still embalmed in the past? Also on page 7, the reader "learns" that the "great majority of Cameroonians are farmers who are caught between deeply rooted traditions and the influences of modern ideas and technology." There is nothing here as to the many ways in which Africans integrate the "old" and the "new" in a most successful fashion so that the reality is "tradition" and "modernity," not either-or. The repressive measures of Presidents Ahidjo and Biya are glossed over in favor of an emphasis on "economic stability." The triangular trade map omits any European participation in the slave trade. The pictures and much of the test are well chosen and informative. There is no bibliography or suggested reading list. (Richard A. Corby)

    AUTHOR: HENRY-BIABAUD, CHANTAL TITLE: LIVING IN THE HEART OF AFRICA Publisher: Young Discovery Library Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 35 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $4.95 ISBN: 0-516-08292-2

    Subjects: Zaire - Description and travel/Central Africa

    Review: This book presents stereotypical and ethnocentric images of Zaire. The reader is invited to take a river boat trip between the cities of Kinshasa and Kisangi. During the trip, readers witness various activities and see different parts of the country. While much that they see is technically accurate, the manner in which the information is presented is highly problematic. Language is a major area of difficulty. Offensive and inaccurate terms are used including: "witchdoctor," "hut," "tribe," and "pygmy." Additionally both the text and the visuals tend to reinforce Western images of Africa as hot, filled with wild animals, and peopled by folk with strange customs. On more than one occasion the author titillates and shocks his readers by noting odd items on local menus, e.g. "monkey meat," "smoked crocodile," and "dried caterpillars." A village celebration scene which shows virtually naked women with bare breasts is totally inappropriate. Bare breasted women are also featured in a scene showing so-called pygmies (the author never tells us what these people call themselves). Occasionally, visuals do not match the text. On page 8, for example, we are told that it is difficult for boats to travel the Zaire river due to waterfalls and rapids. Yet the accompanying visual shows more wild animals than waterfalls. Oddly, the discussion of riverways is interrupted with information about vegetational zones (including deserts of which Zaire has none). In sum, very little of significance is included in this book. Students are presented with impressions and images that mislead and misinform. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: HINTZ, MARTIN TITLE: GHANA Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 128 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $22.60 ISBN: 0-516-027773-5

    Subjects: Ghana/West Africa

    Review: This book is readable, well illustrated and relatively up to date. This book has some excellent color plates. Hintz has prepared a book that is basic and most suitable for a young audience. One of its most positive aspects is the excellent material on everyday life in Ghana. The map key and the section titled "Mini-Facts At A Glance" should prove very helpful for teachers and students. The picture of Parliament on p. 55 is a bit misleading since there has been no parliament since the coup in 1981. (Sheilah Clarke-Ekong and Eunice Posnansky)

    AUTHOR: HOLMES, TIMOTHY TITLE: LET'S VISIT ZAMBIA Publisher: Chelsea House Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 96 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-333-45521-5

    Subjects: Zambia - Description and travel/Southern Africa

    Review: This is a fairly accessible introduction to Zambia (for upper elementary and middle school students). The book is adequately illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs. Unfortunately, (since photographs often are more influential than texts) there are too many animal pictures; relatedly only two of the photographs are of urban areas-- although the text accurately states that over 40% of Zambians live in towns and cities. The book, which is organized around physical characteristics - - lakes, rivers, "forests" (but does not mention the large savannah zone) - - has only one map to accompany the text, (which misplaces the important Luapula River). Tone of text is sympathetic to Zambia and her peoples, but there are some careless errors, unsubstantiated assertions and omissions which somewhat weaken an otherwise objective presentation. To take two examples, the treatment of the 18-19th century slave trade and its relationship to indigenous socioeconomic practices is so simplified that it is inaccurate, and the assertion that traditional "slash-and-burn" method of agriculture is a source of environmental degradation which "could ultimately turn Zambia into a desert," is erroneous. (John Metzler)

    AUTHOR: HUDSON, MARK TITLE: OUR GRANDMOTHERS' DRUMS Publisher: Henry Holt Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 321 pp. Grade: YA

    Price (pap): $13.95 ISBN (pap): 0 8050 1620

    Subjects: West Africa - Social life and customs

    Review: Mark Hudson's first trip to the village of Dulaba in The Gambia was short. Despite chronic food shortages and extensive health problems, the Manding residents of Dulaba persevered. Life was particularly difficult for women, and yet, Hudson notes, "it seemed to me that, in spite of everything, their lives were as rich in their way as they could have been under any other circumstances. In what this richness resided, I had only the vaguest idea" (pp. 10-11). In this travelogue, Hudson returned to West Africa to learn "the essential mystery of the women of Dulaba." Though a tubab (foreigner), he learns Mandinka, joins a kafo (woman's work group), and spends 14 months tape-recording the lives of women and men of the area. "Now you are a real African," Demba Tamba informs the author. But Hudson knows that it is not true: the people of Dulaba are "tightly- knit, like the fingers of a clenched fist" who "endured my presence only because Daouda, their elder, had asked them to." (p. 65) While hospitable and tolerant of his enquiring ways, people naturally perceived him "as something completely and profoundly other" (p. 32) Still, Hudson succeeds in introducing his readers to scores of real people and a society rich in culture and tradition. The book includes a useful glossary but lacks other elements important to American readers: a map of village households, index or list of Dulaba residentsor genealogical tables. Recommended for high school and college students and other first-time travellers to Africa. However, some students and parents may object to conversations regarding sexual relations and the description of initiation ceremonies which include circumcision and clitoridectomy. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: HUMPHREY, SAL TITLE: FAMILY IN LIBERIA Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 31 pp. Grade: E Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1674-8

    Subjects: West Africa/Liberia - Social Life and customs

    Review: The book tells the story of Kamu, a ten year old Liberian boy who lives in the rural area of Mobuta. Overall, life in the village is depicted accurately, and the work roles of various members of the family are true. However, the author states that Kamu's father has two wives without explaining the practice of polygyny in Africa. A false reference is also made to the forest which is so dense that one "cannot see the sky." (p. 18) An unclear reference is also made to the traditional gods of the people without explanation (p. 19). The author also makes the incorrect general assertion that, "Many people who come to Monrovia to look for work have no place lo live and cannot find a job." (p.26) Unmentioned is the fact that often friends and relatives in the capital extend hospitality to the youth from the rural areas, and that before the civil war, there were few cases of homelessness in Liberia. The history of Liberia at the end of the text begins with the formation of the republic in 1822 by freed American slaves called Americo-Liberians. The indigenous people are pejoratively referred to as "tribespeople." The final phase of recorded history indicates that Samuel Doe, a man who killed others, was elected president. This leads the reader to make false conclusions that Liberians stand behind murderers. Because the book was published in 1987 it does not include information about the civil war in Liberia. Therefore, this book is not up-to-date and unfortunately is not highly recommended. (Sara Talis)

    AUTHOR: JACOBS, SHANNON TITLE: SONG OF THE GIRAFFE Publisher: Little Brown Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 54 pp. Grade: P Price: $11.95 ISBN: 0-316-45555-5

    Subjects: Southern Africa /Fiction

    Review: Jacobs does not identify a particular country or culture for her novel but there is much that suggests southern Africa. The illustrations and descriptions reveal a vast savannah inhabited by large game animals. The main character, Kisana, seems to belong to a Bantu-speaking group. Kisana is small and has skin the color of "ripe apricots." Her people, on the other hand, are tall and dark and use the phrase, "go well, stay well" (a popular greeting among Bantu-speaking people in southern Africa). Xu, another important character, would appear to be a member of a San group. He is described as a small "copper- colored" hunter who uses poisoned arrows and speaks a language with clicks. A major theme in the story is Kisana's search for identity. Her unusually light skin makes her the topic of village gossip. Eventually Kisana begins to question whether she is truly "Bokuru." A solitary quest in the "bush" helps Kisana clarify who she is and what her strengths are. This novel is troubling for several reasons. First, the failure to situate the story in a specific geographical area could lead children to conclude that all of Africa is a vast game reserve (a common myth that needs no reinforcement ). Second, the novel reinforces the disturbing notion that Bantu-speaking people and whites were equally responsible for the annihilation of the San. When asked if whites are responsible for the transformation of the "Naba" from a "peaceful people" into "fierce hunters," Kisana's father says no. He goes on to indict his own people as major culprits in the destruction of the Naba: "We have all slaughtered the little Naba people. And sold them as slaves. Now there are few left. Maybe none." It is true that some Bantu-speaking people participated in the genocidal warfare that engulfed the San in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the process was set in motion by European settlement and encroachment on African land. Prior to the coming of the Europeans, a process of absorption rather than annihilation characterized relations between Bantu-speaking people and San people. The failure to identify all the major factors in the conflict distorts history. A third concern is the author's use of pejorative and outmoded terms such as "hut," "bush," and "tribe." A fourth and minor point is the improbable marriage of the adult Kisana to Xu, the hunter. Bantu-speaking women rarely married San men due to the San's lower social ranking. The intermarriage process generally worked the other way, with San women marrying Bantu-speaking men. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: JACOBSEN, KAREN TITLE: KENYA Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $13.27 ISBN: 0-516-01112-X

    Subjects: East Africa/Kenya

    Review: This easy-to-read book includes information on geography, the people, history and government. Typically, books on Kenya focus heavily on animals and Maasai and Samburu pastoralists. The images in this book are relatively balanced. Most of the books' photographs are of Nairobi, Mombasa, and farm land. However, the first photo one sees upon opening the book is a Samburu in traditional dress. Also while the cover features a photograph of Nairobi, an insert shows animals at a watering hole. Thus two of the old stereotypes are reinforced before one begins to read. To its credit, the book does show people in various walks of life. Most of the photographs are of business people, students, and workers in an urban setting. There are five which suggest a farm setting and five of people in traditional dress. Curiously, the text describes the Luo as farmers, fishermen, and mechanics but only shows a picture of a Luo with face paint and feathers. The anachronistic term "tribal" is frequently used. The Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kalenjin, and Maasai are all erroneously called "tribes." The author describes the Luo and Kikuyu as "ancient rivals" who sometimes still "fight." This description of the relationship between the two groups is misleading. It promotes an image of spear-carrying warriors that does not square with contemporary political rivalries. Occasionally the author makes broad inaccurate generalizations. In the "Problems" section, for example, we read: "The water supply is not clean." While it is true that water in some parts of Kenya is unhealthy, in many areas, particularly the cities, the water is quite safe. Most disturbing is the author's discussion of Kenya's war of independence. Only the "Mau Mau" are described as "terrorists." British terror tactics during the war are ignored. Also, the author implies that Jomo Kenyatta, the country's first president, was a "Mau Mau." Kenyatta's vigorous rebuttal of this British charge is ignored. On the positive side, the book does note the evils of British colonialism, particularly the British expropriation of African land. In general, the tone of the book is upbeat. The author notes the relative harmony between Kenyans of African descent and those of Asian or European descent as well as the efforts of Kenyans to solve the country's problems. The book is better than many of the older works but one should be aware of its weaknesses. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: JACOBSEN, KAREN TITLE: SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Childrens Press Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-516-01176-6

    Subjects: South Africa/History

    Review: There are very few books on South Africa for beginning readers. This easy-to-read book partially fills the gap. In older works on South Africa, a tourist-like approach was usually taken and apartheid was either avoided or rationalized. In this book, information on apartheid is well integrated into the text and strongly condemned. This is a plus. Unfortunately, although, the term San and Khoikhoi are correctly used to refer to Africans, the negative Western terms, "Bushmen" and "Hottentot" are also used as is the offensive "Bantu." The term "tribe" is also used. This anachronistic term fails to accurately describe the lifestyles of the millions of black South Africans. History is another problem area. Like most Western works, the focus is more on Europeans in Africa than on Africans. The book's strongest feature is its clear and strong denunciation of apartheid. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: JONES, CONSTANCE TITLE: AFRICA 1500 - 1900 Publisher: Facts on File Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 140 pp. Grade: M/H

    Subjects: Africa/History

    Review: The World History Library series explores significant periods and major events, is based on recent scholarship, and aims to explain what happened and why. The ten chapters [in Africa 1500-1900] provide an overview of major cultures and political units in [Africa] in 1500, regional discussions of north, east, west and southern Africa, the slave trade, colonialism and partition. In each chapter there is a separate short case study that provides slightly greater depth than the text on important persons or nations. The regional maps are a mixture of states and ethnic groups which also are confused in the text. The black and white photographs are reproductions of published or historical material with captions indicating their subject and location. There is a 9-page chronology of events from 1415 to 1902 mentioned in the text, which is useful because of the regional organization of the text. While the text for the most part follows recent scholarship, it also includes overgeneralizations, biases and errors. For example, West Africa is defined as extending from the Sahara to the Kalahari, a vast area usually divided into West and Central Africa; many West African societies are said to have had a feudal structure; the Masai are said to live much as they have for centuries; and Khoisan is said to be the language of the San and Khoikhoi (it is the language family to which the languages of these two peples belong). This volume covers a lot of material and may be too densely packed with facts to hold the interest of some readers. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: JONES, TOECKEY TITLE: GO WELL, STAY WELL Publisher: Harper Copyright: 1980 Type: Book Collation: 202 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $12.89

    Subjects: South Africa - Fiction/Apartheid/Southern Africa

    Review: This book has received acclaim in some quarters and lukewarm or negative reactions in others. The story centers around Candy, a white South African of English descent. A chance encounter between Candy and Becky, a Zulu-speaking black South African, leads to friendship between the two girls and a multitude of problems for Candy. Candy is the protagonist in the story and the reactions of Candy's family and friends to Becky and the issue of apartheid are major themes in the novel. Readers learn of the grim realities of apartheid, as Candy does, through Becky's descriptions of her life. Most of the major characters in the novel are white. The only black character, other than Becky, is a servant in Candy's home. In her critique of the novel, Mary Mubi argued that the basic premise of the story is unrealistic: "It is impossible for two teenage girls of different races in South Africa to become friends on an equal basis." ( IBCB (1984) 15, 7- 8: 14) Mubi also points to the false dichotomy between the English and Afrikaners in the book. As Mubi notes: "The former are depicted as burdened with guilt about apartheid, but powerless to change it; the latter are characterized as in control and having the most to gain from apartheid." However, both the English and the Afrikaners gain from apartheid, and for the most part, both groups unite on central issues involving the apartheid system. Despite its weaknesses, some feel the book is useful. Well-written and well-paced, it addresses issues many other books about South Africa avoid. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KALLEN, STUART TITLE: LOST KINGDOMS OF AFRICA: BLACK AFRICA BEFORE 1600 Publisher: Rockbottom Book Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 47 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $10.95 ISBN: 1-56239-016-3

    Subjects: Africa/History

    Review: This is a most curious children's book, for while it purports to dispel certain inaccuracies and stereotypes concerning the African past, it is nevertheless filled with such errors. The author gets off to an unfortunate start by reproducing a picture of "apemen" in trees; although the context is a summation of prehistory, the image is devastating, especially given the audience for this book. The author then claims that most Africans lived in the Sahara 8,000 years ago, and moved, among other places, south "into the heart of the wild African continent" with the Sahara's dessication (there is a problem here with both factual evidence and the author's evocative terminology). Following in the tradition of stereotypic perpetuation, we get the subheadings "Artwork of the Jungle" on page 25, only to be followed on page 36 by a terrible discussion of African religions, complete with references to "ancestor worship," "scorcery" [sic], witchcraft and "witch doctors," magic, spells, etc., and how Europeans tried to change the Africans' beliefs. Beyond this effective embrace of the vision of Africa as savage, the book misinforms the young reader. In contrast to the author's statements, Sundiata was not the Soso leader who defeated and enslaved Ghana (if in fact Ghana's decline was a result of a defeat by anyone) : we do have evidence extant of Timbuktu's tradition of scholarship; and the "land of the Zanj" does not represent the self-view of the inhabitants of the Swahili coast. The "Final Word" at the end of the book, which is a kind of disclaimer, does not undo the damage created in the preceding pages. (Michael Gomez).

    AUTHOR: KELLNER, DOUG TITLE: KWAME NKRUMAH Publisher: Chelsea House Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 111 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-87754-546-4

    Subjects: Ghana/Biography/West Africa/Kwame Nkrumah

    Review: This book on Nkrumah is readable and accurate. It is enhanced with many of his aphorisms in the margins though it might have been enhanced further still with a few longer quotations from his writings. By bringing in other world leaders, Kellner provides insights for his readers into how African leadership has affected and has been influenced by other world events. Compared to other books on world leaders, Kellner does a very fair job. One minor error which may be the printer's devil is the picture on page 105. The politician seated with Kenyatta is Dr. Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and not Milton Obote of Uganda. (Sheilah Clarke-Ekong and Eunice Posnansky)


    Grade: P Price: $7.95 ISBN: 0 8074 0321 0

    Subjects: Ethiopia/Social life and customs/East Africa

    Review: Rachamim, the adolescent son of Gideon and Rakael, narrates the story of the emigration of Ethiopia's "Beta Esrael," or so-called Falasha, to Sudanese refugee camps and finally to Israel. Born in Gondar, 30 miles from the northern rim of Lake Tana, Rachamim provides a brief nostalgic account of family life in "those peaceful days of our village" though, "For many years our Ethiopian neighbors had treated us badly." Drought, famine, and persecution combine to dictate, in his father's words, "our journey home." Following an arduous two-week walk to the Sudan and months of waiting, Rachamim and his family become a part of "Operation Moses" (1984- 85) and are airlifted with thousands of other Ethiopian Jews "home to Zion, to Israel." Written by Rabbi Jonathan Kendall of Congregation B'nai B'rith in Santa Barbara, with 13 illustrations by Ethiopian artist Alemu Eshetie (who now lives in Israel), this 28-page account of "Operation Moses" from the perspective of an adolescent Ethiopian emigrant combines historical reference and a language lesson (there are many Amharic terms and a useful glossary) in a well-written story. Parts of the story are strained; if Rachamin lived near Gondar in the 1980s, he had undoubtedly heard and seen airplanes; Kendall writes that Rachamin considered an airplane some form of "bird." Falasha villages near Gondar were also the home of commercial potters and crafters who dealt with many Europeans and American tourists; it is hard to imagine that Rachamin knew nothing of the existence of "white Jews" whose existence was reported to the Beta Esrael by 1860. Still, this is a useful introduction to the plight of the Beta Esrael in Ethiopia. Interested readers may also want to consult Tudor Parfitt, Operation Moses (1985), Louis Rapoport, Redemption Song (1986), and Claire Safran, Secret Exodus (1987). (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: KENNAWAY, MWALIMU TITLE: AWFUL AARDVARK Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P/E Price: $14.45 ISBN: 0-316-59218-8

    Subjects: Africa - Folklore

    Review: This myth describes the transformation of Aardvark from a noisy daytime creature into a nocturnal one who leaves his fellow creatures in peace. Africa is given as the source of this tale but no specific country is cited. The illustrations, however, which show a lion and rhinoceros, suggest eastern or southern Africa. The illustrations are large and clear but give no particular African flavor. The focus is entirely on animals. (Brenda Randolph)

    TITLE: KENYA IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1830-9

    Subjects: Kenya/East Africa

    Review: This volume, part of a geographic series, provides little useful geography. Brief information on topography, waterways, climate, flora and fauna is given, but this information is rarely related to the economic and social life of the people of Kenya. Also, only minimal attention is given to the geographic location of indigenous Kenyan populations. Major secondary cities appear unknown to the author who is restricted primarily to those most closely identified with European or Asian contacts. Moreover, some "Pictures" appear to have been used only because they were available. They have little reference to the contents of the section. Other photos, while possessing some visual value, are so far from the referenced text that they lose their instructional significance. The early history section is a big disappointment. It continues the unfortunate trend of studying African history through non-African communities. Today, there are simply too many available histories of Kenya for an author to have given this much focus to the early histories of the contact peoples instead of Africans. African peoples existed in East Africa (i.e., "Kenya") before Asian/Arabian and European contacts. In the section entitled "Mid-Century Uprising," the Eurocentric bias of the author is clearly evident. The African resistance movement, labeled "Mau Mau," is led by "terrorists." The forced removal of Kenyans from their homes by the colonial government somehow represented "economic advantages" for Kikuyu people who, having lost their homes and land to usurpers, remained on the government provided reservations. One point almost always missing in this presentation is the fact that the so-called Mau Mau violence occurred primarily within the African communities themselves and was not basically against Europeans. (A comparison of the numbers of lost lives over this period substantiates this claim.) Finally, the volume fails to exploit similarities between African and Western societies, a much needed approach for a youthful Western audience. Africans are shown almost always in rural settings, in traditional dress, and/or in the performance of the most "non-western" activities. (Robert J. Cummings)

    AUTHOR: KESSLER, CHRISTINA TITLE: ALL THE KING'S ANIMALS: THE RETURN OF ENDANGERED WILDLIFE TO SWAZILAND Publisher: Boyds Mill Press Copyright: 1995 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M

    ISBN: 1 56397 364 2

    Place Of Publication: Honesdale, PA Subjects: Swaziland/Animals

    Review: The book tells the story of how a Swazi conservationist with the help of his king led the effort to bring several major species of animals back to live in Swazi game resources. After an introduction on the history of wildlife in Swaziland, the focus shifts to an account of buying the animals, acclimatizing them to their new reserve and protecting them from poachers. The beautiful layout and photographs almost overwhelm the more pedestrian text. (Barbara Brown)

    AUTHOR: KHALFAN, ZULF TITLE: WE LIVE IN KENYA Publisher: Bookwright Copyright: 1983 Type: Book Collation: 60 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-531-03797-5

    Subjects: Kenya/East Africa

    Review: This book is part of the same series as We Live in South Africa. There are flaws in the Kenya title but it is a much better book than the title on South Africa. A lot of data about Kenya is packed into this slender book. Elementary school students will find it useful for reports. The major problem is the editor's apparent tendency to take quotes out-of- context and emphasize negative or "curious" aspects of life in Kenya. Also, although most pejorative terms are avoided, "tribe" and "hut" do appear. In addition, close analysis of the subjects, reveals that most of them live in Nairobi. One suspects that except for a trip to the coast, the editors limited their travel to the capital city of Nairobi. Finally, a number of the interviews sound contrived. One wonders how much tampering the editors did with the words of their subjects. (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: KIMMEL, ERIC TITLE: ANANSI AND THE MOSS COVERED ROCK Publisher: Holiday House Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-8234-0689-X Price (pap): $5.95 ISBN (pap): 0-8234-0798-5

    Subjects: West Africa/Folklore/Anansi

    Review: In this funny trickster tale, greedy Anansi uses a magic rock to steal food from his friends in the forest. Repetition and a well-paced narrative make this picture book a hit with the younger set. The author avoids pejorative terms and wisely uses the term forest instead of the troublesome "jungle." The illustrations are not as special as the text, but the adroit placement of a little duiker adds a hint of mystery and intrigue. Educators teaching the concept of the African diaspora will find this book quite useful. According to the book jacket, this Anansi story traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean where it is still told and enjoyed. A good companion title is Anansi Goes Fishing. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KIMMEL, ERIC TITLE: ANANSI GOES FISHING Publisher: Holiday House Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-8234-0918-X

    Subjects: Folklore/Anansi/Diaspora

    Review: In the 1960s, Joyce Cooper Arkhurst retold several Ghanian Spider stories in a popular book entitled, The Adventures of Spider . One of the tales , "How Spider Helped a Fisherman," is similar to this Kimmel retelling. There are some differences. In the Arkhurst version, Spider tries to trick a fisherman out of his catch only to be tricked himself by the fisherman. In the Kimmel adaptation, it is a frog rather than a fisherman that Anansi seeks to deceive. In the Arkhurst version, Anansi accepts the trick the fisherman plays on him with good humor. Kimmel's Anansi pouts and litigates the dispute. The warthog judge - who knows Anansi's lazy, deceitful character well - rejects Anansi' claim. The Arkhurst version concludes with an explicit moral lesson: "One who plays tricks himself may be tricked if he is too greedy." The lesson in Kimmel's adaption - people who make a habit of lying are often not believed even when telling the truth - is implied rather than stated. Both lessons are valuable and both tales well told. The illustrations in the Kimmel adaptation are similar to those in Kimmel's Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Janet Stevens, who illustrated both books, provides the same forest setting. In Anansi Goes Fishing, however, the material culture is very modern and quite Western. Plastic lounge chairs, a cooler, a boom box radio-cassette player, and a beach umbrella give the story an updated and very materialistic feel. In his notes, Kimmel tells of the popularity of Anansi stories in the Caribbean. Perhaps it is this Western setting rather than Africa that the illustrator is portraying. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KIMMEL, ERIC TITLE: ANANSI AND THE TALKING MELON Publisher: Holiday House Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp.

    Price: $15.95 ISBN: 0 8234 1104 4

    Subjects: Anansi/Folklore/West Africa/Ghana

    Review: In this picture book story Anansi the spider talks inside the melon and fools Elephant into thinking the melon is talking. Elephant is excited andshares the miracle with everybody. He takes the melon to show the king but there the melon does not talk. The king in anger hurls it, and it rolls to Elephant's house where it hits a thorn tree and breaks into pieces. Elephant reprimands the melons for getting him into trouble with the king and vows never to listen to them again. Anansi climbs a banana tree and settles on a bunch. Now the bananas are talking, "We bananas should have warned you. Talking melons are nothing but trouble." This is a funny entertaining story for children. The pictures are bold, bright and attractive. (Lesego Malepe)

    AUTHOR: KITSAO, J. TITLE: MCHESHI GOES TO THE MARKET Publisher: Jacaranda Designs Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 24 pp. Grade: P

    Price (pap): $6.95

    Subjects: Kenya/Fiction/East Africa

    Review: Produced completely in Kenya but available in the U.S., this beautifully illustrated book is published in both Kiswahili and English. The production team includes four Kenyan artists in collaboration with the Department of Linguistics and African Studies at the University of Nairobi. It tells about the visit of a little girl, Mcheshi and her mother to the weekly market and the exchanges and visits that they make together. It is a welcome addition to the lifestyles category for young readers and helps them to see that there may be diverse ways of living and different settings for similar activities. The mother- daughter excursion for quotidienne needs, the enticement of stopping for refreshment, and the allure of purchasing unforeseen goods are all activities that will be familiar to children in the U.S. At the back of the book there are a couple of activity pages which present a matching game for children to play. This type of skill is one that is useful at the early education level and combining African content with a cognitive skill such as this is a much welcome addition. Highly recommended. (Eren Giray)

    AUTHOR: KLEPPER, NANCY TITLE: OUR GLOBAL VILLAGE: AFRICA Publisher: Milliken Copyright: 1990 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 28 pp. Grade: T (P)

    Price (pap): 6.95 ISBN (pap): 1-555863-151-8

    Subjects: Africa - Social life and customs

    Review: Schools will want to purchase this introduction to Africa. The guide includes brief background information on important subjects, activities for students, and a short list of resources. The subjects covered include history, daily life, food, language, creative arts, games and festivals. For the most part, the information provided is accurate and non-stereotypical. The suggested activities are practical, easy-to-do and respectful of African cultures. In addition to the usual activities on mask-making and drum-making, one finds instructions on how to make kente cloth, dine Senegalese style, and count in Swahili. There is also a section on creating work songs and praise poems. The guide ends with a discussion of Kwanzaa. This is a nice touch. It helps young children make the link between African customs and those of African Americans. There are a few problems. Kwanzaa is spelled with two a's at the end not one. Another spelling error occurs when the Kenyan coastal city of Malindi is spelled "Malindiin." Also although the correct term Asante is used, the less acceptable "Ashanti" is also used. The housing activity is limited to rural dwellings of wood and thatch. The author misses an excellent opportunity to introduce students to the great diversity in African housing. Most importantly, any book that attempts to cover all of Africa in a brief guide is necessarily flawed. A study of one country would have been more appropriate and more informative. Despite these problems, the guide is recommended. It is a cut above most commercial guides for primary school children. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KLYCE, KATHERINE PERROW AND MCLEAN, VIRGINIA TITLE: KENYA JAMBO Publisher: Redbird Press Copyright: 1989 Type: Kit Collation: Book and audio cassette Grade: P, E Price: $15.95 ISBN: 0-9696946-4-2 Price (pap): $11.95

    Subjects: Kenya/East Africa/Languages/Swahili

    Review: This kit includes a paperback book, a cassette tape, and a "Boarding Pass" to "an African adventure." The book adopts the safari approach to Kenya. Readers are guided through Kenya by a young girl of European descent. The illustrations appear to be the work of children. There are also professional color photographs. We see the sights tourists are programmed to see: "tribal" people (particularly the Maasai) and animals. Information is included about Nairobi and the lives of ordinary Kenyans, but it is all too brief. The one redeeming part of this kit is the delightful cassette. Narrated by a Swahili-speaker, the cassette covers several topics, including ethnic groups in Kenya, common words and phrases, and popular songs sung by Kenyan children. One should note, however, that the Swahili to English translations on the tape are not always precise. Rafiki, for example, means friend not "my friend." Also, the greeting hodi is used in Swahili-speaking Africa not "Africa." (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KNUTSON, BARBARA TITLE: WHY THE CRAB HAS NO HEAD Publisher: Carolrhoda Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-87614-322-2 Price (pap): $4.95 ISBN (pap): 0 87614 489

    Subjects: Zaire/Folklore/Central Africa

    Review: This myth provides a lesson in foolish pride. The unfinished crab ends up without a head when he brags that the great creator has promised him the best of all heads. The black and white illustrations are striking and the tale simply and smoothly told. The unique aspect of this story is the portrayal of the Creator as female. The language in the story is inoffensive with one exception, i.e. the unfortunate use of the term "hut." (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KORAM, JAMAL TITLE: WHEN LIONS COULD FLY Publisher: Sea Islands Information Group Copyright: 1989 Type: Kit Collation: Book with cassette Grade: P/E

    Price (pap): $11.90

    Subjects: Folklore

    Review: This kit includes a cassette and paperback book. Ten short folktales are retold by Koram, the "Storyman." The lion is a central figure in each tale, hence the title of the collection. In true African form, each story has a moral. Unfortunately, one of the lessons learned is troublesome. In "The hair of a lion," an abused wife is told that the key to changing her huband's behavior lies within her: "Show support for what he does. Do not be angry with him. Love and share parts of your life with him, as he should share with you. Do this, and he will change." Shifting the responsibility for change to the wife instead of the abuser is a type of "blame-the-victim" thinking that sends the wrong message to children. The tape I reviewed was difficult to hear at times. Also, the order of the stories on the tape does not match the order of stories in the book. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KRISTENSEN, PREBEN; CAMERON, FIONA TITLE: WE LIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Bookwright / Watts (dist.) Copyright: 1985 Type: Book Collation: 60 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $12.90 ISBN: 0-531-18005-0

    Subjects: South Africa - Social life and customs

    Review: This shockingly racist book reads like a piece of South African propaganda. Like the other books in the Live Here series, this book includes a series of first person interviews with people from various ethnic groups and occupations. The images created by the interviews in this book are of an African people who exchange women for cattle, have babies out-of-wedlock, believe in witchcraft, brew beer, have lots of parties, speak languages that can be learned in two weeks and abandon their children easily. Whites live normal, respectable lives. They, rather than Africans, are permitted to explain apartheid and they do so in ways that make it sound like a reasonable policy. A false impression of racial harmony is created. No attention is given to the impact of apartheid on Black South Africans. For a different view of this book see the review in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: KUKLIN, SUSAN TITLE: HOW MY FAMILY LIVES IN AMERICA Publisher: Macmillan / Bradbury Press Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-02-751239-8

    Subjects: Diaspora/Senegal/African Americans/West Africa

    Review: In this charming book, three young Americans of different ethnic backgrounds share aspects of their cultural heritages. Eric is Hispanic, April is Asian American and Samu is an African American. Samu's heritage is somewhat unusual. Her mother is African American and her father is Senegalese. Samu describes her recent visit to Senegal to visit her grandparents. She gives the Wolof names for grandmother and grandfather and other Wolof terms (curiously, the Wolof language is never named). She also shows how her Senegalese heritage is integrated into her life in America. The color photographs are bright and sharp. The text is well written and free of pejoratives. There are a growing number of African American children with parents from Africa. This book does an excellent job of highlighting their dual heritages. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: LAWSON, DON TITLE: SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Watts Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 88 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $9.90 ISBN: 0-531-10128-2

    Subjects: South Africa - History/Southern Africa

    Review: This book seems to have been written by two persons, one knowledgeable and perceptive, the other uninformed and biased. Lawson, the author, is at his best when describing the inequities spawned by apartheid. He gives students a good sense of the gap between the world of luxury and privilege enjoyed by whites in South Africa and the poverty, discrimination, and oppression endured by the country's black majority. In addition, he gives a substantive overview of internal black resistance to apartheid since World War II. His description of U.S. opposition to U.S. corporate involvement in South and former President Ronald Reagan's "constructive engagement policy is sound. Lawson runs into difficulty, however, when discussing the armed struggle against apartheid. He launches into a cold-war witch hunt, characterizing South Africa as a "bulwark against Communism" and African nationalists as mere proxies for Soviet communists. Language is another problem. Lawson uses the same terms to describe black South Africans, i.e. "Bushmen," "Hottentot," and "Bantu" that white South Africans use to insult them. History is yet another problem area. Lawson's approach is decidedly Eurocentric. Only a few sentences are devoted to history before the arrival of Europeans. Twenty pages are devoted to the colonial period and virtually no attention is given to Africans in this discussion. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: LESLAU, CHARLOTTE TITLE: AFRICAN PROVERBS Publisher: Peter Pauper Copyright: 1985 Type: Book Collation: 61 pp. Grade: P/E/M/H Price: $6.95 ISBN: 0-88088-025-2

    Subjects: Proverbs/Africa

    Review: This slender book of proverbs is filled with jewels. The proverbs are drawn from groups and countries all over Africa but primarily from sub- Saharan Africa. Only the English translations of the proverbs are given. Brief and pithy, most can be understood even by elementary school children. The proverbs are arranged under groups and countries in rough alphabetical order although, inexplicably, some groups or countries appear out of sequence. A table of contents and/or an index would have been helpful. Despite this drawback, the volume is highly recommended. It fills a void in school and public library collections. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: LEVITIN, SONIA TITLE: ESCAPE FROM EGYPT Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1994 Type: Book

    Grade: M/H

    Place Of Publication: Boston Subjects: Egypt/North Africa/Fiction

    Review: This is a fictional retelling of the biblical story of the Exodus, centering on an adolescent Hebrew boy in love with a half-Egyptian girl. To discuss the historical veracity of a novel that is based largely on a text with such religious authority as the Old Testament, and in which God is a major character, is a rather tricky task. There is no Egyptian evidence surviving for the events described in Exodus; and the only mention of the people of Israel is in a stela recording the annihilation of Israel, a name determined with a sign that indicates a tribal determinative. I will therefore not attempt to deal with the veracity of the biblical texts, but only with the depiction of Egyptian society and history. From that viewpoint, the book shows considerable knowledge of Egyptian religion, but less understanding of other social institutions. The major social institution dealt with in the book is slavery. As the Old Testament source requires, the Egyptians are portrayed as cruel and unfeeling masters, although there is some attempt to show the Egyptian viewpoint and the variety of conditions of slavery, in the thoughts and actions of Jennat. While Egyptian texts make it clear that people could be bought and sold, the brutality described in the novel has little basis in Egyptian evidence. For example, there is an Egyptian text in which a female slave is rented to someone else, and the owner agrees to compensate the renter for the days on which it is too hot for her to do work, implying some standards of fair treatment. There is in fact no explicit evidence for a man's having sexual rights to his slaves; the one text that suggests this may have happened deals with the adoption of this slave's children as heirs of the owner and his wife. In the accounts of theft by slaves, the slaves are not punished by death as is stated in the novel, but simply required to repay four times the value of the stolen goods. Slaves were allowed to acquire and sell property independently, at least under some circumstances. Finally, according to the Greek writer Diodorus, the punishment for killing a slave was death. This would obviously discourage the sort of disregard for human life attributed to the Egyptian slave owners in the novel. According to Abd el-Mohsen Bakir's Slavery in Pharaonic Egypt (Cairo, 1952), most Egyptian slaves of the New Kingdom (the general period during which the Exodus is believed to have taken place) were taken prisoner on military expeditions. Accounts specify "male and female slaves and their children," who were branded with the name of the king. Most of these captives were assigned to Egyptian temples and other institutions, but some were given as rewards to soldiers who had been particularly helpful in the battle. The branding was presumably done to distinguish these foreigners from their compatriots who were in Egypt of their own free wills, trading, working as mercenaries, and enjoying the higher standard of living available in a richer country. Bakir follows W. M. F. Petrie in suggesting that the Hebrews referred to in Exodus were not slaves at all, except in the sense that all inhabitants of Egypt were subject to the pharaoh; they were simply one of many Asiatic communities, subject to a heavy labor tax. The historical background outlined on pp. 40-41 of the novel is probably a combination of these different kinds of slavery, but the result is unrealistic. If the Hebrews came to Egypt as free people, they would not have been lost their free status and become slaves as a group,though as Petrie suggested, they may have been subject to heavy coreae labor recruitment. (The author mentions this state labor, which was required of all Egyptians as well as foreign residents.) Surely they would not have been feared for their fertility, as is stated repeatedly throughout the novel; the Egyptians are not an infertile people themselves, as their current population problem indicates. There are also numerous details of Egyptian life that are incorrect. Married couples were not separated at parties and festivals, as the author seems to have assumed based on traditional Muslim practices. Kohl is black, not blue. The Egyptians, like everyone else, kissed with their mouths and not by rubbing noses. (This misconception is to be found in some older sources, and is based on the fact that the word kiss is followed by a picture of a face in profile, of which the most prominent characteristic is the nose.) And Egyptian hangers-on would not have come to the Hebrew priests asking to be circumcised,since circumcision was an Egyptian custom. As mentioned above, the sections on Egyptian religion are well researched. The story of Isis and Osiris and the characters of Hathor and Seth are properly presented. The author has also correctly noted that the Egyptians did not, apparently, sacrifice sheep, although this was not because they worshipped a sheep-divinity, since they also worshipped bull divinities, and bulls were sacrificed. (Presumably they did eat sheep on more mundane occasions, since otherwise there would have been no point to raising them.) Other details of religious practice that are incorrect include the assumption that there were temple prostitutes, that children were put to the flames, and that virgin girls were sacrificed. A final quibble would be with the language barrier. In the first part of the book, it is mentioned that the Hebrews speak their own language among themselves, although they clearly speak Egyptian as well. Yet the Egyptians Jennat and Shepset understand the conversations between Hebrew speakers that they overhear, as well as the words of God, which were presumably also in Hebrew. Later in the book, they converse effortlessly with the Moabites. In short, the book is quite well researched. It portrays the Egyptians in a harsh light not justified by the Egyptian evidence; however the same can be said of the Old Testament on which it is based. Nonetheless, I have given it a marginal rating, because its portrayal of Egyptian society is based on a clearly partisan viewpoint that stresses negative traits not supported by the current scholarly understanding of the contemporary evidence. (Ann Macy Roth 6/95)

    AUTHOR: LOTTRIDGE, CELIA BARKER TITLE: NAME OF THE TREE: A BANTU FOLKTALE Publisher: Margaret McElderry Books Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P/E Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-689-50490-X

    Subjects: Africa/Folklore

    Review: When drought stalks the land, the animals cross the dry plains in search of food. A tree full of fruit is located but the animals must learn the name of the tree before they can eat the tree's offerings. Several animals offer to approach the king of the "jungle" to learn the tree's name. A self-centered gazelle and a haughty elephant learn the name from the lion. However, each of them forgets the name before they can relay it to the other animals. No one believes the slow, young tortoise can do the job when more experienced animals have failed. But, of course, he does. Perseverance and humility enable him to remember the name and obtain food for his fellow creatures. This story is similar to an earlier version of the tale retold by Joanne Troughton in the 1980 publication, Tortoise's Dream. It is also similar in some respects to Quail Song, a Pueblo tale retold by Valerie Carey. In each of these stories an animal "drops" something important. Teachers may want to combine these and similar tales in a multicultural unit that demonstrates universal themes. One should note, however, that while the soft pastel illustrations in Name of the Tree echo the drought conditions the animals face, the author seems a bit confused about the habitat of the lion. Lions are plains not rain- forest animals. Also, the author reinforces certain stereotypes when she refers to the rain forest as a "jungle." (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: LOWIS, PETER TITLE: SOUTH AFRICA : FREE AT LAST Publisher: Leo Books Address: 40 Heerengracht, Cape Town 8001/Aladdin Books Ltd Address: 28 Percy St. London W1P 9FF Copyright: 1995 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp Grade: E/M

    Price (pap): R31.09 ISBN (pap): 1 87505 501 0 Place Of Publication: Cape Town/London Subjects: South Africa/History/Government/Politics

    Review: This slim book provides an excellent introduction to the new South Africa. It gives brief but insightful discussions of the 1994 free elections, the new government structure (called the Government of National Unity), government strategies to address the legacy of apartheid, the history of European domination, and the resistance efforts of the African people. The format is inviting. Bold headlines, succinct text, and captioned visuals highlight the major topics of discussion. Teachers seeking a concise and up-to-date resource will welcome this publication. However, they will need to supplement the book with materials that discuss the history and contributions of the various individuals and ethnic groups that were oppressed under colonialism and apartheid. Also, the author incorrectly identifies the Khoikhoi people as the first inhabitants of the western Cape. Actually the San hunting and gathering people were the earliest occupants. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: LYE, KEITH TITLE: TAKE A TRIP TO ETHIOPIA Publisher: Watts Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $9.90 ISBN: 0 865313335 5

    Subjects: Ethiopia - Description and travel/ East Africa

    Review: Part of the Take a Trip series, this easy-to-read book provides a relatively good introduction to Ethiopia for primary students. Although the unfortunate term "hut" is used, the author avoids other biased terms. The author also avoids overemphasizing the famine crisis. Information on famine is balanced with information on history, geography and the economy. Among the strongest features are the book's colorful and diverse photographs. Urban and rural scenes are shown and modern as well as ancient structures are highlighted. The book predates Mengistu's departure and the cessation of war. The excesses of the Mengistu regime are mentioned, as are the self-determination efforts of Eritreans and Somalis living in Ethiopia. However, there is no mention or discussion of the liberation efforts of Tigrean or Oromo groups. Given their prominence in opposition efforts, the omission is glaring. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: LYE, KEITH TITLE: TAKE A TRIP TO ZIMBABWE Publisher: Watts Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $10.90

    Subjects: Zimbabwe/Southern Africa

    Review: This easy-to read book avoids the crude racism of Let's Visit Zimbabwe. However, it too has serious problems. The book paints a rather thin picture of Zimbabwe. There is too much attention placed on geography and too little on people. The information on people that is given, tends to focus on trivia about Europeans. No information on the affects of colonialism on the African majority is given nor is any attention devoted to the long and bitter war that ravaged the country for so many years. Most importantly, the author misses an excellent opportunity to discuss the strategies black and white Zimbabweans have used to heal the wounds of war and fashion a pluralistic society. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MACCANN, DONNARAE; WOODWARD, GLORIA TITLE: THE BLACK AMERICAN IN BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: READINGS IN RACISM Publisher: Scarecrow Press Copyright: 1985 Type: Book Collation: 298 pp. Grade: T Price: $29.50 ISBN: 08108-1826-4

    Subjects: African Americans/Literature/Racism in literature/Diaspora/Book reviews

    Review: As the title suggests, this book of readings is primarily about the image of African Americans in children's literature. There are, however, three essays that deal at some length with Africa. In her 11-page essay, "The 'Real' Doctor Dolittle," Isabelle Suhl analyses the depiction of Africans in the ever-popular Dr. Dolittle books by Hugh Lofting. "Who," Suhl asks, "is the 'real' Dr. Dolittle? And what manner of man is his creator, Hugh Lofting..." Suhl concludes that the real Dr. Dolittle is "in essence the personification of the Great White Father Nobly Bearing the White Man's Burden and that his creator was a white racist and chauvinist..." More recent editions of the Dolittle books, which delete certain racial epithets, are unacceptable to Suhl. Racism, she argues, permeates the books and can not be exorcised via editing. In her essay "Racism in Prize-Winning Biographical Works" Donnarae MacCann examines the image of Africa in Amos Fortune, Free Man (1950) by Elizabeth Yates . Yates, MacCann notes, depicts Africa as "pagan" and a place so unsavory that enslavement in the Americas becomes an opportunity rather than a tragedy. Shadow by Marcia Brown, another award winning title, is highlighted in the essay "The Black Experience Through White Eyes--The Same Old Story Once Again" by Beryle Banfield and Geraldine L. Wilson. They provide a chart which decodes the negative and stereotypical messages conveyed by the cultural symbols in Shadow. Collectively, these three essays provide a revealing look at the racism in "classic" titles. The volume is must reading for anyone interested in children's literature. (Brenda Randolph)


    Type: Curriculum guide Collation: Teacher's guide 30 pp. Grade: T

    Price (pap): Pound5.00

    Place Of Publication: Exeter (Queen St. Exeter, England) Subjects: Nigeria/Igbo/Biography/Olaudah Equiano/Slavery/Enslaved persons/History

    Review: This teaching resource contains illuminating excerpts from the famous autobiography of Equiano and other related primary source documents from the 18th century. Clear, concise narratives introduce the excerpts and provide background on the time and issues of the day. Well-chosen documents and excellent scholarship make this a valuable teaching resource. (Brenda Randolph)


    Grade: YA

    Price (pap): $9.95 ISBN (pap): 0 435 91323 9

    Subjects: Africa/Poetry

    Review: Adewale Maja-Pearce was born in London (1953) but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He has compiled what he describes as "the best African poetry written in English over the last thirty years...Excellence has been the only criterion in making the selection..." Maja-Pearce treats English as a language of Africa because "the poets have determined it so." The African poets included in this book include several who have experienced imprisonment or exile as a result of their publications. For many others, politics is also an important subject. But the 125 poems by 22 African poets also include the whimsical or satirical, the historical, and the unbelievable. The poets employ a full range of images, slang, and style. Teachers should be aware that scatological and sexually explicit language is used in some poems. Readers will be familiar with the structure of many of these poems because they are cousins of the European and American styles which have followed the distribution of the language world-wide. Yet they include people and place names which should stimulate and require some research, thus providing a natural complement to work in, for example, world history or world geography. Recommended for high school and college students who are searching for some of Africa's best wordsmiths. A useful contemporary companion to the recent published anthology edited by Nadezda Obradovic, Looking for a Rain God: An Anthology of Contemporary African Short Stories. (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: MAREN, MICHAEL TITLE: THE LAND AND PEOPLE OF KENYA Publisher: Lippincott Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 191 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $14.89 ISBN: 0-397-32334-4

    Subjects: Kenya/History/East Africa

    Review: Maren's opening chapter, "A Morning in Kenya," feels like Africa. It touches first on the morning rhythms of rural peoples in different parts of this diverse country, moves to the bustle of morning Nairobi, and then returns to small city and rural Kenya. The geography of the country is clearly presented and related to the lives of individuals and communities. The author describes different ethnic groups straightforwardly, with an appreciation of the uniqueness of each. Differences are neither romanticized nor presented in hostile or problematic ways, as is too often the case in Kenya books. The section on history, starting appropriately with the emergence of humankind, is clear and well-balanced. Readers should be able to understand why colonial rule emerged and why and how Africans resisted it. The author deals openly with major post-colonial problems, yet respects the efforts of Kenyans to deal with them. Aspects of present-day life -- sport, music, education, tourism, the hunger for land -- are discussed in terms of how individuals and families experience them. Throughout the book boxed sections treat significant subjects that do not fit into the narrative flow, for example: terminology used to describe Africans; Swahili, age groups; one-party states; and women's rights. The maps lack detail but are easy to read, and they locate the concepts emphasized in the text. The value of the well-chosen black-and- white illustrations is extended by informative captions. The annotated bibliography and filmography and a discography should be especially useful for teachers. Maren's experience in the Peace Corps in Kenya probably contributed to his writing a "country" book that goes beyond the formulae to touch humanity there. (Loretta Kreider Andrews)

    AUTHOR: MARGOLIES, BARBARA A. TITLE: REHEMA'S JOURNEY: A VISIT TO TANZANIA Publisher: Scholastic Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: E Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-509-42846-2

    Subjects: Tanzania/East Africa - Description and travel

    Review: Rehema is a young resident of northeastern Tanzania. Like most Tanzanians, Rehema lives in the rural area. This book document's Rehema's trip from her mountain home to the town of Arusha and the game reserve at Ngorongoro Crater. On her journey, Rehema (and the readers) get glimpses of other lifestyles in Tanzania. The book is produced on high-quality paper and contains glossy, colorful photographs. This is certainly a realistic depiction of Tanzania. There are, however, some concerns. One wishes the author had avoided using the anachronistic term "tribe." She would also have done well to avoid mentioning the blood and milk diet of the Maasai and the cow dung houses in rural Tanzania. American children have heard about the Maasai's blood and milk diet ad nauseam. Their reactions are rarely positive. They also react negatively to "cow dung." Adults who use this book will want to prepare students by pointing out American uses of cow mature, e.g. growing food. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MARK DA SILVA, MARGARET TITLE: AFRICA THROUGH LITERATURE: CHINUA ACHEBE'S THINGS FALL APART Publisher: Margaret da Silva Copyright: 1990 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 59 pp., maps, transparencies Grade: T (H)

    Price (pap): $20.00

    Subjects: Nigeria/Literature/Poetry/Proverbs/Chinua Achebe/West Africa/Study and teaching

    Review: Africa Through Literature provides teaching ideas for the Achebe novel, for selected proverbs and poetry from Africa (Leon Damas, a poet from French Guiana, is not identified as "diaspora"), for mask-making, and for analysis of two New York Times articles on Africa. The background material for the lessons comes from a 1985 SPICE publication for teachers. Maps are from Africa Report (Rio Muni is missing). The overall approach of showing commonalities between African and Western cultural values is sound; Africans are not depicted as "strange." The unit also questions the role of Western impact on Africa. Instructing students to make a mask of their own relatives or honored persons rather than to "make a mask" with no cultural, subjective basis, is good (p. 24). I object to the following: (1) On page 2 we read, "African writers are deeply influenced by the social, economic, political conditions under which they live." This is true of all writers everywhere in the world. Singling out Africa implies that Western writers are not so influenced and this feeds students' opinions that the West "rises above" personal, cultural, and political interests and constraints. 2) On page 23, the last line, something is missing. (3) The New York Times lesson presents several problems. First, students should be asked to examine the interests and perspectives of the Times itself - not to take the articles as "truth." Second, there are no questions given for the Haiti articles. Third, the AIDS article depicts women as objects, yet no questions are raised about women per se in the lessons. (4) In the student reading, "African Poetry" (p.27), we are not told who wrote the bicycle poem. Sources are important for many reasons. Also, the Negritude movement was not in Africa in the beginning as stated on p. 28, it was begun in Paris, by African and Antilleans. This should be clear and the implications are important to the movement itself. (5) The poetry section also emphasizes the use of metaphors from nature. Why not have students find a poem from their cultural background (whatever it may be) to illustrate this common poetic device? Indeed, why focus on "nature" in African poetry? In general, my main substantive criticism of the guide is that women - as authors, as objects, as missing actors - are neglected in the considerations raised by the author of this unit. For example, the author lifts the following problematic statement from the SPICE publication: "polygyny ensured that every woman had a man and therefore children." (p. 44) This and other superficial and stereotypical examinations of polygyny are not questioned. Also,on page 45, the author describes the protagonist in the film "Chocolat" as having a "liberal minded father and a beautiful restless mother." Having seen "Chocolat," I think that this description should be challenged for its sexism. (Marylee Susan Crofts)

    AUTHOR: MARNEWECK, LORRAINE; SIEBORGER, ROB; TORR, LOUISE TITLE: MAKING HISTORY 3 Publisher: Centaur House, Address: 1 Clough St., Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Copyright: 1991 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 126 pp. Grade: E/M

    ISBN (pap): 0 947472 69 X Place Of Publication: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Subjects: South Africa - Study and teaching/History

    Review: This is the first book in the Making History series. The first half of the book begins with the history of the San hunting and gathering people of South Africa and ends with the Voortrekkers' encounters with the Ndebele under Mzilikazi. The second half examines selected societies and topics from world history including Greece, Rome, European and African Middle Ages, Islam, Mali and Zimbabwe. Essential information about each societies' economic structure is given along with other brief facts. Activities, suggested questions, and numerous drawings and photographs are included. Chapters are brief (most only two pages in length) and the text is easy-to-read. Despite its simple appearance, a great deal of research was expended in creating this text. The scholarship is sound and the lessons are creative. An excellent teacher's guide for the text is available. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MARNEWECK, LORRAINE; SIEBORGER, ROB; TORR, LOUISE TITLE: MAKING HISTORY 4 Publisher: Centaur Publications Address: Centaur House, 1 Clough St., Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Copyright: 1992 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 128 pp. Grade: E

    ISBN (pap): 1 86834 085 6 Place Of Publication: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 3201 Subjects: South Africa/History

    Review: Part of the Making History series, this text is similar in format to the first book in the series, Making History 3. It covers the period from 1840 to the early decades of the 19th century. The major foci are the 19th century wars of dispossession and the spread of capitalism (particularly through the establishment of the mineral industries). There are also very useful chapters on transport, communications, health and medicine. All of these chapters include information on these systems in precolonial times. There is also a chapter that discusses the concepts of democracy and human rights. The latter focuses on the U.N. declaration of children's rights. Primary source material, including statements by Africans are judiciously integrated in the text. Activities for students are given at the end of each chapter. Like the first book in the series, this volume is characterized by excellent scholarship and new interpretations of South African history. One wishes however, that the authors had included information on decision-making in indigenous African societies and the use of Indian labor. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MCCUEN, GARY TITLE: THE APARTHEID READER Publisher: GEM Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 173 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-86596-057-7

    Subjects: South Africa/History/Apartheid

    Review: This book is a significant improvement over many earlier works on South Africa. It combines commentary, cartoons, and debates on significant issues in apartheid South Africa. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the realities of apartheid. The two-to-three page essays are written by individuals who have closely analyzed and studied the country. In chapters 2-4, opposing perspectives on apartheid are presented. Among the views represented are those of Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, George Schultz, Gatsha Buthelezi, and John Chettle (a director of the South Africa Foundation). The author provides "Points to Consider" to encourage debate and analysis of the opinions. Photos, cartoons, maps, charts, and a bibliography are included. No index is provided. Given the changes in South Africa, this book should be supplemented with more recent works. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MCCULLA, PATRICIA TITLE: TANZANIA Publisher: Chelsea House Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 96 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95

    Subjects: Tanzania - History/Tanzania - Description and Travel/East Africa

    Review: Though the overview is satisfactory, this text leaves much to be desired. Specific concerns are as follow. The history is one-sided and, obviously, the writer was very subjective in the issues and "facts" selected for discussion. The information presented is not current. For example, in reference to the New Africa Hotel, the author indicates that this hotel is "one of the best and most up-to-date" hotels in Dar-es- Salaam. Also, much of the information is irrelevant, incorrect, and misleading. For instance: (1) how Amin was eliminated from power (p. 19); (2) more exact locations of Rwanda and Burundi are needed (p.20); (3) Dodoma has been the capital city for at least years. Dar-es-Salaam must be considered in any text about Tanzania; but it is no longer the capital; (4) it is misleading and, I think, incorrect to say that "Africa is prejudiced against Europeans and Asians;" (p. 74) (5) a map with location of select rivers, lakes, mountains, and important physical features should be included. Lastly, many of the pictures were in black and white, more should have been in color. The scenes that were in color were not good, those with people often showed red in the pictures. (Elvira Williams)

    AUTHOR: MCKENNA, NANCY TITLE: A ZULU FAMILY Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 31 pp. Grade: E Price: $8.95 ISBN: 0 8225 1666 7

    Subjects: South Africa/Apartheid

    Review: This book is part of the Families All Over the World series. Like the other books in the series, it focuses on a child from a given country and follows the child through a typical day. The child in this volume is Busisiwe, an 11 year old Zulu girl. Her mother is dead and her father works in the mines in Johannesburg. Busisiwe, her three brothers, and two sisters live with their grandmother in Ekuvukeni, a government-assigned "resettlement area". The harsh conditions under which the family live are emphasized with words and visuals. No attempt is made to gloss over the realities of apartheid. Also, the strength and resilience of the people of Ekuvukeni are evident. There are weaknesses in the book. Busisiwe is shown in the beginning of the book, but it is difficult to identify her in subsequent photographs. Actually, the photographs and text focus more on Busisiwe's grandmother than on the child. An additional criticism is the absence of information on life for whites in South Africa. Children using this book independently might not be aware of the gross disparity between Busisiwe's life and that of a white child in South Africa. The book is useful but it should be supplemented with books that show the contrast between black and white life. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MCKISSACK, PATRICIA AND MCKISSACK, FREDRICK TITLE: THE ROYAL KINGDOMS OF GHANA, MALI, AND SONGHAY : LIFE IN MEDIEVAL AFRICA Publisher: Holt Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 120 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $15.95 ISBN: 0 8050 1670 8

    Subjects: History/Ghana/Mali/Songhay/West Africa

    Review: The McKissacks have produced a superb historical study of the western Sudan's middle period. The text is conceptually comprehensive, well-written, and sufficiently illustrated. It should be vigorously promoted as a principal text for students in the middle and upper grades of high school. The text is accurate, reliable, even in its treatment of controversial topics, and objective in its overall approach. Far from either the Eurocentric propaganda of some or the Afrocentric romanticism of others, The Royal Kingdom of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay is informed by solid social science. Following a note from the authors in which the book is squarely placed within the "reclamation" school of African-centered history, the introduction paints the western Sudan with an opening flourish of references to both the region's historic prosperity and the industrious nature of its inhabitants. A very useful delineation of Mande-speaking populations in West Africa is provided, an early indication of the extreme practicality of the book. The substance of the text is divided into three sections, each focusing on one of the "Big Three" in West African historiography - Ghana, Mali, and Songhay. Beginning with Ghana, the authors take the time to explore the relationship between oral traditions and scientific inquiry in the attempt to determine the origins of ancient Ghana in the process, they succeed in underscoring orality and the role of the griot, providing a useful analogy to Homer and the Greek bards. Care is taken to explain important terms and to contextualize them. A brief but effective introduction to West African social structure is included by way of reference to Soninke occupational castes. The account of the snake-god Bida allows for both an exercise in literary interpretation as well as a transition to the discussion of Islam. The latter is excellent, as it includes the life of Muhammad, the basic tenets of the faith, and its initial movement into West Africa. Islam's expansion below the Sahara was, of course, directly related to the transsaharan trade in gold, salt, and other commodities. After a consideration of iron-working that thematically links Mande blacksmithing to its ancient forerunner in Nok, the authors treat the various aspects of the transsaharan trade in some detail, with appropriate emphases on the role of the camel and the vicissitudes of the desert crossing. The section on Ghana is concluded by a discussion of Soninke daily life. Part Two of the book focuses on Mali, with emphases on the lives of Sunjaata (as founder) and Mansa Musa (as consolidator and pilgrim in a renowed hajj). Attention is paid to commercial life in Timbuktu as well as to the artisanry, social customs, and religious beliefs of the Mandinka. The section ends with an attempt to connect ancient Mali and the African experience in the New World via the controversial account of a fourteenth-century transatlantic voyage by Malians. The third section of the book (featuring Songhay) also ends with a New World application - in this instance the accounts of two Muslims transported to Georgia and Jamaica in the transatlantic slave trade. In the case of the latter, the application is more effective in that the Muslim in question, Abu Bakr al- Siddiq, was apparently able to return to his native land. The way is prepared for such a discussion by succinct considerations of both the transatlantic and transsaharan slave trades. These considerations take place, in turn, as an extension of Songhay history, whose end coincides with the acceleration of the trade to the Americas. The principals of imperial Songhay - Sunni Ali and Askia al-hajj Muhammad - figure prominently earlier on, but adequate attention is also given to Songhay administration and to visitors such as al-Maghili and Leo Africanus. In addition to the actual text, the authors provide a useful index, accurate maps, and a dependable bibliography (even though scholars such as Hunwick, Kaba, and Cissoko do not appear). The photographs are wonderful, providing examples of architecture, sculpture, and various facets of life. The notes are helpful and explanatory, providing youthful readers with an example of how to resolve legitimate conflicts among scholarly views. Finally, the time line at the end of the book is excellent as well as accurate; significant events in the western Sudan are correlated with those of Europe and the Americas to provide broader context. In sum, the McKissacks are to be commended for their very fine accomplisment. Their book should become required reading for all students passing through secondary school. Perhaps the McKissacks can be encouraged to provide the same quality of synthesis for eastern Africa, southern Africa, and the forest region of West Africa. (Michael Gomez)

    AUTHOR: MELLECKER, JUDITH TITLE: RANDOLPH'S DREAM Publisher: Knopf Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: E Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-679-91115-4

    Subjects: North Africa - Fiction

    Review: This British fantasy employs a picture book format to tell a story of World War I. A young British boy, whose soldier father is deployed in North Africa, fantasizes that he is able to fly to North Africa and rescue his desert-bound father. Africans do not figure prominently in this tale and when they are seen their images are not flattering. North African children, for example, are described as "street urchins." Africa in this story is a place to be rescued from, not an entity to be understood on its own terms. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MEYER, CAROLYN TITLE: VOICES OF SOUTH AFRICA: GROWING UP IN A TROUBLED LAND Publisher: Harcourt Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 244 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-15-200637-0

    Subjects: South Africa/Apartheid/Southern Africa

    Review: Carolyn Meyer, an American, spent five weeks in South Africa in the summer of 1985. Her impressions and conversations with South Africans form the bulk of this book. One could hardly find a worse candidate to write about South Africa. Meyer's ignorance is profound and her ethnocentrism pronounced. Meyer's identification with white South Africans hampers her ability to provide insight into attitudes and conditions in that country. Her level of comfort with whites, even those whites whose racist views she condemns, leads her to devote most of her attention to white concerns and opinions. Most disturbing are the crude and denigrating comments about blacks that she culls from interviews with whites. Perhaps her intent is to highlight and reveal white racism. Unfortunately, the result is a composite image of black South Africans as lazy, irresponsible, superstitious, and hostile. The latter is particularly prominent. Black South Africans are repeatedly depicted as threatening to whites. Little is reported here about black fears, though as history has clearly shown, it is blacks rather than whites who have had the most to fear in South Africa. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MIDDLETON, NICK TITLE: SOUTHERN AFRICA Publisher: Raintree Steck Vaughn Copyright: 1995 Type: Book Collation: 47 pp. Grade: E/M

    ISBN: 0 8114 2785 4

    Place Of Publication: Austin, Texas Subjects: Southern Africa

    Review: Lavishly illustrated with color photos and color graphs on every page, Southern Africa offers an overview of the region. The book focuses on physical geography, natural resources and economic activity, with a brief look at politics and daily life. The book is breathlessly fact- filled, with occasional errors which could easily have been caught if an area specialist had been consulted. The concept of the book -- southern Africa -- is problematic, as the variation(s) in resources, industry and agriculture in the area (are/is?) immense. The result is a dizzying blur of facts which don't tell a story. Thus, a chapter on food and farming opens with a few generalizations about subsistence and plantation farming, followed by a maze of facts about rainfall, land shortages and crops grown, with brief references indicating in which countries each of these facts occur. While I believe a book could be created on this region, it would make sense only if it started from a story: that story would be the history of power relations in the region. It was conquest and resistance which carved the region up into particular countries and which created much of the division of resources which exists today. (Barbara Brown)

    AUTHOR: MOSS, JOYCE AND WILSON, GEORGE TITLE: PEOPLES OF THE WORLD: AFRICANS SOUTH OF THE SAHARA Publisher: Gale Research Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 443 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $39.95 ISBN: 0-8103-7942-2

    Subjects: Africa - Handbooks, manuals

    Review: The idea of an encyclopedic approach to the study of Africa and its people as a reference guide is a sound one. In Peoples of the World: Africans South of the Sahara, the authors provide entries in three categories: (1) Five Old African Cultures, (2) 34 Contemporary African Societies, and (3) 42 Modern African Countries. In each category there are such additional entries as the pronunciation of the culture, the society or the country; a brief description of the culture, the society or the country; the population, location, and languages; the geographical setting and historical background; the culture and, in the case of countries, principal cities. Maps, photographs, illustrations and additional sources for further research are also included. A significant feature of an encyclopedia is its inclusiveness. Consequently, one would expect that authors using an encyclopedic approach would provide a rationale for the selections which appear in each category. They do not. So the reader is left to wonder why some societies and countries are included and others are not. One would also expect that the authors would draw on the significant input of African and African American scholars writing on Africa. However, in a bibliography of 23 entries, five are by African authors. In works listed to provide more information for further research, of 99 entries, nine are by African authors and three by African Americans. Consequently, information about slavery, the slave trade, colonialism, African resistance to colonialism, African independence, and apartheid are from a European perspective. For example, apartheid is referred to in the past tense: "blacks were excluded from government and elections..." (p. 36); Cape Coloureds are said to be the result of marriages between Afrikaners and the Khoikhoi and San peoples (p.95); and the Afrikaners' inability to get along with blacks motivated their migration to "relatively uninhabited African territory" is given as the reason for the Great Trek (p.34). In addition to bias in the interpretation of historical facts, there are outright historical inaccuracies. Modern Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society, not the American National Colonization Society. Those African Americans and West Indians who emigrated to Liberia became Americo-Liberians, not American Liberians. The coup which deposed the Americo-Liberian oligarchy occurred in 1980, not in 1979. Samuel Kanyon Doe, who became Head of State following the coup, was killed in September, 1990 not in early 1991. The authors would have been better served had they drawn on scholars with expertise in the categories included in this work. A result would have been a coherent exposition of each cultural group discussed in the category of contemporary African societies and a more comprehensive discussion of modern African states included in the third category. As the book stands, its information is biased, inaccurate, misleading, and fragmented. (Beverlee Bruce)

    AUTHOR: MOTLEY, MARY TITLE: AFRICA: ITS EMPIRES, NATIONS, AND PEOPLE Publisher: Wayne State University Press Copyright: 1969 Type: Book Collation: 164 pp. Grade: E/M/H

    Price (pap): $10.95 ISBN (pap): 8143-1399-1

    Subjects: Africa/History

    Review: Motley's history of Africa needs revision. Most of the problems are in the introduction. Pejorative terms such as "Hottentot," "Bushmen," "Pygmy," and "primitive" are used repeatedly. Also, the author simplistically describes some groups as "warrior tribes" and others as "peaceful." It is more accurate to see war and peace as phases that occur in a society's history. The discussion of the origin of African groups is also faulty. The Ibo, Yoruba, and Zulu, among others, are described as "descendants of tribes who migrated to Africa thousands of years in the past." Yet the ancestors of these groups did indeed evolve in Africa. Motley is on much more solid ground when discussing ancient African societies. Also, her chapter on Africa and the world provides good information. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MURDOCH, TONY O'CONNELL , PAM, AND ROSANOWSKI, JOHN TITLE: RACE RELATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Longman / Addison Wesley (dist.) Copyright: 1990 Type: Textbook Collation: 70 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN: 0-582-85864-X Price (pap): $13.24

    Place Of Publication: Reading Subjects: South Africa/History/Apartheid/Southern Africa

    Review: Originally published abroad, this booklet covers South African history from European settlement to the 1980s. The format is simple and facilitates instruction. A study question is posed at the beginning of each of 22 chapters. A narrative follows which provides succinct information on the period and/or topic covered. Also included are photographs, cartoons, and excerpts from illuminating documents. Activities and study questions are given at the end of each chapter. Unfortunately, the first two-thirds of the book is essentially a Eurocentric version of South African history. The simultaneous peopling myth is repeated (which erroneously suggests that whites and Bantu-speaking people arrived in South Africa at about the same time), major African leaders and organizations are often given insufficient attention, and the impact of events on the majority population is sometimes overlooked. An example of the latter can be seen in the discussion of the South African War. The focus is on Boer and Briton; black South Africans are simply a footnote. Another problem is the language used to refer to black South Africans. The terms "natives," "tribes," "non-whites," and "Bantu" are outmoded and viewed by many as inappropriate. The authors do a much better job in the chapters which cover the period from 1948 to 1986. The spotlight in these chapters is on the majority population, the impact of apartheid, and the various forms of resistance to apartheid. Red-baiting is avoided and the international underpinnings of apartheid are exposed. Teachers wishing to use this work for contemporary history would be well advised to use Shillington's History of Southern Africa and Callinicos' two volume set (Gold and Workers, 1886-1924 and Working Life 1886-1940) to cover history from the early period to 1948. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: MURRAY, JOCELYN TITLE: AFRICA: CULTURAL ATLAS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE Publisher: Facts on File Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 96 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $17.95 ISBN: 0-8160-2209-7

    Subjects: History - Africa

    Review: This volume is part of a Facts on File series. Currently there are five other books in the series. The other series titles cover a relatively narrow scope, i.e. looking at only one country or time period. The premise on which this volume is based is flawed. Attempting to provide a brief overview of a continent as large as Africa is bound to be problematic. One is forced to neglect important concepts and overlook certain countries. Murray does not rise above the format constraints placed upon her. Moreover, she occasionally reinforces Western stereotypes about Africa. 'The Regional Guide...' is perhaps the most problem-plagued. Vast areas are reduced to brief comments and frequently unimportant or extraneous information about small minority groups is included. For example, West Central Africa, an area which includes six countries (three of which are among the largest in Africa i.e. Chad, Zaire, and Angola), is introduced in six paragraphs. Angola is summarized in one sentence: "Angola, poorly developed by Portuguese, only achieved a shaky independence in 1975." Rather than focus on a large representative group from West Central Africa, Murray selects a tiny group that is a favorite with the West, the Mbuti of Zaire whom Murray calls by the Western term "pygmies". This pattern of oversimplification and distortion is repeated in the section on East Africa. Like West Central Africa, East Africa also receives a mere six paragraph discussion. The special topic in this section is another Western favorite, games parks. The chronology chart also has problems. Murray fails to note the earliest archaeological evidence of Homo Sapien in southern Africa in 100,000 B.P. and instead includes the later date of 35,000 B.C. in East Africa. Martin Luther King is included on the chart and curiously described as a leader who helped to change western attitudes toward Africa (W.E.B. Dubois, Carter G. Woodson, or Malcom X would have been more appropriate choices). The history section also has weaknesses. The discussion of early Greek and Roman presence in Africa fails to note the important intellectual legacy the Africans bequeated to these southern Europeans during their occupation of North Africa. The section on missionaries does not discuss the complex roles missionaries played in Africa, only the positive aspects of their presence are noted. Thoughout the volume Murray uses erroneous and misleading terms including: "natives", "hut", "Bantu", "Bushman" and "tribes". There are strong points in the volume. Murray does not isolate the study of North Africa from sub-Saharan Africa. The section on ancient Africa contains useful commentaries and the photographs and maps are often quite good. On the whole, however, the strong points cannot carry the many weaker parts. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: NABWIRE, CONSTANCE; MONTGOMERY, BERTHA TITLE: COOKING THE AFRICAN WAY Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 46 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $10.95 ISBN: 0 8225 0919 9 Price (pap): $5.95 ISBN (pap): 0 8225 9564 8

    Subjects: Cookery/East Africa/West Africa

    Review: This book is part of the Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbook series. Most of the books in the series focus on a particular country. Regrettably countries in Africa and South America are not given a separate volume, instead they are lumped together under a continental heading. The failure to treat Africa with the attention accorded other continents is alleviated somewhat by the authors' limitation of their discussion to West and East Africa. As the title suggests, the book is primarily a collection of recipes. The color photographs are attractive, the directions easy to follow, and the recipes are tailored to American kitchens. The introductory comments are generally good but there are some problems. The authors' comment that "(t)raditionally the men are responsible for farming..." is incorrect. Farming in most parts of Africa has traditionally been a female activity. Also the authors use two problematic terms "black African" and "tribes." Additionally, there is a bit too much discussion of "Westernization" and what Africans "lack." Still this is a generally upbeat and positive look at food in Africa. It fills an important void. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: NAIDOO, BEVERLY TITLE: CHAIN OF FIRE Publisher: Lippincott / Harper Collins Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 245 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-397-32427-8

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: An outstanding book which powerfully mixes the stuff of ordinary, daily life with the larger stuff of political conflict and personal courage. The reader can imagine her or himself actually there in a rural black South African community. Accurate and moving, this is as good a book as her highly praised (and awarded) Journey to Jo'burg, though perhaps not as immediately popular, perhaps because it takes a political struggle (against the forced removal of the community) as its immediate story. (Barbara Brown)

    AUTHOR: NGUBANE, HARRIET TITLE: ZULUS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA Publisher: Wayland Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-85078-595-2

    Subjects: South Africa/Zulu

    Review: This book is part of the Original Peoples series. The criteria for inclusion in the series is not clear. The title suggests that the highlighted groups are all indigenous inhabitants of their lands. Yet many groups could fit this criteria. "Race" appears to have played a major role in the selection process. With one exception (the Lapps) all the "original people" are people of color. Most are from southern hemisphere nations. All are favorite subjects of anthropological studies. Indeed, the author of the this title is an anthropologist. She is also a Zulu. Not surprisingly, the book has a strong anthropological focus. Students learn about Zulu kinship patterns, traditional healers, childhood, and arts and crafts. There is also information on history and life in apartheid South Africa. Although useful and illuminating information is provided, there are a number of problems. Language is one. The terms "hut" and "witch doctor" have negative connotations in the minds of Western children. The pictures of bare-breasted women raise similar concerns. Quite troubling is the superficial discussion of Gatsha Buthelezi. No mention is made of the criticism he has faced for his anti-sanctions stance. He is presented simply as a Zulu leader. The publishers of this series should consider abandoning the ethnicity approach in favor of country studies. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: OBRADOVIC, NADEZDA ED TITLE: LOOKING FOR A RAIN GOD: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN SHORT STORIES Publisher: Simon and Schuster Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 284 pp. Grade: YA Price: $21.95 ISBN: 0-671-70179-7 Price (pap): $9.95 ISBN (pap): 0-671-67177-4

    Subjects: Africa/Short Stories/Literature

    Review: If newspaper articles and television reports on Africa manage occasionally to capture the attention of the fickle American public then surely greater exposure to African literature will entice students of all ages to explore the quiet wonders and riches of the world's second largest continent. Here is an anthology that provides just the type of vehicle needed to introduce non-academics to the charming, witty, and sometimes sardonic styles which characterize contemporary African literature. Twenty- six short stories, written over the past 30 years by 26 of Africa's foremost writers, comprise this compact, enjoyable anthology. The collection begins with Chinua Achebe's humorous swipe at class consciousness in a Nigerian village, and then simply moves through a panoply of satires, narratives, and fantasies without the slightest semblance of order or structure. A brief description of the authors and their works precede each story, making it easy for readers who wish to do so to venture further into this budding literature. Secondary school teachers interested in conveying the essence of village life will find the stories by Ama Ata Aidoo, Tayeb Salieh, and Mtutuzeli Mubitana most useful while writings imbued with political symbolism are found in the works of Alex La Guma and Mango Tshabangu, among others. A few stories have topics or language that may be considered inappropriate for some audiences, namely I. N. C. Aniebo's tale about the stigma of incest and Dambudzo Marechera's caustic look at the social effects of Zimbabwe's prolonged colonial rule. Why the editor adopted the title of Bessie Head's short story for the book's title is not explained; furthermore, the book suffers from an abundance of typographical errors. It is also important to note, however, that contributions by women amount to one-fifth of the total, a welcome increase compared to earlier anthologies. In all, this anthology brings together a collection of classic stories at affordable prices and without the interference of scholarly editorializing. (Scott Siverson)

    AUTHOR: OLALEYE, ISAAC TITLE: BITTER BANANAS Publisher: Boyds Mill Press Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: 14.95 ISBN: 1 56397 039 2

    Place Of Publication: Honesdale, PA Subjects: Africa/Fiction

    Review: Yusuf has a problem. He has been collecting palm sap to drink and to sell at the market, but now baboons are drinking the pone sap. Yusuf hacks away the trees near his palm tree and builds a scarecrow. This works for a while, but then, during a storm, the wind blows off the scarecrow's head, and the baboons are no longer afraid of the scarecrow. He then dresses up the gourd, into which he collects the sap, as a boy with a knit cap, but birds make off with the cap. Finally, he makes a bitter concoction of bananas and sap, and leaves it at the foot of the tree for all the baboons, their families, and their animal friends. After tasting the bitter bananas and sap, the baboons leave Yusuf's tree alone forever.
    Set in an unspecified rain forest somewhere in Africa, Nigerian-born poet Olaleye's original story features a refrain that invites reader participation. It is illustrated with Ed Young's bright, highly textured cut paper illustrations that attract the child from a distance and offer even more delights up close. This beautiful and well designed book works especially well as a read-aloud. (Lyn Miller-Lachmann)

    AUTHOR: ONYEFULU, IFEOMA TITLE: A IS FOR AFRICA Publisher: Dutton/Cobblehill Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: 14.99 ISBN: 0 525 65147 0

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Nigeria/Alphabet/West Africa

    Review: The author, a photographer of Igbo descent, focuses on the people and cultures of Nigeria in this alphabet book. Although she does show Muslim Nigerians (most likely of the Hausa people) and a variety of traditional activities, clothing, and ornaments from various cultures, her work has a rural bias. There are no cities pictured, and one comes away with the false impression that the modern world has had little impact upon the people of Nigeria and, by implication, upon the rest of the continent. At the same time, the photos are exquisite. They bring the subjects to life and complement the text well. Onyefulu's talent and her empathy with her subjects are evident. The text, as well as the brief explanatory note that precedes it, is clear, specific, and readable, and the book's layout adds to its accessibility and appeal. The author's inconsistent use of Moslem/Muslim may confuse, and while she avoids using the outdated and pejorative word "hut" (her "H" is for "houses"), she does use the similarly-regarded term "tribe." (Lyn Miller-Lachmann)

    AUTHOR: OSBORNE, JOHN TITLE: IF YOU WERE BORN IN NIGERIA Publisher: Troll Copyright: 1969 Type: Filmstrip Collation: 1 silent filmstrip Grade: P/E

    Subjects: Nigeria - Description and Travel/West Africa

    Review: The author never realizes his title in this filmstrip. The references are trite, generally without historical value, and provide little information. The filmstrip focuses on Azeke, a young boy who lives in rural Nigeria. A large segment of the filmstrip includes Azeke's trip to Lagos to help his father sell carvings. During this journey, unrelated topics are clumsily introduced. Discussions about slavery, colonialism, and the English language appear with no relationship to Azeke and his trip to Lagos. Moreover, slavery is discussed as though it was little more than a mistreatment of Africans by early Europeans. This small inconvenience appears to have been resolved, however, when "England stopped the slave trade and tried to help the Nigerians." The effort to introduce Islam is equally as clumsy and shallow. Unnecessary references, for example, to where the Hausa and Fulani people live and the activities of Muslim women weaken an already faulty filmstrip. The illustrations are extremely poor. Finally, the captioned, silent format makes this dated offering quite unappealing. (Robert Cummings)

    AUTHOR: O'TOOLE, THOMAS TITLE: BOTSWANA IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $11.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1856-2

    Subjects: Botswana/Southern Africa

    Review: Like other books in Lerner'sVisual Geography series, this title is an accessible introduction to the geography, history, culture, contemporary economics and politics of Botswana. Unlike many texts, the treatment of pre-colonial history and cultures of San, Khoi-Khoi, and Batswana, is relatively error free and, very importantly, does not reinforce preexisting stereotypes/negative stereotypes of traditional African society/culture. For example, the text uses the preferred terms San and Khoi-Khoi and not the negative European ethnonyms "Bushmen" and "Hottentots." Relatedly, the book identifies linguistic-social groups as ethnic groups and not by the pejorative "tribe." There are however a few examples in the narrative of resorting to over-generalized concepts. For example, the text (p. 20) refers to "uncomplicated social and political structures," and the caption under a photograph of an independent church meeting (p. 43) identifies the religious organization as a "sect" instead of as a church. In its treatment of contemporary Botswana the book does not shy away from socioeconomic problems, but deals with these issues and current Botswana in a straight-forward generally accurate manner. It is noteworthy that the photographs do not accentuate "weird and funny" customs as is the case in so many books, but the quality of some photos is only fair. The maps are too few and not very comprehensive. (John Metzler)

    AUTHOR: O'TOOLE, THOMAS TITLE: MALI IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $11.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1869-4

    Subjects: Mali/West Africa

    Review: This is a photobook of mixed quality. For example, the cover photo has distortions resulting in elongation of some figures, thus diminishing the contextual reality of this introductory visual image of Mali. The author presents Mali as though it is a culture of the past, devoid of the dynamic of change characteristic of all societies. The overall tone of the book is very archeological, in other words, a culture of the long ago past being reconstructed. Nonetheless, there is one abbreviated half page on the modern government, however, very little of the internal dynamism of the society is conveyed in this presentation. There is little mention of the small and potentially more viable corps of professional and technical Malians serving their country. The small group of elite is negatively described asone that "carefully guards its political power to ensure that the nation's imbalanced distribution of wealth and power remain unchanged." Although this political position of the elite is not defensible, care should be taken in conveying an impression that the political position of an African elite is fundamentally different from that of an elite group in a vast number of today's societies. This book falls in the category of presenting an African society as "different from" rather than "part of" the continuum of today's diversity of societies. Mali is basically a rural and agricultural society, however, there is an increasingly large urban population which is not presented with any sharpness of clarity. Photos are overwhelmingly of rural and pastoral scenes and even the discussion of the largest city in Mali is introduced by a rural scene outside the city showing laundry laid out to dry on the ground. (Therea Ware)

    AUTHOR: OWOO, IFE NII TITLE: A IS FOR AFRICA: LOOKING AT AFRICA THROUGH THE ALPHABET Publisher: Africa World Press Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0-86543-182-5 Price (pap): $5.95 ISBN (pap): 0-86543-183-3

    Subjects: Africa - Description and travel/Alphabet books

    Review: In the late 1960s, Jean Carey Bond authored an excellent alphabet book entitled, A is for Africa. Owoo's 1991 title with the same name is similar in format and content. He ably meets his objective of showing Africa "through its own history and culture." Through letters in the alphabet, important events in African history are highlighted and links are made with Africans in the Americas. Also represented in the alphabet are typical household objects, food stuffs, animals, and people doing various activities. Any continental overview of Africa is bound to be highly selective, yet the author provides enough variety to avoid the stereotypes of Africa commonly seen. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: PAMPALLIS, JOHN TITLE: FOUNDATIONS OF THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Zed / Humanities (dist.) Copyright: 1991 Type: Textbook Collation: 327 pp. Grade: YA Price: $49.95 (cloth) ISBN: 1-85649-004-1 Price (pap): $15.00 ISBN (pap): 1-85649-005-X

    Subjects: South Africa/History

    Review: This book was originally produced for the ANC's Solomon Manhalangu Freedom School in Tanzania, where Pampallis taught for a time. The starting point for his history is the late 19th century, when African societies were resisting European expansion and [when] mineral discoveries -- gold and diamonds -- were transforming the economic landscape. He ends his discussion in February 1990, with the unbanning of black opposition movements and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. Pampallis' book differs from most South African histories by giving considerable emphasis to black political and working class movements. The ANC is highlighted to the neglect of rival political groups. Each of the 20 chapters has questions for class discussions. Written in very readable prose and incorporating the latest research on South African history, this history could be used by high school students, but it may be too detailed in places for American students. However, individual chapters could be assigned to students. (Robert Edgar)

    AUTHOR: PARRIS, RONALD TITLE: RENDILLE Publisher: Rosen Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: M

    ISBN: 0 8239 1763 0

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: East Africa/Kenya/Rendille

    Review: Each volume in The Heritage Library of African Peoples is about the environment, subsistence, social relationships, customs, beliefs and social and technical change in one ethnic group. There is a map of Africa at the beginning, which is not up-to-date, and numerous black and white and color photographs, some of which are not integrated with the text, which is divided into 6 or 7 chapters, each with short, titled sub-sections. The author of Rendille is a sociologist from Barbados, who has worked for UNESCO and teaches in the U.S. In contrast to the other volumes on Kenya in the series, this one includes no photographs of modernity, focuses almost solely on males, and does not express any optimism about the future in the final chapter. Chapters focus on adaptation to the environment in Kenya, (the Rendille also live in Somalia and Ethiopia); "traditional" social organization; daily life (it is difficult to tell whether it is "traditional" or contemporary, even though the present tense is used); life cycle and death ceremonies (information about supernatural powers, rain ceremonies, and customs shared with neighboring peoples is included in the section on death, although it is not related to death); European contacts from the late 19th century to early post-independence period; and social changes related to environmental factors, colonial and Kenyan governments (the colonial changes logically belong in the chapters on European contacts). The word "hut" is used unnecessarily to describe dwellings, and terms such as "age-grades," "age-set" and "bridewealth" are defined specifically to the Rendille in the glossary, rather than generically. The sources for further reading are a mixture of books for children and adults; two in the section of "challenging reading" are inaccurate and biased sources. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: PATON, JONATHAN TITLE: THE LAND AND PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Lippincott Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 288 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $14.89 ISBN: 0-397-32362-X

    Subjects: South Africa/History/Southern Africa

    Review: The first thing that strikes me about this book is the cover jacket. At the back it adorns the so-called official flag of South Africa: gold, yellow and blue, and inserted in the middle of the white stripe, the British flag and the two Boer flags of the Orange and Transvaal Republics. The book itself is divided into 18 chapters covering "every aspect" of South African history from 1652, when white colonization and dispossession began, to the present as well as some speculation about the future. The author says South Africa is characterized by marks of colonialism, but he also argues it would be unfair to compare it with colonies of Africa. The Europeans are said to have gone to Ghana, Nigeria, and other countries to rule not to settle. The five million whites who live in the Republic of South Africa, on the other hand, are not colonists who plan to return to Europe. They are descended from the Dutch, who first arrived in 1652, and other Europeans. This, of course, is a distortion of history. Indeed, no serious scholar ever compares South Africa to Ghana or Nigeria. South Africa belongs to what historically were called colonies of settlement in the Roman sense, where indigenous people were either killed off or marginalized to such an extent that they could not threaten white settlers. Ghana, etc. belong to what are called colonies of exploitation. The crux of South Africa's problem is that whilst Europeans wanted it to be a "white-man's country" a la Australia, Canada and New Zealand, Africans were too important as labor power to be subjected to genocide. For all its attempts to be fair, and objective, the book repeats the same white mythologies and is a classic case of putting old wine into new bottles. In the absence of anything better, I suppose it will do for high schools, but with a great deal of explaining. (Bernard Magubane)

    AUTHOR: PINNOCK, PATRICIA SCHONSTEIN TITLE: OUMA'S AUTUMN Publisher: African Sun Press, Address: P.O. Box 2091, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 55 pp. Grade: E/M/H

    Price (pap): R38.99 ISBN (pap): 1 874915 04 0 Place Of Publication: Grahamstown South Africa Subjects: South Africa/Fiction/District Six/Harfield Village

    Review: In 1950, the apartheid government in South Africa passed the Group Areas Act. This law mandated segregated communities for different "racial" groups in South Africa. Within the space of a few years the inhabitants of multi-ethnic communities were dispersed and placed in racially-identified neighborhoods. Whole communities of black people were uprooted and the homes of the people sold or rented to whites. This novel recreates the Cape Town communities of District Six and Harfield Village and describes the agonizing dissolution of these once vibrant societies. The title of the novel is taken from the Afrikaans' word for grandmother and it is Ouma's life that provides the continuing thread in this book. Ouma's granddaughter is the narrator. She introduces us to her grandmother as a young girl full of love and energy. The novel closes with her grandmother's death: She turned her head slowly against the pillow and looked at me. Her eyes were deep and still full of stories to tell me, and only later, when I was grown up with children of my own did I realise that there has been a lot of pain in my Ouma's life, but that she had never let winter fall on her. Sandwiched between the beginning and end of Ouma's life are snippets of lives of many people. We meet poor immigrant whites from Russia and Greece who come to South Africa and make their way to financial security. We watch young men of color go off to World War II and return maimed in body and spirit. We also see the violence and sadness that sprout forth in black communities as unemployment and discrimination take their toll. Absentee white landlords and greedy real estates agents are clear villains, but individual whites try in various ways to blunt the impact of forced removals. Black and white photographs of real people impart a sense of reality and time. Teachers can use this novel to draw many parallels between life in South Africa and the United States. Jim Crow laws in the U.S., for example, had many of the same results as the Group Areas Act. This is a skillfully written story with memorable characters and haunting moods. There are no striking examples of overt resistance to forced removals rather the focus is on the toll state actions take on individual lives. One should pair the book with The Middle of Somewhere so that students can learn the different ways South Africans responded to apartheid. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: PORTER, A. P. TITLE: KWANZAA Publisher: Carolrhoda Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 56 pp. Grade: P Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-87614-688-X Price (pap): $5.95 ISBN (pap): 0-87614-545-4

    Subjects: African Americans/Holidays/Kwanzaa/Diaspora

    Review: Kwanzaa is an African American holiday with roots in both African and African American experiences. This book focuses primarily on the African American roots, particularly slavery. It also provides information on Kwanzaa symbols, ceremonies and principles. The illustrations are colorful and expressive. The text is easy to read. There are some problems. Discussions about slavery, Marcus Garvey and Kwanzaa are intermingled at odd moments creating mild confusion. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: POTENZA, EMILIA TITLE: THE BROKEN STRING: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO SOUTHERN AFRICAN HISTORY Publisher: Maskew Miller Longman, Address: Howard Drive, Pinelands, Cape Town, South Africa Copyright: 1992 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 146 pp. Grade: M/H

    ISBN (pap): 0 636 01919 5 Place Of Publication: Cape Town, South Africa Subjects: South Africa/History/San/Khoikhoi/Bantu-speaking people/Oorlams/Tswana/Basotho

    Review: Most South African children have been taught versions of history that distort or neglect African history and justify European control of South African land and political power. This student activity book corrects these distortions through lessons on archaelogical evidence, oral literature and history, primary source documents, and secondary historical accounts. The corrective data is provided in through activities that allow students to work together and interact with the information. The book begins with human origins in Africa and then focuses on specific South African groups, including the !Kung San people of contemporary Namibia- Botswana, the Khoikhoi of the western Cape, early Bantu-speaking farmers, the Tswana and Oorlams in the 1800s, and the Basotho under King Moshoeshoe. The emphasis is on the history of settlement, the economic organization of these societies and their political interactions with other groups, including the Dutch and English settlers. Succinct and well organized, the book is an excellent means of introducing students to South African history. It is based on solid research and more recent interpretations of the past. One wishes, however, that in addition to the contemporary information on the San people, the author had used excerpts from the rich resources on San people living during the colonial period. A teacher's guide for the activity book is available. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: PRATT, PAULA BRYANT TITLE: THE END OF APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA Publisher: Lucent Books Copyright: 1995 Type: Book Collation: 128 pp. Grade: M/H Rating: A

    ISBN: 1 56006 170 7

    Place Of Publication: San Diego Subjects: South Africa - Politics and government/Apartheid

    Review: This book provides much: an up-to-date history of South Africa accompanied by photographs on almost every page to bring the text alive. The book opens with a chapter on apartheid structures, then continues with a history of South Africa, moves on to a history of resistance, including international sanctions, and concludes with a look at the negotiated settlement and the elections. However, errors of fact and interpretations recur. (For example, the Khoikhoi and San were not originally farmers; There is no language called "Bantu"; Strijdom was not Prime Minister in the 1980s; Chris Hani is not an "ex-ANC leader;" the ANC's military wing, the Spear of the Nation, did not disband in 1963.) In the arena of interpretation, few analysts today would agree with the text that apartheid is principally the result of Afrikaner suffering during the Boer War or that the British abolished slavery in South Africa to "curry favor" with Africans; and many if not most analysts would question the conclusion that international sanctions did more harm than good. Teachers can supplement the weaker sections of book with Neil Parson's solid history, A New History of Southern Africa and for a different perspective of the sanctions issue, the prize-winning Apartheid Calibrations of Color published by Rosen. (Barbara Brown)

    AUTHOR: PRICE, LEONTYNE TITLE: AIDA Publisher: Harcourt Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: E/M Price: $16.95 ISBN: 0-15-200405-X

    Subjects: Music/Ethiopia/East Africa/North Africa

    Review: This is one of the best books set in Africa that I have encountered. It treats the universal concepts of patriotism, love, and the conflict of loyalty resulting therefrom in simple and beautiful language. The plot is so well constructed and presented that, in spite of its familiarity, there is a desire to read it again and again. Here are two persons from two warring nations, patriotic to the core to their own countries and yet willing to give up their lives for the sake of love. The theme transcends love and brings to the fore the questions of devotion and courage which are so necessary for human existence. Lavishly illustrated with colorful scenes, it is the kind of book that will appeal not only to children of African descent but to all humanity. (Ekpo Eyo)

    TITLE: READER'S DIGEST CHILDREN'S WORLD ATLAS Publisher: Reader's Digest Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 128 pp. Grade: P/E

    ISBN: 0-89577-388-0

    Subjects: Atlases/Multicultural education

    Review: Africa is given short shrift in this world atlas. Europe, for example, is allotted 28 pages. Africa, the world's second largest continent, is covered in only eight. Also, individual European countries are highlighted; Africa is simply divided into three regions. Incredibly, the vast areas of West, Central and East Africa are lumped together and discussed in two pages. A few facts, highly selective and often stereotypical, are provided for each of the three regions. Not recommended. (Brenda Randolph)


    Price (pap): $18.95

    Subjects: Nigerian literature/Study and teaching/West Africa/Chinua Achebe/Buchi Emecheta

    Review: This handbook blends the work of two important Nigerian writers (Emecheta and Achebe) with historical and cultural background notes to provide teachers with a complete unit. It could be used as either a social studies unit on Nigeria or as a unit on African literature. Novel excerpts, handouts, and worksheets are included in the handbook. Portions of the book could stand alone as short units -- for example, those on proverbs and colonial history. The excerpts are well chosen and it is well-organized. (Carol Spindel)

    AUTHOR: ROBERTS, JACK TITLE: NELSON MANDELA : DETERMINED TO BE FREE Publisher: Millbrook Press Copyright: 1995 Type: Book

    Grade: P/E

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Nelson Mandela

    Review: The book, Nelson Mandela, tells the story of the South African leader's life from childhood through his inauguration as president. The reader learns about his rural childhood and schooling, his move to Johannesburg, where he married and became the leading organizer of the movement against apartheid. The reader then follows him through his trials and life in prison. The book ends with Mandela's release from prison and inauguration. The story of his life is well told; however, the related struggle against apartheid is weakly presented. Without an accurate story about the struggle, the biography alone loses much of its power. Because of the book's narrow focus on Mandela, the story of the movement against apartheid stops in 1962 when he enters prison. Thus, his release from prison in 1990 is seen not as it should be -- the result of a courageous (and painful) people's movement for democracy. Instead, the book presents his release as if people had focused their demands on his release alone. The book thus misses a great history lesson: that ordinary people, with gifted leaders, can win their rights, even in the face of overwhelming military and economic power. (Barbara Brown 1/96)

    AUTHOR: ROBINSON, EDWARD TITLE: SONGHAI PRINCESS Publisher: New Dawn Copyright: 1990 Type: Videotape

    Grade: E

    Subjects: West Africa/Folklore/Songhai - Folklore

    Review: This tale about the ancient West African kingdom of Songhai is innocuous enough and there are no jarring stereotypes. Unfortunately, the story owes more to European fairy tales than to African oral narratives. The plot is strikingly similar to that of "Sleeping Beauty." Moreover, carriages, violins, and canopied beds are part of Europe's material culture not West Africa's. Parents seeking diversion for their children may find this cartoon fare entertaining. Those seeking an authentic depiction of Songhai will be disappointed. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: ROCHMAN, HAZEL TITLE: SOMEHOW TENDERNESS SURVIVES Publisher: Harper and Row Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 147 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 0 06 025023 2 Price (pap): $3.25 ISBN (pap): 0 06 447063 6

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: This book is a collection of short stories on life in South Africa. Even though it includes representations of black, "colored," and white characters and thus tends to account for the variety of South African population, it should be handled with caution. The title is quite misleading and inaccurate. Most of the stories convey no sense of hope or tenderness whatsoever. The young reader may often be left with a feeling of helplessness and despair. The stories do not leave space for resolution, mutual understanding or solidarity. Most of the black characters, especially the adult ones, are portrayed as helpless victims unable to sustain one another or their families, or to display their power of resistance. The selection of stories should have been more balanced; it would have compensated for the sense of fatality and helplessness that permeates the whole book. I rate this collection advisory. It should be used with care with young adults. (Andree-Anne Kekeh)

    AUTHOR: ROHR, JANELLE TITLE: PROBLEMS OF AFRICA, OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS Publisher: Greenhaven / Social Studies School Services Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 175 pp. Grade: H

    ISBN: 0-89908-365-X Price (pap): $7.95

    Subjects: Africa - History

    Review: This is a biased compilation of sources only on Sub-Saharan Africa that reinforces stereotypes about Africa. Newspaper, magazine and other popular articles are arranged in five chapters on the causes of Africa's problems, superpower influence in Africa, famine, apartheid, and South Africa. Few African viewpoints are expressed. The coverage of African countries as examples is not representative. The focus of the entire volume, including the questions for students, is negative. There are errors of conceptualization and fact in some of the editor's chapter introductions. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: RUPERT, JANET TITLE: THE AFRICAN MASK Publisher: Clarion Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 125 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0 395 67295 3

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Nigeria/Historical fiction/Yoruba/Ife

    Review: African Mask tells a story about the Yoruba and makes lucid descriptions of their culture through the adventures of a girl, Layo, who grew up in the village of Abiri and came to the city of Ife with her grandmother. The one hundred and twenty-five page story book consists of twelve chapters. in each chapter, the twelve year-old Layo is used as a 'mask' to reveal different facets of Yoruba traditions and culture. This young girl, talented in pottery-making and with a passion to become a great potter like her grandmother, is the main character of the story. The dominant theme which the book illustrates is traditional family life and marriage institution among the Yoruba, pointing out some of the features of polygynous family life, and division of labor based on gender and age. Through the world of Layo's grandmother, we also know of the Yoruba respect for old age and the high value attached to hard work and skill. The important place of Ifa, the god of divinity, in decision-making among the Yoruba is also coherently presented although in a simplified fashion. For example, the decision of Layo's parents to allow her to go to Ife was based on the approval of the Ifa oracle. Success and progress are exalted and appreciated but boastful attitude is highly abhorred. Modesty is therefore considered a point of emphasis in the African Mask. One of the enriching qualities of the book is that it takes on the role of social commentator at convenient stages of the story. In pages, 46, 52, 56, and 104-106, the author examines the traditional practice of 'slave' ownership in ancient Yoruba society. The difference in the concept and practice between the Yoruba situation and the later practice of slavery on the other side of the Atlantic is perhaps the reason the author prefers to use the Yoruba word 'eru' rather than the literal and inadequate translation in English- language, 'slave.' Moreover, in a subtle and sensitive manner, the positive and negative aspects of polygyny are examined. Lack of pictures in the book is compensated for by the explicit and dramatic descriptions of places and events by the author. With Layo and her cousin, the reader is taken on a historical excursion around Ife with visits to the monumental palace of the king, the market and the Oranyan staff. We also learn of the techniques of bronze-casting by the 'lost-wax' method. The highlight of the concluding chapter is the dramatic description of the judicial system of the Yoruba which is shown to be of three hierarchical levels. In ascending order, they are the family compound, the quarter, and the city, respectively presided over by the compound head, the quarter chief, and the Oba (king). The pageantry of the kingship institution is also vividly described. African Mask is set in the context of Yoruba historical and cultural reality which dates to the beginning of this millennium. The story is, however, not restricted to the historical past, it adequately reflects the present. Abiri is real, it is a flourishing village about twenty-five kilometers from Ife. Ile-Ife, the proper and full name of the city, has grown beyond its ancient walls and has been the home of a modern university in southwest Nigeria for the past 30 years. Yet, Ife maintains its traditional aura as the center of the Yoruba world and place of origins of their civilization. The Oranyan staff is still standing; Ita Yemoo compound is still existing; the grandeur of the palace and its arts continues to be an enigma to visitors and the indigenes alike. Families of artists who practiced arts and crafts 1000 years ago continue to carry on the tradition. In these and other ways, Janet Rupert weaves the fabrics of the 8th and 20th century Yoruba culture together as a continuum of adaptive and manipulative entity. The story of Layo, her ambitions, and her concerns about marriage will also find many parallels in the lives of many present Yoruba young women. The organization of the book is superb. The arrangement of themes in each chapter and the style of writing make the book adaptable for stage-plays. This book will be of optimal use in the classrooms if students act out different portions. It is a splendid medium to learn in a simple way, many facets of Yoruba culture. For middle school pupils, teachers and adults, who are new to Yoruba studies, it is a doorway which will lead to further inquiries on many aspects of Yoruba culture: dancing and music, folklore and history, divinity, the institution of eru and pawnship, the political system, arts and crafts, poems, the belief system and religion, the family system and polygyny, residential patterns, the place of women in society and above all, the history of origins of the Yoruba. These and many other themes are skillfully narrated in simple words. That the author could open so many windows into Yoruba culture within such a short novel is an important achievement. What is much more amazing is that she does it so well. As a Yoruba and student of Yoruba studies, I find the book to be a realistic reflection of Yoruba culture and lifeways. I therefore strongly recommend the book for use in schools. It is an outstanding contribution to the expansion of the frontiers of African Studies in America. Janet Rupert is to be commended for a job well done, particularly considering that before writing this book, she had never lived within a Yoruba cultural area. (Akinwumi Ogundiran 5/1995)

    AUTHOR: SABUDA, ROBERT TITLE: TUTANKHAMUN'S GIFT Publisher: Atheneum Copyright: 1994 Type: Book Collation: 29 pp. Grade: P/E

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: Egypt/Fiction/North Africa

    Review: This is a children's story about the life of an Egyptian king, Tutankhamun, who came to the throne at a young age, after the short-lived religious revolution of his predecessor. The theme is that of a lonely young boy, puzzled and upset by the changes he lives through, who finds after his brother's death that his true purpose in life is to lead his people back to the traditional religion and to restore his country's greatness, a task which his youth and innocence makes possible. This is a delightful little book, with lots of clever illustrations to interest a small child in the history of Egypt. All the pages are very realistically printed to look like papyrus (ancient Egyptian paper), and the illustrations are done in blocks of color outlined in black like a stained-glass window. The author's two orange cats appear in each illustration (sometimes subtly, as part of jewelry, or simply the tip of a tail going over the wall), which would make it a great book to read to a child. The story deals with a very controversial period of Egyptian history, the reign of the pharaoh Akhenaton. Some scholars see Akhenaton as a heretic king who attacked the old religious traditions and lost the Egyptian empire because of his own psychological instability, while others argue that he was a great religious thinker and writer, the first true monotheist in history. This book clearly takes the former position, and concentrates on Akhenaton's destruction of monuments to the gods (vividly and realistically depicted), including those of his own father. Some of these issues, as well as the later life of Tutankhamun and an allusion to his spectacular tomb, are treated in an author's note following the text. The author also follows the interpretations of Cyril Aldred, in assuming that Akhenaton had a long co-regency with his father and a relatively short independent reign. Other scholars have argued that the co-regency was short, and that Akhenaton reigned alone for about 16 years, so that Tutankhamun would have been his son, rather than his younger brother. Another way of solving this dilemma has been suggested by recent reexamination of Tutankhamun's mummy, which has raised the possibility that he was older at his death than had previously been thought (as much as 27 years old, which would have made him 18 at his accession, rather than 9.) However, Aldred's interpretation is still a possibility. One slight improbability is the assumption that Tutankhamun walked home alone from school to the palace each day, which allowed him to observe the building of temples. In fact, school was almost certainly held in the palace, and in any case it would be unlikely that a son of pharaoh, however insignificant, would be allowed to walk and loiter unaccompanied. But it makes a good story. The conclusion that "Evil is best seen through the eyes of a child. Only the young can banish it and cause the truth to flower once more." strikes me as at least as an exaggeration, and quite questionable historically. In fact, during the early part of his reign at least, Tutankhamun was probably a puppet of various political factions controlling the throne, and as a result, he wasn't very well remembered by later generations (which is why his tomb survived almost intact). But it is a possibility. The illustrations are very well researched, with Egyptian art, architecture, landscape, plants and animals, and clothing styles accurately rendered. A fire drill found in Tutankhamun's tomb is even shown in one of the illustrations. The only real inaccuracy is the scene of the burial of the old king, Tutankhamun's father, which depicts a rather fanciful rendering of a non-royal tomb of a slightly later period as shown in the National Geographic "Daily Life in Ancient Egypt" series from the 1950s. (Ann Macy Roth 6/95)

    AUTHOR: SACKS, MARGARET TITLE: BEYOND SAFE BOUNDARIES Publisher: Dutton/Lodestar Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 160 pp. Grade: M/H Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0 5 25 67281 8 Price (pap): $3.95 ISBN (pap): 0 14 034407 1

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: The main theme of this book is a young white Jewish girl's effort to "find herself" (her sexual fantasies, clothes, popularity). However, the sub-theme, racial conflict, impinges on the main theme like a persistent heckler. The heckler symbolizes Africans, who must be addressed squarely for they will not go away. The book relies on stereotypes, mainly of Africans. Household workers are either lazy, gossipy, promiscuous, or unquestionably bootlicking. The only concession the protagonist makes toward attributing intelligence to a black person is in the case of Willie, an African of mixed ancestry, a so-called colored. The book is full of subliminal and prejudicial materials which, in the context of the fluid racial situation in the U.S., can only exacerbate perceptions of racial superiority and inferiority. (Bheki Langa)

    Review 2: Virtually every ethnic group in South Africa is depicted in negative and stereotypical ways in this novel. Only English-speaking South Africans escape the author's biased-ladened pen. The story revolves around mundane issues in a young Jewish girl's life. The author attempts to weave issues of wider import into the fabric of the girl's life but these efforts fail. Much of the story focuses on problems white madams have with their African servants. A crude, unsophisticated lot, they laugh at inappropriate times, hang out with hoodlums, get pregnant out of wedlock, and make booze in the madam's backyard. The major resistance leader in the book is a mixed person whose "colored" father is a lush who can't be trusted with his own paycheck. This work adds little to a reader's understanding of South Africa and distorts much. (Brenda Randolph)

    Review 3: Beyond Safe Boundaries fails on two counts: as a work of fiction it falls far short of contributing to the body of literature for young adults, nor does it illuminate the problems of race relations in South Africa. On the contrary, it perpetuates stereotypes about certain ethnic groups in that country, for example, that most "coloreds" have a drinking problem, and that African girls have natural rhythm. I would not recommend this book for any public library or school. (Katherine Thuermer)

    AUTHOR: SANSERVERE - DREHER, DIANE TITLE: STEPHEN BIKO Publisher: Bantam Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 102 pp. Grade: P/E

    Price (pap): $3.50

    Subjects: Biography/South Africa/Stephen Biko/Southern Africa

    Review: This biography of Stephen Biko makes his life accessible to students too young to tackle Donald Woods' Biko. The facts of Biko's life are presented accurately, albeit in a rather dry and impersonal fashion. The author wisely avoids red-baiting and does a good job of exposing myths and half-truths promoted by the apartheid government. Sanservere-Dreher extends her study beyond Biko's death to the present. The book covers the release of Nelson Mandela, the trial of Winnie Mandela, and recent uprisings in black areas. Unfortunately, the author's analysis of the problems between the ANC and Inkatha is weak and incomplete. She fails, for example, to explore the role of whites in fomenting violence. Rather she depicts President F.W. De Klerk as an honest broker who is disappointed in Mandela's failure to "put a stop to the fighting" (p. 88). The most problematic part of the book, however, occurs in the first chapter on South African history. The author is totally unfamiliar with this history. Pastoralism began in South Africa approximately 2,000 years ago not 15,000 years ago (indeed, a date of 10,000 B.P. is typically given for pastoralism world-wide). She is also unfamiliar with the various South African ethnic groups. She erroneously identifies the Nguni as a group separate from the Xhosa and Zulu (the Xhosa and Zulu are both Nguni groups). Most troublesome is her distortion of relations between groups. She resurrects the long dead theory that the "Bantu" annihilated the Khoisan and she recounts the myth of Boer invincibility in the face of African resistance. Her use of terminology is outdated and at times offensive. "Hut," "tribe," "native," and "Bantu" are all unacceptable. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: SCHERMBRUCKER, REVIVA TITLE: CHARLIE'S HOUSE Publisher: Viking / Penguin Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $13.95 ISBN: 06-70-84024-6

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: Charlie's House is an interestingly written and illustrated children's tale. Charlie Mogotsi is an ambitious little boy in the South African township of Gugulethu. He takes a keen interest in watching workers construct his family's shelter. Later, after hearing his mother's complaints about the shoddy work of the builders, Charlie builds his own conception of a family house. Out of waste material such as match boxes, soda bottles, tops, feathers, straws and milk cartons he builds the house of his dreams. His creative and imaginative structure far exceeds the humble designs of his family's inadequate shelter. This story provides an excellent introduction to the imaginative utilization of everyday refuse. It would be great for units on ecology. (Nenzi Plaatjies)

    AUTHOR: SCOONES, SIMON TITLE: THE SAHARA AND ITS PEOPLE Publisher: Thomson Learning Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $15.95 ISBN: 1-56847-088-6

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: North Africa/Sahel/West Africa

    Review: This volume integrates text and illustrations, including maps, diagrams and photographs, to show the diversity of life in the Sahara today. Historical information about the environment and people is included, along with assessments of recent large and small scale development projects. Chapters cover the natural environment, trade, cash crops, mineral industries, desertification, large and small development projects and current problems and their potential solutions in the near future. The photographs with short informative captions are integrated with the text, and diagrams explain simply such processes as the causes of desertification and how to "save soil," e.g. prevent erosion. The book is balanced in its geographic coverage and in presenting positive and negative aspects of topics and problems discussed. Small maps, which lack detail, situate the Sahara within Africa and the world and locate physical features and trade routes discussed in the text. The text is clear and straightforward; the glossary provides short, simple definitions. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: SEED, JENNY TITLE: NTOMBI'S SONG Publisher: Raven/Farrar, Strauss and Giroux Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-8070-8318-6

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: Ntombi's Song is a simple narrative about Ntombi, a six year old girl from kwaZulu, South Africa, who is running an errand for her mother. A speeding bus causes Ntombi to spill her mother's sugar. Fearful of failure but determined to accomplish her assigned task, Ntombi finds a way to earn money to buy more sugar. Seeds is to be commended for her use of African literary devices in the story. She utilizes metaphors, repetition, parallelism and the core cliche. Unfortunately, her knowledge of Zulu culture and the language of the rural idiom is rather superficial. Of particularly concern is Seed's use of the core cliche. The core cliche is a repetitive chant or song African storytellers use at critical moments to push the plot forward. The content of the song should be fashioned to complement and reveal the plot as the story develops. In Ntombi's Song, the core-image is the commonly known lullaby, Thula mntwana. Seeds weaves this lullaby throughout the story. Yet,Thula mntwana is an inappropriate song for the core cliche in this story. At the age of six, Ntombi is moving through an important rite of passage. No longer treated as a baby, she has been given the responsibility of running errands for her mother. It is unlikely that this grown-up Ntombi would sing a childish lullaby. Instead, she would choose a song that would bolster her courage. Another problem in the story is Isiququmadevu. In Nguni? mythology Isiququmadevu is a mythical monster said to inhabit forests and sexually assault unwary females. He is evoked to restrain children from wandering in the woods alone. In this tale he is portrayed as merely superstitious nonsense. More/Most troublesome is the resolution of the story's central conflict. Ntombi is able to complete her task through the intervention of a tourist benefactor. By dancing and singing for white tourists, Ntombi earns the funds she needs to replace the sugar she has spilled. Thus at the tender age of six, Ntombi is learning to use her indigenous dance form and song as a commodity. The most successful aspect of the story is Ntombi's interaction with Zanele, an older girl Ntombi admires. (Nenzi Plaatjies))

    AUTHOR: SHILLINGTON, KEVIN TITLE: HISTORY OF SOUTHERN AFRICA Publisher: Longman Copyright: 1987 Type: Textbook Collation: 202 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): $17.95 ISBN (pap): 0 582 58521 X

    Subjects: History/Southern Africa

    Review: This textbook was written for African and British high school students studying for School Certificate ("O" level) examinations but it will be quite useful for secondary American students and their teachers. It is a much more balanced and inclusive textbook than N.E. Davis' A History of Southern Africa or Jonathan Paton's The Land and People of South Africa. Unlike these Eurocentric works, Shillington gives significant attention to African societies before European settlement and he is careful to provide information on African actions and perspectives following European settlement. Indeed, Shillington keeps the majority population squarely in focus throughout this work. It is a relief to find a text that describes the efforts of Africans leaders who are overlooked or ignored in the more traditional southern African histories. The bulk of the book is devoted to history prior to World War II. Teachers searching for more contemporary history will have to turn to other sources. Information on countries in southern Africa is included but most of the attention is focused on South Africa. Each chapter includes review questions and enrichment activities. Shillington does not include as many primary source documents as Roberts does in A History of South Africa but his selections are well chosen. More than 50 maps are provided and there are numerous black-and-white photographs. Unfortunately some of the latter are really too small to show sufficient detail. The bibliography for students and teachers is quite good. On the whole, I rate this history several notches above the Roberts' work and comparable in many ways to Parson's excellent A New History of Southern Africa. Highly recommended. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: SILVER, NORMAN TITLE: PYTHON DANCE Publisher: Dutton Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 233 pp. Grade: H Price: $14.99 ISBN: 0 525 45161 7

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: This story, told in the first person by a 16 year old girl who lives in Johannesburg, is about the trials and tribulations of a white Jewish teenager who dislikes her stepfather, an "all-time bastard," and has difficulty getting her parents to accept her boyfriend, who is not Jewish. Most of the story is a litany of what is wrong with her stepfather, interspersed with flashbacks of happier times before her mother remarried after her father's death, and an account of her relationship with her boyfriend. The novel has little plot development and no character development. There are no apparent values that motivate the heroine's behavioror orient the plot. With exception of references to the Venda python dance for puberty, and a sequence in which univerisity students protest the treatment of blacks, the South African locale is incidental to the heroine's concern with her stepfather and boyfriend. (Nancy J. Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: SMITH, JUDY; NICHOLS, CAROLYN TITLE: LAND OF KUSH: STEP INTO THE PAST Publisher: In Step Productions Copyright: 1991 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 40 pp. Grade: T (E/M)

    Price (pap): $17.50

    Subjects: Kush/History/East Africa

    Review: This is a valuable teaching guide. It provides recommended resources, a vocabulary list, timeline, and a number of activities on ancient Kush. The guide was designed "to integrate the goals of the California History-Social Science framework in a usable program for teachers." It is also useful independently. There are five "Student Information" sections: Geography, Contributions, A Beginning History, and What Happened. The objectives for each lesson are clearly identified and can be met with the information given. The presentation of the information is good. The writing is simple and non-stereotypical. The guide has some minor problems that are easy to ignore. More difficult, however, are the five "Features of a Civilization." This approach is outmoded and Eurocentered. There are, for example, many highly organized societies that "lacked" a system of writing. The "social levels" feature is highly problematic, since a number of African and other world societies were characterized by inclusive communal orientations. One significant contribution of the guide is the enhanced attention given to the geography of the Nile Valley. "The People Along the Nile" map, however, is rather misleading. Little real information is provided about the peoples of Egypt and Nubia and nothing is said about groups living along the Upper Nile (present-day Sudan and Uganda). On the whole, however, the guide is accurate and informative. Recommended. (Robert Cummings)

    TITLE: SOUTH AFRICA: A LAND APART Publisher: Altschul Group (dist.) Copyright: 1992 Type: Videotape Collation: 30 min Grade: E/M/H

    Subjects: South Africa

    Review: This video is reminiscent of those made by South Africa's apartheid government. Tourist-like in format, it focuses on the country's geography, infrastructure, and productive capabilities. The short historical segment is Eurocentric. The focus is on Dutch and English settlers with the indigenous African people mentioned only in passing. Outmoded and pejorative terms-- Hottentot" and "Bushmen"-- are used to refer to the San and Khoikhoi people of South Africa and the term "Bantu" is mispronounced. Discussion of apartheid is superficial and limited to the final frames of the video. Incredibly only former prime minister, De Klerk is credited with ending apartheid. Years of resistance by black South Africans is overlooked. Not recommended. (Brenda Randolph)

    TITLE: SOWETO : CLASS OF '76 Publisher: Films for the Humanities and Sciences Copyright: 1993 Type: Video cassette

    Grade: M/H

    Place Of Publication: Monmouth Junction, NJ Subjects: South Africa/Apartheid

    Review: This video includes film footage of the student uprisings in South Africa in the 1970s. It begins and ends with the shooting of students in Soweto in 1976. Sandwiched between is a discussion of the issues that led to the revolt and clips of apartheid leaders, John Voster and Henrik Verwoerd. Interviews with opposition leaders are also included. The video will be useful for secondary students studying South Africa, authoritarian rule or civil rights. Footage of actual events and interviews with local leaders who understand the issues is a major plus. However, the narrator's use of terms such as "last week," and "yesterday" does give the film a somewhat dated quality. Recommended. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: SOYINKA, WOLE TITLE: AKE: THE YEARS OF CHILDHOOD Publisher: Random House Copyright: 1981 Type: Book Collation: 230 pp. Grade: YA

    Price (pap): $9.95 ISBN (pap): 0-679-72540-7

    Subjects: Biography/Nigeria/Wole Soyinka

    Review: This autobiography of Nigeria's Nobel laureate in literature, Wole Soyinka, describes the subject in intimate and humorous detail from a very early age to age eleven. Soyinka, a playwright, poet, novelist, teacher, and activist delights us with a remarkable memoir of his growing up in the urban Christian, Yoruba home of his parents in western Nigeria during the 1930s and 1940s. This book will be a classic in its genre and gives insight into life in contemporary Nigeria. For the non-specialist, it is a more accessible piece of literature than his novels and it is a good compliment to other African literature that gives readers a sense of rural community life. Soyinka brings to life his adventures and delights as a three year old, the vitality and busy life of the compound of a school headmaster, describes his siblings, extended family, and his parents (especially his mother, whom he refers to as "Wild Christian)." This very Nigerian autobiography provides memories so that readers can identify with the universal childhood experience. For teachers and advanced high school students. (Jo Sullivan)

    AUTHOR: STANLEY, DIANE TITLE: SHAKA: KING OF THE ZULUS Publisher: Morrow Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: E/M Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-688-07343-3

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Shaka

    Review: Shaka, the King of the Zulu is a legendary figure in the history of the people of South Africa and writing about him is no easy matter. His strength and his vision have inspired the works of many writers in Africa and elsewhere. He is compared with such figures as Charlemagne and Napoleon. To others, especially the apartheid rulers of South Africa, he represents the very epitome of evil. And recently a "spectacular" on Shaka was shown on American television. The whole series amounted to a gigantic farce. This beautifully illustrated book for children is a welcome departure from the calumny Shaka's childhood has been subjected to in the past. Shaka's difficult childhood, his achievements as youth and adult are not only placed in a proper historical context but are done with a great deal of empathy and understanding. Every African who has heard about Shaka and reads this book will find a lot to identify with. Reading the book and looking at the illustrations made me nostalgic about my country. Diane Stanley, who did the illustrations, captures the beautiful Natal scenery in her drawing. In the first illustration, we see Shaka crouching, with his stick crossing his thighs and modeling clay cows -- a pastime for young men herding cattle. In the distance we see an African homestead. Between Shaka and the homestead, is a multi-colored head of cattle grazing. This was a typical scene in my childhood. The only thing that is out of place are the sandals. The typical Zulu sandals have straps that run across the foot rather than straps between the toes. This is just a minor quibble. Shaka as portrayed here provides a positive hero for all children. (Bernard Magubane)

    AUTHOR: STANLEY, SANNA TITLE: THE RAINS ARE COMING Publisher: Morrow / Greenwillow Copyright: 1993 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.00 ISBN: 0-688-10949-7

    Subjects: Zaire/Fiction

    Review: This very simple story, set in a small village in Zaire, is based on the author's own childhood experience in that country. The central character is Aimee, a little American girl whose parents, like those of the author, are missionaries who have come to Zaire very recently to "train pastors and teachers." Aimee is seen and described preparing for her birthday "party" with her mother, then walking from house to house to invite her new Zairian friends. At each stop, her friends point to the darkening sky, express a need to "hurry" and repeat a phrase in the Kikongo language, "Zimvula zeti kwiza," which means "the rains are coming." The storm breaks, with lightening and thunder, just as everyone (including Aimee's father) arrives, so the party is moved indoors. The last picture shows the American family and their African guests peering out at the rain. In general, the relationship between Aimee and her family toward the Africans seems comfortable and unforced with a sense of mutual respect. While her Zairian friends speak both French and Kikongo. Aimee speaks only French so is now learning Kikongo also. One detail in the illustrations -- Aimee as well as her parents shown barefooted, like the Africans -- bears questioning. For reasons of rough terrain, unsanitary conditions and other unknown hazards, most foreigners, especially those newly arrived, -- not to mention Africans who can afford them -- would be more likely to wear shoes or sandals. As it is, the story and the pictures provide much information about daily life in the African village and the brewing storm gives a sense of drama. However, much more could be pointed out that would make it more interesting, e.g. the toy cars shown in several pictures which African children make themselves, names of fruits and trees (mangoes, papaya), animals (goats, pigs) shown in the pictures (but not easily identified). A pronunciation guide for the oft-repeated phrase, "Zimvula zeti kwiza" would be helpful. (Louise Crane)

    Review: The daughter of missionaries has been with them in Zaire for 4 months, but it has never rained. She is planning a party, sets the table, calls her friends who are working mending fish traps, repairing a roof and gardening, then has to take the party materials inside as a storm blows up and it rains. The story is simply told, using lots of dialogue and Kikongo names and a phrase defined in a note as "the rains are coming." The story is apparently based on an incident in the author's childhood in Zaire, but will it be meaningful to American children? The water colors by the author are in dark colors and do not make the people and village appear attractive. The illustrations accompany the text but are generic, rather than being specific to the Zaire flora and Kikongo house type and dress. Although the illustrations are intended to reingorce the text, they do not always do so specifically. For example, the fish trap looks like the mat on which the heronie is kneeling, and one cannot tell the difference between bowls and baskets. Manio is defined at the end of the story, but not mentioned in the story itself. (Nancy Schmidt)

    AUTHOR: STEELE, PHILIP TITLE: THE PEOPLE ATLAS Publisher: Oxford University Press Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E

    ISBN: 0-19-520846-3

    Subjects: Atlases/Multicultural education

    Review: In this 64-page cultural atlas, Africa is discussed in seven pages. This coverage is comparable to the coverage afforded other world areas but woefully inadequate. The information provided within the chapter on Africa is given in two ways: (1) a 10-paragraph text which discusses major geographical regions, and (2) a number of inserts with pictures which give brief facts, primarily about cultural groups. As one would expect (given the brevity of the volume) the information is highly selective. It is also stereotypical and at times misleading. For example, groups are highlighted such as the Maasai and San which are not typical of the people in their countries. Pejorative terms such as "tribe," "Pygmies," "Bushmen," "hut," and "bush" are used. In sum, while the book does provide some accurate information, it misinforms and misleads more than it educates. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: STELSON, CAREN TITLE: SAFARI Publisher: Carolrhoda Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 40 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $5.95 ISBN: 0-87614-324-9

    Subjects: Tanzania - Description and travel/East Africa

    Review: Safari presents a limited and distorted view of Tanzania. Wildlife and the Maasai are the only aspects of Tanzanian life that are featured. Students are informed that the Tanzanian government is trying to preserve Tanzanian wildlife but readers are never introduced to any Tanzanian game officials. The first page in the book conjures up Western stereotypes of Africa. Students are asked what they imagine when they hear the word Africa. The author then makes suggestions, "jungles," "snarling lions," "warriors hurling sharp spears?" When a smiling Maasai appears, the author suggests that "they don't look fierce at all." The author describes aspects of Maasai life including a description of Maasai houses as "dark and musty." Focusing on this small group and regurgitating Western perceptions of them distorts rather than informs. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: STEPTOE, JOHN TITLE: MUFARO'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS Publisher: Lothrop Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-688-04046-2

    Subjects: Zimbabwe/Fiction/Southern Africa

    Review: Steptoe's last offering before his untimely death in 1989 is an adaptation of a Xhosa tale from South Africa. Steptoe has changed the setting of the story from Xhosa land to old Zimbabwe and he used African Americans rather than southern Africans as the models for his illustrations. Despite these and other alterations, the story works well. As in the old tale, the focus is on sisters with opposite natures. One is kind and gentle, the other bad-tempered and selfish. Each hopes to be chosen by the king to be his wife. In addition to learning that good behavior is rewarded and ill deeds are punished, children soak up the atmosphere of rural and city life in an ancient African kingdom. The book can serve as a useful means of introducing children to the variety of architectural structures in ancient Zimbabwe. Thatched houses and massive stone structures are both featured in the illustrations. The drawings of buildings and people are detailed and stunningly realistic. Storytellers searching for a good read aloud will find this book ably fills the bill. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: STEWART, C.; CRUMMEY, DONALD; CRANE, LOUISE TITLE: RELIGIONS IN AFRICA Publisher: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Center for African Studies Copyright: 1984 Type: Curriculum guide Collation: 77 pp. Grade: T (E/M/H)

    Price (pap): $9.00

    Subjects: Religion - Study and teaching/Africa

    Review: This monograph of religions in Africa gives a brief but compact analysis of Africa's three main religions. Working on the assumption that, except for traditional African religion, both Islam and Christianity are foreign belief systems that now occupy a great number of African minds, the authors show this was the case. This work gives us many useful insights to the history, development and present status of each of the three religions. My only criticism is that the authors become inconsistent when they deal with the impact of traditional African religion and Christianity, on the one hand, and say practically nothing about Islam on the other. Besides this minor criticism, this is a significant addition to our body of knowledge about Africa's religious heritages. (Sulayman Nyang)

    AUTHOR: STEWART, GAIL TITLE: ETHIOPIA Publisher: Macmillan / Crestwood Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: M Price: $10.95 ISBN: 0-89686-602-5

    Place Of Publication: New York Subjects: East Africa/Ethiopia

    Review: "Tasarik is dying" is the first sentence of this children's book on Ethiopia. It sets the tone of sadness, anger, and desperation for a readership of middle school students. Written in 1990, Ethiopia was published in 1991, but does not include information about the overthrow of the Ethiopian government in May 1991. Descriptions of drought, famine, and refugee problems are followed by a very brief history of the country and a much longer examination of Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. Ethiopia's last emperor is credited with introducing some modernization measures, but he is blamed for policies and actions which led to the war with Eritrea, beginning in 1962, the continuation of Ethiopian feudalism and resulting poverty, and the often-brutal suppression of ethnic identity among the 70 ethnic groups within the country. A section entitled "The Worst Mistake of All" explains that the drought of 1972-4 resulted in the deaths of 200,000 to 500,000 people because, "Haile Selassie and his government did nothing to get food to those who were starving." He did nothing, according to Stewart, because "the emperor favored the wealthy" because "Haile Selassie did not care if certain areas [e.g. Tigre and Eritrea] suffered; because the Somali living in Ethiopia "had shown no loyalty to the government...[w]hether or not they starved to death made no difference to the emperor." Stewart's anger regarding the attempt to keep the famine a secret is evident. Food relief supplies were not distributed to those in need. Consequently, the emperor was deposed. The new head of state -- Lt. - Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam -- "has shown himself to be a tyrant far more cruel, many believe, than Haile Selassie." (Robert Hamilton)

    AUTHOR: STEWART, GAIL TITLE: LIBERIA Publisher: Dillon Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $11.95 ISBN: 0-89686-745-3

    Subjects: Liberia/West Africa

    Review: Most of this book focuses on the civil war in Liberia. Steward takes a sensational approach to events there, focusing on atrocities and resurrecting crude images of Africans as cannibals and practitioners of "voodoo." This book can serve only as an example of how not to write a country study. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: STEWART, JUDY TITLE: A FAMILY IN MOROCCO Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1986 Type: Book Collation: 30 pp. Grade: P/E Price: $8.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1664-0

    Subjects: Morocco/North Africa

    Review: Part of the same series as A Zulu Family, this book provides a good introduction to contemporary life in Morocco. Children follow 12 year-old Malaika Bakkali through a typical day in her hometown of Tangier, and travel with her to visit relatives in the country. For the most part, topics are handled in a balanced and sensitive way. The absence of material wealth and modern conveniences (e.g. indoor plumbing) is described but de-emphasized. Instead, attention is focused on the strength of the nuclear and extended family and the comfortable pace of Moroccan life. For Malaika's family and many others, there seems to be ample time to build social relations and attend to family concerns. Moreover, both urban and rural families seem to have a plentiful supply of food and other basic essentials. Information on overcrowded schools, unemployment, land scarcity, and drought is given but the primary focus is on the efforts of individuals and families to solve such problems. One drawback is the failure to discuss the war in Western Sahara. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: STEYN, H. P. TITLE: BUSHMEN OF THE KALAHARI Publisher: Rourke Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 48 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $10.95 ISBN: 0-86625-267-3

    Subjects: South Africa/San/Southern Africa

    Review: Although the author of this book uses the pejorative term "Bushmen" to refer to the San people of southern Africa, his discussion is informed and respectful of their hunting and gathering lifestyle. His approach is primarily anthropological, focusing on social grouping, growing up, marriage, food gathering, and religion. History is also included. He provides information on four major geographical groups, including San groups from the Drakensberg, southern Transvaal, northwestern Cape, and the Kalahari. Unfortunately the historical section is decidedly Eurocentric in approach. The author focuses on relationships between the San and Europeans and ignores San relations with the people who have had the most contact with them, Bantu-speaking people. The primary problem with the book, however, is the topic itself. Western observers and scholars have overemphasized the San. There is no need for another book that focuses on them exclusively. Rather, students need solid histories that encompass all the major groups in southern Africa. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: STOCK, CATHERINE TITLE: ARMIEN'S FISHING TRIP Publisher: Morrow Junior Books Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $13.95 ISBN: 0-688-08395-1

    Subjects: South Africa/Fiction

    Review: Catherine Stock has written a short but engaging children's story. This book is about childhood in an old fishing community of Cape Town, South Africa. It uses the experience of a boy visiting his aunt in Kalk Bay. The boy, Armien, meets old friends on his return to the place but decides, for the sake of adventure, to secretly join his uncle's fishing trip in the dark of night. He ultimately becomes the hero of the whole community by saving a crew member during a storm. The narrative is plain and focussed on the boy. But, it does provide a good sense of the ordinary pleasure of being a child in a working class setting. It also treats the elders -- the fishermen and parents -- graciously. While the text is somewhat sparse it does create an image of the persons and the place. In this it is helped by the lively and colorful narrative painting of the story. Characters and context are faithfully represented. In the short "preface," readers are given some data about Kalk Bay, including the fact that the area - traditionally inhabited by coloreds -- was once declared a "white group area" by the South African government. There is, therefore, a sad and true story before the actual story is told. Ms. Stock provides no racial or class stereotypes. Her book can be read to or by children from a variety of backgrounds. I would warmly recommend this book for any children's library. (Shamil Jeppie)

    TITLE: STRIKE: THE STORY OF A SOUTH AFRICAN BOY Publisher: AIMS Media/South African Broadcasting Corp. Copyright: 1988 Type: Videotape Collation: 19 min. Grade: P/E

    Place Of Publication: Chatsworth, CA Subjects: South Africa - Social life and customs

    Review: This video is a fascinating glimpse at sophisticated propaganda- making. The video is the story of a boy named "Strike," which might lead the viewer to assume that the story would have something to do with political activity in South Africa, where strikes have been frequent and overtly political in the last twenty years. However, the name seems only to be a name, though perhaps its function is to hook potential purchasers, looking for a children's video on apartheid. This video makes no direct or indirect references to apartheid -- either the old style version or the new one. The story is of a middle class black South African boy (and his sister) who travel from the city to visit their grandparents in the country. While there, they enjoy the country living (swimming) and do country chores, such as tending the goats. They even watch a little T.V., courtesy of a small generator their grandparents own! It's a nice easy going story ... that is out of touch with reality. Economically, almost no rural South Africans can afford two adjoining houses (with extra rooms for guests) or televisions. Politically, black South Africans, including children, continue to be oppressed by the white government, in sum, the video offers up a false reality. Only if you notice the initials S.A.B.C. and know that they stand for the South African Broadcasting Corporation will you be aware of the South African government's sponsorship of this production. My recommendation is that AIMS Media remove this video from distribution. Failing this, that AIMS Media include an advisory note to purchasers that this video was produced by the South African government. It is only fair to give viewers fair warning. (Barbara Brown)

    AUTHOR: SUTHERLAND, ELLYN TITLE: NIGERIA Publisher: Knowledge Unlimited Copyright: 1991 Type: Filmstrip Collation: 1 filmstrip, 1 cassette, guide Grade: E Price: $25.00 ISBN: 1-55933-039-2

    Subjects: Nigeria/West Africa

    Review: The American narrator of this filmstrip on Nigeria covers a variety of topics: people, religion, the arts, health, politics, and government. The discussion of ethnic groups is marred by simplistic generalizations, stereotypes, and outmoded language. The Yoruba are characterized as polygamous people who work together to "obtain objects to show their wealth." The Ibo (Igbo is correct) are described as short heavy people who work hard at "getting up" or improving themselves. Pejorative terms such as "hut," "tribe," and "native" are used. The treatment of slavery is quite problematic. It sounds as though Europeans got the idea of slavery from Africans. There is no comparative study of indigenous Nigerian slavery with Western chattel slavery. The primary British motive for ending slavery (industrialization) is not mentioned. Rather, one is left with the idea that the ending of slavery was primarily due to the work of abolitionists. Most offensive are comments made during the discussion of health. Nigerian fathers are described as caring more for their own welfare than that of their children. As the narrator puts it: "Men eat as much as they want at every meal. Women and children eat only what is left. For that reason, many children suffer from malnutrition." In the activities section of the guide, children are asked to pretend that they are a Nigerian child who doesn't get enough to eat. They are then instructed to "[w]rite a brief essay explaining how you feel about watching the men eat most of the food." This type of instructional activity hardly promotes cross-cultural understanding. Indeed, it fosters hostility and ethnocentrism of the worst sort. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: TAYLOR, JANE; TAYLOR, LEAH TITLE: FIELDING'S AFRICAN SAFARIS Publisher: Fielding Travel Books / William Morrow Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 608 pp. Grade: H

    Price (pap): $17.95 ISBN (pap): 0 688 05072 7

    Subjects: Africa - Description and travel

    Review: Travel to and within Africa is increasingly appealing to diverse groups of students, educators, and tourists on this side of the Atlantic. Recognizing the diverse interests of their potential customers, Fieldings now offers 64 different types of safaris within 17 different African countries. Background information relating to each country is included, while the "Bye the By" section includes health tips, a clothing guide, suggestions for avoiding street crime, a description of the differences between Anglophonic and Francophonic Africa, and other practical advice. The accommodation section includes descriptions of individual hotels, inns, and lodges for each of the 17 countries. The transportation section provides useful information on airlines serving Africa, placing reservations, car rental, taxis, rail routes, and lake, river, and ferry ports. The authors, who have traveled extensively and repeatedly in Africa, invite those with unanswered questions to write to them. (Robert Hamilton)

    TITLE: THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: AN AFRICAN TALE Publisher: Nystrom Copyright: 1992 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P

    ISBN: 0-88463-616-X

    Place Of Publication: Chicago Subjects: West Africa/Folklore/Nigeria

    Review: The teacher's guide to Thunder and Lightning describes the story as a classic from Nigeria. The only Nigerian language mentioned in the guide is Yoruba. One might easily conclude, therefore, that the story is from the Yoruba people. In the story, Thunder and Lightning appear in animal form, Thunder as a ewe and Lightning as her young ram. Lightning has a hot temper. He burns houses ("huts" they are called here), damages crops, and hurts people when he becomes angry. Thunder tries (to no avail) to make Lightning obey by bellowing at him. Eventually, the "king" of the village banishes the two noisy and destructive creatures to the sky. Lightning continues to misbehave and Thunder continues to reprimand him. There are several problems with this story. First, there is very little Nigerian flavor in the illustrations. Indeed the village "king" looks more like a Polynesian than a Nigerian. A second problem is the use of the terms "hut" and "jungle," both of which reinforce negative stereotypes of Africa. A third issue is the author's failure to identify the origin of the story. Is this, as the guide might lead you to believe, a Yoruba tale? In Yoruba culture, thunder and lightning are associated with the god Shango (also Sango). The ram is also associated with Shango but the ram never represents thunder. Almost all Yoruba myths tell of a violent encounter between Shango and the ram. One version describes Shango as an earthly king who once ruled the kingdom of Oyo. Pugnacious and quarrelsome, Shango fought constantly with his fellow creatures. He met his match when he confronted the ram. Stubborn and tenacious, the ram defeated Shango so soundly the chagrined Shango retreated to the heavens where he continues to show his anger by hurling lightning bolts and thunder to earth. There is a clear distinction in this Yoruba legend between the ram and thunder and lightning. As Babatunde Lawal points out, "Though the Yoruba, broadly speaking, ... associate the ram with thunder .... they neither regard causing thunder, nor depict it .... as thunder incarnate." (See "Yoruba-Sango Ram Symbolism" in African Images by Daniel McCall and Edna Bay) The Fon of Dahomey and the Dagomba of Togo do, however, conceive of thunder and lightning as a ram. As Lawal notes, to the Dagomba, "lightning is produced when a heavenly ram shakes its tail; thunder results when it stamps it feet. It is important that those who adapt African folktales identify the culture from which the stories come and represent these tales appropriately. Nuances and cultural messages are very important. Those storytellers who fail to attend to such messages run the risk of trivializing or distorting cultures and offending the very people they hope to honor. Finally, the teacher's guide does very little to meet its objective of expanding a student's knowledge of Nigeria. Most of the activities it includes are too general, lack background information, or reinforce stereotypes. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: TROUGHTON, JOANNA TITLE: HOW STORIES CAME INTO THE WORLD: A FOLKTALE FROM WEST AFRICA Publisher: Peter Bedrick Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 32 pp. Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-87226-411-4

    Subjects: West Africa - Folklore

    Review: This picture book collection of folktales from West Africa includes six brief creation stories. They include myths about heavenly bodies, thunder and lightning, and animals. Humans appear in some of the stories but they play minor roles. The illustrations are colorful and contain some authentic African art forms. Unfortunately, the author/illustrator includes several illustrations of a scantily clad African woman with bare breasts exposed. This use of nudity tends to perpetuate negative Western stereotypes of Africans. Moreover, the woman's attire looks more like dress from parts of southern Africa than West Africa. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: VOGLER, CAROL; DOWNING, PETER TITLE: TEACHING ABOUT AFRICA: TRADITION AND CHANGE Publisher: University of Denver - Center for Teaching International Relations Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 192 pp. Grade: M/H

    Price (pap): $29.95

    Subjects: Africa - Study and teaching

    Review: The stereotyped illustration on the cover of this book is more indicative of this book than the introduction, which states a need to address stereotypes and misunderstandings and to encourage discovery. Lessons on names and the section on South Africa are useful and informed, but the activity on dress may actually reinforce preconceived images. Newspaper activity and lessons on "traditional" vs. "modern" societies are inappropriate and without background knowledge make ill-informed and negative comparisons. (Jo Sullivan)

    AUTHOR: WATSON, R. L. TITLE: SOUTH AFRICA IN PICTURES Publisher: Lerner Copyright: 1988 Type: Book Collation: 64 pp. Grade: E/M Price: $9.95 ISBN: 0-8225-1835-X

    Subjects: South Africa/Apartheid/Southern Africa

    Review: Older works on South Africa tended to avoid apartheid or describe it as innocuous. This work is an improvement. Apartheid is integrated into most topics and soundly condemned. Also, although the pejorative terms "hut" and "non-white" are used, negative terms frequently seen in other works are avoided. Unfortunately, the author's focus is still essentially Eurocentric. African history before white settlement is virtually ignored; the primary focus is on the period following Dutch settlement. Moreover, although blacks represent the majority population, many topics focus first on the small white minority. The sections on language, literature, sports, art, and population all begin with information on whites. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: WHITE, JAN TITLE: STEP INTO AFRICA Publisher: University of Denver - Center for Teaching International Relations Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 102 pp. Grade: P/E

    Price (pap): $24.95

    Subjects: Africa - Study and teaching

    Review: The majority of activities, the vocabulary, and resources in this book are reminiscent of the 1960s, using dated and narrow information that reinforces and reintroduces old stereotypes. Focusing on wild animals, "huts" and the Maasai when attempting to educate readers about an entire continent is very inappropriate. Dated vocabulary such as "native," "hut," "tribe," and activities without a diverse knowledge base also limits the effectiveness of this volume. (Jo Sullivan)

    AUTHOR: WILLIAMS, KAREN TITLE: GALIMOTO Publisher: Lothrop Copyright: 1991 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $12.88 ISBN: 0-688-08790-6

    Subjects: Malawi/Fiction/Southern Africa

    Review: In eastern and southern Africa one often sees young boys fashioning scrap wire into ingenious little vehicles. This charming book captures the mood and spirit of this hobby. The setting is a small town in Malawi. The main character is Kondi, a young boy who wants to make a wire vehicle or galimoto like the big boys. As Kondi journeys about town in search of materials for his galimoto, we see snatches of town life. The town features a variety of housing, including picturesque thatched houses, sturdy brick dwellings, and houses with latticed windows and corrugated iron roofs. The adults in Kondi's town engage in a variety of activities such as fishing, marketing, storekeeping, and maize grinding. The muted water-colored illustrations which provide our window into Kondi's world are well done. One criticism voiced by a resident of the area was the uniform complexion of the people. Malawians come in different hues, a fact ignored by the illustrator. Another reviewer feared American children may assume incorrectly that children from Malawi and other parts of Africa don't have access to manufactured toys (see Afolayan's review in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World). My experiences with the book, however, mitigate against this criticism. Children have uniformly responded in a positive and enthusiastic manner to this story. They are fascinated by the wire cars and are eager to make their own. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: WINCHESTER - GOULD, GUY TITLE: LET'S VISIT ZIMBABWE Publisher: Burke Books Copyright: 1983 Type: Book

    Grade: E

    Subjects: Zimbabwe/Southern Africa

    Review: Books on Zimbabwe are frequently plagued by problems seen in books on South Africa. This book is no exception. The author is totally Eurocentric in his approach to the subject at hand. Centuries of African history prior to European settlement are simply ignored. Readers are informed that the history of the Zimbabwe began in 1853 when Cecil Rhodes was born! Ancient Zimbabwe is described as a "mysterious" kingdom that may have been built by "Phoenicians or Persians or Arabs." Only grudgingly does the author suggest that Africans may have been the architects. The Europeans who settled in the land in the 19th century are credited with developing a "new" country with "courage and determination." Their achievements, the author adds, are "remarkable ... considering that only eight years ago the land was inhabited by savage people who were always at war with one another." The brutal forced labor systems imposed on Africans during colonialism are characterized as "opportunities" for employment and the long struggle to end white minority rule is dismissed as the work of "terrorists." The author gives credence to settlers' arguments that self-rule for Africans was impractical when he describes Europeans as "watching with dismay" as colonial farms given to the Africans fell into a "state of disorder and chaos". This extremely biased book should be avoided. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: WINNER, DAVID TITLE: DESMOND TUTU Publisher: Gareth Stevens Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 68 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.45 ISBN: 1 55532 822 9

    Subjects: South Africa/Biography/Desmond Tutu

    Review: This book is more a history of South Africa than a biography of Desmond Tutu. Winner attempts to blend history with biographical data but the mixture keeps separating like oil and water. The book lacks the personal focus and smooth narrative a good biography should possess. There are other problems. The book lacks a table of contents and the index is inadequate. More importantly, Winner occasionally misrepresents those black South Africans who oppose Tutu's pacifist strategies, dismissing them as "impatient radical Blacks." He also fails to describe adequately the sluggish response of the West toward sanctions divestment. In addition, he fails to give appropriate attention to South Africa history prior to European settlement. Still, this is a useful work. Winner provides the essential facts about Tutu's life. Moreover, he emphasizes Tutu's unique qualities, i.e. his humor, friendliness and, humanitarianism. Tutu emerges here as a spiritual man who courageously fights apartheid while urging its victims to extend love and forgiveness to their oppressors. The book has other strengths. The text is generally free of stereotypes and the photographs are excellent. Also, although Winner neglects South African history before European settlement, he does provide a balanced and fairly accurate discussion of the colonial period. The book focuses the reader's attention on the impact of European settlement on the African majority rather than the usual approach which focuses on relations between the Dutch and English settlers. Another strong point is the depiction of the British. Typically the British are characterized as liberals who abolished slavery and protected Africans from Afrikaner excesses. Winner correctly exposes the facade of British liberalism by noting, "The British were as racist as the Dutch. They too did not consider the black people their equals." Contemporary South African history (with the exceptions noted above) is another strong point. Winner focuses on apartheid and provides a good summary of its effects. (Brenda Randolph)

    AUTHOR: WINSLOW, ZACHERY TITLE: TOGO Publisher: Chelsea House Copyright: 1987 Type: Book Collation: 95 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 1-55546-190-5

    Subjects: Togo - Description and travel/Togo - History/West Africa

    Review: This book, one of the Places and Peoples of the World series, reads as if it were written by President Gnassingbe Eyadema's public relations office. Much of this work is an uncritical paen of praise for the long serving dictator of Togo who has denied basic human rights and presides over a corrupt, cruel regime. The author's choice of words often reveals old stereotypical ideas: "primitive," "outlandish costumes," "voodoo," "fetish," and so on. On page 17, one reads that the "tribes speak their own dialects." Why not the "people speak in their different languages?" There's no need to waste space discussing Togo. Its only possible use would be as an excellent negative example of how not to write an introductory account of an African country. (Richard A. Corby)

    AUTHOR: WOLBERS, MARIAN TITLE: BURUNDI Publisher: Chelsea House Copyright: 1989 Type: Book Collation: 120 pp. Grade: E/M/H Price: $12.95 ISBN: 1-55546-785-7

    Subjects: Burundi - Description and travel/East Africa

    Review: This book, as others in the series, Places and People of the World, attempts to survey the history, topography, people, and culture, of Burundi. Emphasis is given to current economic and political problems, leaving one with the impression of a country torn by ethnic conflict as well as immense poverty. Though generally valid, it is not fully sensitive to the role and responsibility of colonial rule, prior to independence, for the current situation. The focus on economic and political problems overshadows the cultural and human dimension of life in Burundi. Greater attention should have been given to everyday life, patterns, and organization at the village and community levels. In discussing traditional religion and culture, the author uses the unfortunate term "animism," which has now been discredited and reflects Eurocentric assumptions about the "primitive" character of Burundi traditional life. Also the Tutsi are stereotyped as being "warlike." The book contains representative photographs, some in color, which help to enliven the text. Despite its shortcomings, students will find the factual information plentiful and useful for reports. (Razia Nanji)

    AUTHOR: WYSS, ESTHER TITLE: INTRODUCTORY GUIDE TO AFRICA Publisher: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Copyright: 1990 Type: Curriculum Guide Collation: 251 pp. Grade: T (M/H)

    Price (pap): $16.95

    Subjects: Africa - Study and teaching

    Review: In addition to providing basic current information on Africa, this book also has readings, activities and other resources drawn from a wide variety of sources, all designed to relate to the general theme of "connections" and "issues." With very clear objectives and containing much, perhaps too much, excellent material-- selections from Africa News, Christian Science Monitor, World Council of Churches, African writings, illustrations-- there could be a question about its appeal-- especially as an "introduction" and teaching guide-- to the large body of high school teachers who are time pressured and generally at the elementary level in their knowledge of Africa. Even used in part, however, it has much to offer. (Louise Crane)

    AUTHOR: ZIMELMAN, NATHAN TITLE: TREED BY A PRIDE OF IRATE LIONS Publisher: Little, Brown Copyright: 1990 Type: Book Collation: Unpaged Grade: P Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-316-98802-2

    Subjects: East Africa/Fiction

    Review: This winding tale is about a Euro-American father who has problems getting domestic animals to like him. Desperate to be loved, he sets off for Africa where "wild animals" live. No people live in the Africa this father visits, only lions, giraffes, etc. The animal focus of this book reinforces the stereotype of Africa as one vast animal reserve. (Brenda Randolph)


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