African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History
African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History
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Annotation: "In African Icons , Baptiste engages in the hard work of unveiling the myths about the African continent to young reader... more
Genre: [World history]
Catalog Number: #308573
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Workman Pub. Co.
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Illustrator: Wilson, Hillary D.,
Pages: 160 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-616-20900-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-616-20900-1
Dewey: 960.099
LCCN: 2021011317
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Ten carefully chosen biographies six men and four women troduce figures who have made invaluable contributions to Africa's history. Profiled here are Egypt's first pharaoh, Menes; First Dynasty Queen Merneith; Imhotep, medical demigod and vizier to a king; storyteller Aesop, alongside text of "The Eagle and the Beetle"; military commander Hannibal; playwright Terence; Queen Amanirenas, who defended her kingdom against the Roman Empire; disabled woman Tin Hinan, who founded a desert city and became a queen; warrior queen Idia; and Mansa Musa, then the richest man in the world, who became an emperor. Scattered throughout these biographies are fascinating facts (e.g., most maps show Africa 14.5 times smaller than it really is in comparison to other continents). Baptiste includes contextualizing background in each profile that addresses the richness of Africa's history. Each profile contains a color illustration with a name-pronunciation guide. Readers will be fascinated by the lives of these icons and gain a real appreciation of Africa's underrepresented place in world history.
Kirkus Reviews
Ten historical African figures’ biographies are interspersed with notes on the history of the continent.What Baptiste accomplishes in only 139 pages of narrative is near miraculous. She lifts the veil intentionally cast over African history, granting readers a veritable feast of information and inspiration. Readers meet, among others, Menes, who unified Upper and Lower Egypt in the 31st century B.C.E.; Amanirenas, first-century B.C.E. queen of Kush, who expelled the Romans; and Idia, the 16th-century queen of Benin who wielded kingmaker powers and ensured diplomatic ties with Portugal. Wilson’s portraits of each figure exude such beauty, strength, power, and, above all, dignity as to be nearly breathtaking. Each one gazes out at readers with a regal confidence that’s sure to inspire them to gaze back. Wilson also provides lush landscapes and spot illustrations throughout. Pictures of historical artifacts are also included. Black leaders of any age will see themselves reflected in the amazing lives chronicled, many of whom may be new to readers. Non-Black readers will get a window into the marvelous history of a continent oft overlooked and relegated to a single narrative. Refreshingly free of generalizations, this impressively researched work was clearly a massive undertaking (as evidenced by the source notes), presenting figures from multiple parts of the continent in the truth of their cultural and historical richness. The result is empowering, necessary, and required reading for all.Game changing. (author’s note, source notes, bibliography, further exploration, designer’s note) (Nonfiction. 10-adult)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 610 To remedy the practice of limiting lesson plans on Black history to enslavement, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement, Baptiste sheds light on the rich and complex pre-enslavement history of the African continent, much of which has been long buried because of the bias and racism of white gatekeepers. Thankfully, Baptiste has unearthed them for young readers through copious research and synthesized them into a spellbinding collection that spotlights 10 historical figures, including writers, kings and queens, and military leaders. Each profile opens with a majestic portrait by Wilson, whose palette of purples and golds imbues the subjects with a regal feel. Interstitial chapters provide background on geography, historical context, and technology. Transitions between selections are smooth; the volume reads more like a cohesive narrative than a group of entries. The language is accessible to upper elementary readers, but the book will find a better home in middle school libraries. The back matter is a librarian's dream, with almost 14 pages of bibliography and source notes, in addition to notes from the author and designer, an index, and further reading. Educators should use this work to discuss how bias in research and history has resulted in groundbreaking figures of color being pushed to the margins. VERDICT An impeccably researched revelation that fills a too wide gap in collections; it's unfair how long it's taken for these histories to be made public to young readers. Shelley M. Diaz , School Library Journal
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Ten historical African figures’ biographies are interspersed with notes on the history of the continent.What Baptiste accomplishes in only 139 pages of narrative is near miraculous. She lifts the veil intentionally cast over African history, granting readers a veritable feast of information and inspiration. Readers meet, among others, Menes, who unified Upper and Lower Egypt in the 31st century B.C.E.; Amanirenas, first-century B.C.E. queen of Kush, who expelled the Romans; and Idia, the 16th-century queen of Benin who wielded kingmaker powers and ensured diplomatic ties with Portugal. Wilson’s portraits of each figure exude such beauty, strength, power, and, above all, dignity as to be nearly breathtaking. Each one gazes out at readers with a regal confidence that’s sure to inspire them to gaze back. Wilson also provides lush landscapes and spot illustrations throughout. Pictures of historical artifacts are also included. Black leaders of any age will see themselves reflected in the amazing lives chronicled, many of whom may be new to readers. Non-Black readers will get a window into the marvelous history of a continent oft overlooked and relegated to a single narrative. Refreshingly free of generalizations, this impressively researched work was clearly a massive undertaking (as evidenced by the source notes), presenting figures from multiple parts of the continent in the truth of their cultural and historical richness. The result is empowering, necessary, and required reading for all.Game changing. (author’s note, source notes, bibliography, further exploration, designer’s note) (Nonfiction. 10-adult)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (6/1/21)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7

"In African Icons , Baptiste engages in the hard work of unveiling the myths about the African continent to young readers . . . This is a great beginner's guide to pre-colonial Africa." --Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist Meet ten real-life kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who lived in Africa thousands of years ago and changed the world. Black history began long ago with the many cultures and people of the African continent. Through portraits of ten heroic figures, author Tracey Baptiste takes readers on a journey across Africa to meet some of the great leaders and thinkers whose vision built a continent and shaped the world. Illustrator Hillary D. Wilson's brilliant portraits accompany each profile, along with vivid, information-filled landscapes, maps, and graphics for readers to pore over and return to again and again.


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