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Black History Celebrated With This Beautiful Picture Book and Favorite Sayings From African Nations

Updated on February 9, 2019
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Celebrate Black History and African Culture

African culture is depicted with stunning illustrations from African artists around the continent.
African culture is depicted with stunning illustrations from African artists around the continent. | Source

Fun Sayings of Wisdom and Colorful Illustrations Celebrate African Culture

Multicultural picture books are popular tools for teaching young readers about their world. Eric Walters' collection of fun sayings of wisdom and colorful illustrations from African artists from all over the continent of Africa is the perfect picture book to introduce young children to African culture. From The Heart of Africa will engage young readers and offer the opportunity explore African culture. These sayings, or aphorisms, are jewels of wisdom for people to use in everyday life in order to understand themselves and others. Being in community is a concept that it is never too early to introduce young children to in order to live in peace with their friends at school and in their neighborhoods.

Walters chose each saying for a particular reason. His choices are ones that can help with making a decision to help someone, solve an argument, and communicate ideas to friends and family. He writes in his Foreword that African children learn these special sayings at an early age. Adults pass these sayings along to children along with songs and other African folklore. He has also found that the same saying in a slightly different form can be found in all other countries. Walters includes the saying's origin and its meaning at the bottom of each page.

The bright and colorful illustrations fill each page of From The Heart Of Africa with examples of African culture. The illustrations were contributed from African artists from all parts of the continent. From The Heart of Africa was published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin/Random House. It is recommended for ages 5-10 and has an ISBN of 978-1-77049-719-1.

Bright and Colorful Illustrations from African Artists


Black History Month of February in the Classroom

From The Heart of Africa is a great choice for teachers in early elementary grades to introduce young children to the culture of Africa. February is Black History Month and schools will be celebrating this opportunity to teach children about Africa and its culture. The fun sayings can be used in all cultures. Each saying presents an opportunity to teach young children a thought to help them solve a problem, communicate their feelings to their friends, and help with becoming a citizen of the world. It is never too early to teach young children how to get along in our society today when bullying is a continuing problem.

*Read From The Heart of Africa in a group story time session. Each saying can stand alone as a separate topic to incorporate this picture book into the entire month of February as schools celebrate Black History Month. Walters includes the meaning for each saying at the bottom of each page.

*Call attention to the illustrations that depict the animals that live on the continent of Africa. Have a globe available for children to locate the continent of Africa.

*Example of saying and lesson offered: "When in the middle of a river, do not insult the crocodile." Walters writes that the meaning of this fun saying is that one should think before you act. Offer children the opportunity to contribute their ideas of situations that they might find themselves in and should think about their actions before they do something that they might regret.

*Example of saying and lesson offered: "Rain does not fall on one roof alone." This one offers the opportunity to teach children that everyone has problems to solve and working together is a good way to solve problems.

*Choose a saying for each week in February. Locate the area of Africa that the saying comes from. Have other reference material available in the classroom to learn more about the area of Africa that the saying comes from.

*Take the opportunity to introduce dishes from each area of Africa. Have a tasting party on the days that you choose one of the sayings from one section of Africa.

© 2019 Cindy Hewitt


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