Discover

Company

Africa: Books For Kids

We "hear the drums echoing tonight" as we're reading all about Africa! These books are filled with bright illustrations, strong role models, and adventurous stories that will help you celebrate and learn more about Africa. Through reading, you'll be inspired by Africa's history, people, and culture.

An African Alphabet book
#1
An African Alphabet
Written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Sue Todd
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An African Alphabet is a vibrant ABC book that introduces babies and toddlers to the unique variety of animals found in Africa. An alphabet for all ages, the stunning linocut artwork brings an uncommon selection of critters to life in this lively concept book. From aardvark to zebra and all that's in between, little ones will love learning their alphabet with these colorful creatures.

Mama Panya's Pancakes book
#2
Mama Panya's Pancakes
Written by Rich Chamberlin, Mary Chamberlin and illustrated by Julia Cairns
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Goodfather

This story provides a delightful glimpse into a young African boy's big, generous heart. Adika is sure Mama Panya can make enough pancakes to share with everyone he is inviting to share their meal. Mama Panya is not so sure, but she is willing to go without if necessary. The story is heartwarming, and the illustrations are bright and exciting.

How many people did we invite for pancakes tonight? Adika, skipping two steps ahead, sang his reply, All of our friends, Mama.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion book
#3
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion
Written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Little Red sets off to visit her auntie who is poorly. She walks under the giraffes, over the sleepy crocodiles, past the enormous elephants and the chattering monkeys. Then a Very Hungry Lion approaches Little Red, wanting to gobble her up. But despite all the cunning plans by Lion, Little Red outsmarts him and soon has him saying sorry and eating doughnuts instead.

Textures book
#4
Textures
Written by Flowerpot Press and illustrated by Katie Wilson
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Soft. Rough. Bumpy. Smooth. Textures are all around us and all through this innovative board book. Latest in the Montessori inspired Discovery Concepts series, Textures takes us on an African safari where we also learn about safari animals in this cross-concept enhanced board book. Caregivers will enjoy the tactile teaching and all children will love the discovery in Textures.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters book
#5
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Written and illustrated by John Steptoe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mufaro was a happy man. Everyone agreed that his two daughters were very beautiful. Nyasha was kind and considerate as well as beautiful, but everyone -- except Mufaro -- knew that Manyara was selfish, badtempered, and spoiled. When the king decided to take a wife and invited "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land" to appear before him, Mufaro declared proudly that only the king could choose between Nyasha and Manyara. Manyara, of course, didn't agree, and set out to make certain that she would be chosen. John Steptoe has created a memorable modem fable of pride going before a fall, in keeping with the moral of the folktale that was his inspiration. He has illustrated it with stunning paintings that glow with the beauty, warmth, and internal vision of the land and people of his ancestors.

  1. We All Went on Safari - Follows a Tanzanian family through the African grasslands as they count the animals they see, from one leopard to 10 elephants, and includes information about Tanzania and Swahili names and numbers. Reprint.

  2. Wangari's Trees of Peace - B is for Bookworm - This true story is inspiring. Wangari dares to do what hasn't ever been done and inspires women to help her plant trees in Kenya. Parents might want to know that this story does mention about how she stood in front of trees to protect them from being cut down, and the government men beat her and put her in jail.

  3. Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace - As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her—from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river. Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time.

  4. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Mr. Staccato - A story about a boy who reads a book and learns how to build a windmill to bring water from the earth and help save his family and friends in the midst of a drought.

The Water Princess book
#10
The Water Princess
Written by Georgie Badiel, Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Based on supermodel Georgie Badiel’s childhood, a young girl dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, Gie Gie cannot bring the water closer; she cannot make it run clearer. Every morning, she rises before the sun to make the long journey to the well. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, Gie Gie thinks of the trip that tomorrow will bring. And she dreams. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own. Inspired by the childhood of African–born model Georgie Badiel, acclaimed author Susan Verde and award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds have come together to tell this moving story. As a child in Burkina Faso, Georgie and the other girls in her village had to walk for miles each day to collect water. This vibrant, engaging picture book sheds light on this struggle that continues all over the world today, instilling hope for a future when all children will have access to clean drinking water.

Baby Goes to Market book
#11
Baby Goes to Market
Written by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank, Atinuke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers. Market is very crowded. Mama is very busy. Baby is very curious. When Baby and Mama go to the market, Baby is so adorable that the banana seller gives him six bananas. Baby eats one and puts five in the basket, but Mama doesn't notice. As Mama and Baby wend their way through the stalls, cheeky Baby collects five oranges, four biscuits, three ears of sweet corn, two pieces of coconut . . . until Mama notices that her basket is getting very heavy! Poor Baby, she thinks, he must be very hungry by now! Rhythmic language, visual humor, and a bounty of delectable food make this a tale that is sure to whet little appetites for story time.

Home of the Brave book
#12
Home of the Brave
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A man I helped to settle here taught me a saying from Africa. I'll bet you would like it: A cow is God with a wet nose. Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter—cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother's fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

A Long Walk to Water book
#13
A Long Walk to Water
Written and illustrated by Linda Sue Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Who Was Nelson Mandela? book
#14
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
Written by Meg Belviso, Pam Pollack and illustrated by Stephen Marchesi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Describes the life of the South African president and revolutionary, from his childhood and his work as a peaceful protestor to his twenty-seven-year imprisonment, his election as president, and his work to end apartheid in South Africa.

  1. Indestructibles: Mary Had a Little Lamb - Here is a book babies can really sink their gums into. Built for the way babies read, Indestructibles are printed on an amazing paperlike material that can’t be ripped, torn, or punctured. Indestructibles are 100 percent safe and nontoxic, and if they get too funky, just throw them in the washing machine or dishwasher. They’re made for baby to hold, grab, chew, pull, and bend, and are designed to create an even more special bond between reader and baby. Printed without words, the parent gets to make up the story, or just cuddle with baby while they explore together. Mary Had a Little Lamb introduces the work of Jonas Sickler, a children’s illustrator whose paintings, full of detail and personality, have a fresh, whimsical sensibility, a pleasure for both baby and parents. The book gives a new spin on a traditional nursery rhyme, so parents can really have fun with the subject—Mary Had a Little Lamb follows a girl and her lamb in her village in Africa. The text for the nursery rhyme is printed on the back cover.

  2. Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain - A cumulative rhyme relating how Ki-pat brought rain to the drought-stricken Kapiti Plain. Verna Aardema has brought the original story closer to the English nursery rhyme by putting in a cumulative refrain and giving the tale the rhythm of “The House That Jack Built.”

  3. The White Giraffe - After a fire kills her parents, eleven-year-old Martine must leave England to live with her grandmother on a wildlife game reserve in South Africa, where she befriends a mythical white giraffe.

  4. The Mystery of the Missing Lion - Staying with Aunty Bee at a safari camp in the Botswana countryside where a film crew is making a movie about a lion, nine-year-old Precious Ramotswe and her resourceful new friend Khumo use their detective skills to find the movie star lion when he goesmissing.

The Red Pencil book
#19
The Red Pencil
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Shane Evans
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

"Amira, look at me," Muma insists.She collects both my hands in hers."The Janjaweed attack without warning.If ever they come-- run." Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala-- Amira's one true dream. But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey-- on foot-- to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind-- and all kinds of possibilities. New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney's powerful verse and Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist Shane W. Evans's breathtaking illustrations combine to tell an inspiring tale of one girl's triumph against all odds.

Good Morning, Gorillas book
#20
Good Morning, Gorillas
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The magic tree house takes Jack and Annie to an African rainforest, where the siblings encounter gorillas and learn to communicate with them.

The Magic Bojabi Tree  book
#21
The Magic Bojabi Tree
Written by Dianne Hofmeyr and illustrated by Piet Grobler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Python has wrapped himself around the melon/mango/pomegranate tree with its delicious fruit, and he won't share the fruit unless the animals can tell him the correct name of the tree. Elephant, Monkey and Zebra each in turn visit Lion, who alone knows the name of the tree. But every time, the animals forget the name on the journey back to the tree. Then Tortoise, the slowest, smallest animal goes to Lion - and sings a special song to remind him of the name. It is the Bojabi Tree! Python unwraps himself from the trunk, and all the animals share a feast.

The Spider Sapphire Mystery book
#22
The Spider Sapphire Mystery
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Thrilling, dangerous adventures confront Nancy Drew while on a safari in East Africa with a group of American college students. Excitement runs high as the teen-age detective delves into the theft of a fabulous sapphire formed by nature millions of years ago. The mystery starts in Nancy’s home town. Her lawyer father’s client, Floyd Ramsay, who fashions beautiful and unusual synthetic gems, is accused of stealing the magnificent spider sapphire and exhibiting it as his own creation. Mr. Ramsay’s enemies blackmail him and by their vicious acts try to deter Nancy from going on the safari. Readers will join Nancy as she uncovers a nefarious scheme and solves the strange disappearance of an injured jungle guide.

The Mysterious Caravan book
#23
The Mysterious Caravan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When the Hardy Boys take a winter vacation in Jamaica, Joe finds an ancient bronze death mask washed up near their beach house during a violent storm. Helping the Hardys and their friends in this bizarre mystery is William, a Jamaican boy, who flies to New York with startling news, only to be intercepted and held for ransom—the death mask! Frank and Joe must rescue William, plunge into their father’s airline-ticket theft case, and fly into a maze of danger in Africa.

  1. For You Are a Kenyan Child - From rooster crow to bedtime, a Kenyan boy plays and visits neighbors all through his village, even though he is supposed to be watching his grandfather's cows.

  2. The Wild Beast - Inspired by a story told to the author while on safari in 2015, The Wild Beast describes the creation of one of Africa’s most unusual animals, the wildebeest. According to oral tradition, the Creator built this unique beast out of leftover parts from other magnificent animals found on the continent. Horns from buffalos and stripes meant for zebras.Tails from giraffes and bumps meant for camels.This creative retelling will introduce little ones to a story rich in both imagery and in lesson: Take what you need to live. Take no more. Waste nothing.

  3. A Story, a Story - Winner of the Caldecott Medal Once, all the stories in the world belonged to Nyame, the Sky God. He kept them in a box beside his throne. But Ananse, the Spider man, wanted them -- and caught three sly creatures to get them. This story of how we got our own stories to tell is adapted from an African folktale.

  4. Anansi the Spider - In trying to determine which of his six sons to reward for saving his life, Anansi the Spider is responsible for placing the moon in the sky.

The Wild Fluffalump book
#28
The Wild Fluffalump
Written by Mwenye Hadithi and illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One morning, at the foot of a tree on the African plain, a strange creature is found. It's fluffy and puffy. What can it be? The meerkats declare that it is a wild Fluffalump. Eagle says there is no such thing, Buffalo thinks it must be a bird, Hyena says it squeaked and wriggled when he gave it a poke, and Giraffe finds it has toes. By now the Fluffalump is hungry and thirsty and when it is nipped on the bottom by Crocodile it trumpets loudly. And across the plain comes Elephant who dumps it in the lake for a wash and Fluffalump is revealed to be . . . ?

Light a Candle book
#29
Light a Candle
Written by Eric Walters, Godfrey Nkongolo and illustrated by Eva Campbell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Co-written by Eric Walters and Godfrey Nkongolo, Light a Candle weaves non- fiction with fiction to tell the story of a boy coming of age in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and his father, the chief of their tribe. The boy climbs the mountain against his father’s wishes to fulfill a request of the country’s first leader, Julius Nyerere, to light a candle on the top of the mountain and unify the mainland of Tanganyika and the islands of Zanzibar as one country, the United Republic of Tanzania.

Little Guides to Great Lives: Nelson Mandela book
#30
Little Guides to Great Lives: Nelson Mandela
Written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Hannah Warren
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

Anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, Nelson Mandela's journey from political prisoner to president of South Africa is an incredible tale of triumph in the face of adversity. 2018 marks a hundred years since his birth. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with full-color illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.

Juliane's Story book
#31
Juliane's Story
Written and illustrated by Andy Glynne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

This is the real-life story of 12-year-old refugee Juliane. At 3 years old, Juliane was separated from her mother due to the violence in her country of Zimbabwe. Told in Juliane's own words, the story tells of her fear and isolation growing up in an orphanage, how she was reunited with her mother, and how the two of them fled to another country to establish a new life together.

Orange for the Sunsets book
#32
Orange for the Sunsets
Written and illustrated by Tina Athaide
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home. Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again. Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game. Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship. Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

  1. Grandpa Cacao - This beautifully illustrated story connects past and present as a girl bakes a chocolate cake with her father and learns about her grandfather harvesting cacao beans in West Africa. Chocolate is the perfect treat, everywhere! As a little girl and her father bake her birthday cake together, Daddy tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao, a farmer from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In a land where elephants roam and the air is hot and damp, Grandpa Cacao worked in his village to harvest cacao, the most important ingredient in chocolate. "Chocolate is a gift to you from Grandpa Cacao," Daddy says. "We can only enjoy chocolate treats thanks to farmers like him." Once the cake is baked, it's ready to eat, but this isn't her only birthday present. There's a special surprise waiting at the front door . . .

  2. The Story of Kwanzaa - It’s Kwanzaa-time! Light the candles on the kinara! Fly the bendera, and tell stories from Africa! The festival of Kwanzaa was originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga to honor the customs and history of African Americans. The seven principles of Kwanzaa, called the Nguzo Saba, serve to remind African Americans of the struggles of the past, and also focus on present-day achievements and goals for the future. Activities at the end of the book include making your own cow-tail switch and baking benne cakes.

  3. Seven Spools of Thread - In an African village live seven brothers who make family life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread. If they fail, they will be turned out as beggars.

  4. Indestructibles: Old MacDonald Had a Farm - Indestructibles are the 100 percent baby proof, chew proof, rip proof, completely washable, and nontoxic series of books. Books built for the way babies read, Indestructibles are printed on an amazing nontoxic, paperlike material that holds up to endless chewing, gumming, gnawing, grabbing, bending, and pulling. Then, once the books get dirty, parents can throw them in a dishwasher or washing machine to make them clean as new. The title is adapted from classic nursery rhymes and illustrated by Jonas Sickler. Sickler’s paintings are whimsical and fun, filled with dazzling textures and eye-popping color. They will grab and keep a baby’s attention, and delight adults. The book offers a multicultural twist on a classic nursery rhyme -- Old MacDonald Has a Farm, set in Bolivia is full of llamas, alpacas, sheep, and cows. The text for the nursery rhyme is printed on the back cover.

B Is for Baby book
#37
B Is for Baby
Written by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank, creators of the award-winning Baby Goes to Market, pair up again for a bright and beautiful first book of words. B is for Baby. B is for Brother. B is for going to see Baba! One morning after breakfast, Baby's big brother is getting ready to take the basket of bananas all the way to Baba's bungalow in the next village. He'll have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds, and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. But what he doesn't realize is that his very cute, very curious baby sibling has stowed away on his bicycle. Little ones learning about language will love sounding out the words in this playful, vibrantly illustrated story set in West Africa.

Mosquitoes Don't Bite Me book
#38
Mosquitoes Don't Bite Me
Written by Pendred Noyce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Mosquitoes don't bite Nala Simiyu. It's part of who she is, like being a half-Kenyan seventh-grader whose mother is in a wheelchair. But when a schoolmate's father--who happens to head up a large drug company--learns of Nala's special power, the excitement begins. Nala has the chance to travel to Kenya to investigate mosquitoes' reactions to her father's family. All goes well until a man heartbroken by his daughter's death from malaria kidnaps Nala. In the midst of a realistic adventure story, this book will introduce young readers to such dilemmas as health disparities, subtle racism, and who owns biological information. Brave, fallible, compassionate and spirited, Nala is a strongly relatable character in a loving, imperfect family.

Jack and the Wild Life book
#39
Jack and the Wild Life
Written by Lisa Doan and illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

After a wild plan by his parents left Jack stranded in the Caribbean, the Berenson family decided to lay out some rules. Jack's mom and dad agreed they wouldn't take so many risks. Jack agreed he'd try to live life without worrying quite so much. Then Jack's parents thought up another get-rich-quick scheme. Now the family's driving around Kenya. An animal attack is about to send Jack up a tree—alone, with limited supplies. As Jack attempts to outsmart a ferocious honey badger and keep away from an angry elephant, he'll have plenty of time to wonder if the Berenson Family Decision-Making Rules did enough to keep him out of trouble.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!