14 Cows for America. Deedy, Carmen Agra & Naiyomah, Wilson Kimeli (2012). Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers. ISBN: 9781561454907
An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed upon the American men, women, and children, and he is there to accept it. The gift is as unexpected as it is extraordinary. A mere nine months have passed since the September 11 attacks, and hearts are raw. Tears flow freely from American and Maasai as these legendary warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away.
A Long Walk to Water. Park, Linda Sue (2010). New York, NY: Clarion Books. ISBN: 9780547251271
A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan 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.
Beatrice’s Dream: Life in an African Slum. Williams, Karen Lynn (2011). London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. ISBN: 9781847804181
Beatrice is a thirteen-year-old orphan in Kibera, Nairobi – a Kenyan shantytown built on refuse and rubbish and one of the biggest slums in Africa. In this book she describes her life: her walk to school, the dust that blows between her teeth and the mud she wades through, her teacher’s down-to-earth encouragement, her fear of being alone, how safe she feels at school…
Beatrice’s Goat. McBrier, Page (2001). Illustrated by Lohstoeter, Lori. New York: Atheneum. ISBN: 0689824602
More than anything, Beatrice longs to be a schoolgirl. But in her small African village, only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school. Beatrice knows that with six children to care for, her family is much too poor. But then Beatrice receives a wonderful gift from some people far away — a goat! Fat and sleek as a ripe mango, Mugisa (which means “luck”) gives milk that Beatrice can sell. With Mugisa’s help, it looks as if Beatrice’s dream may come true after all.
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. Williams, Mary (2005). Illustrated by Christie, R. Gregory. New York: Lee and Low Books. ISBN: 9781584302322
A young boy unites with thousands of other orphaned boys to walk to safety in a refugee camp in another country, after war destroys their villages in southern Sudan. Based on true events.
Chirchir Is Singing. Cunnane, Kelly ((2011). Illustrated by Daly, Jude. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books. ISBN: 9780375961984
Chirchir just wants to make herself useful like all her other family members. But she drops Mama’s water bucket, spills Kogo’s tea, and sends Baba’s potatoes tumbling down the hill. Isn’t there something that Chirchir does best? Set in the rolling hills of rural Kenya, this is a wise and lyrical story about belonging from Kelly Cunnane, the author of the Ezra Jack Keats Award winner For You Are a Kenyan Child, accompanied by Jude Daly’s beautiful folk art-style illustrations.
E Is for Ethiopia. Gudeta, Ashenafi; Abatae, Betelhem; Mulu, Atakiti; & Boru, Dama (2010). London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. ISBN: 9781845078256
Another in the highly acclaimed World Alphabet series, written and photographed by young Ethiopians.
Elizabeti’s School. Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie (2002). Illustrated by Hale, Christy. New York: Lee & Low Books, Inc. ISBN: 1584300434
It’s the first day of school and Elizabeti can hardly wait. She puts on her new uniform and feels her shiny shoes. School must surely be a very special place! Shortly after arriving at school, however, Elizabeti begins to miss her family. What if Mama needs help cleaning the rice? What if her baby sister wants to play? What if her little brother wants to go for a walk? But soon Elizabeti is making friends and learning her lessons. Best of all, she shares her experiences with her family that evening — and can apply what she has learned right away.
For You Are a Kenyan Child. Cunnane, Kelly (2006). Illustrated by Juan, Ana. New York: Atheneum.
Imagine you live in a small Kenyan village, where the sun rises over tall trees filled with doves. You wake to the sound of a rooster’s crow, instead of an alarm clock and the school bus. Your afternoon snack is a tasty bug plucked from the sky, instead of an apple. And rather than kicking a soccer ball across a field, you kick a homemade ball of rags down a dusty road.
Gervelie’s Journey: A Refugee Diary. Robinson, Anthony & Young, Annemarie (2008). Illustrated by Allan, June. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. ISBN: 9781847800046
When Nkoula Thesia Gervelie was born in 1995 in the Republic of Congo, her mother and father had a nice house in a suburb of Brazzaville. When fighting broke out two years later, her father’s political connections put the family in grave danger and they were forced to flee. Gervelie’s Journey follows the family from Congo to the Ivory Coast, and then to Ghana, across Europe, and finally to England.
Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes. Turner, Pamela S. (2005). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN: 9780618445554
Mountain gorillas are beautiful, playful, curious, and fiercely protective of their families. They are also one of the most endangered species in the world. For many years these magnificent creatures have faced the threat of violent death at the hands of poachers. In order to protect the gorillas, funds are raised through “gorilla tourism,” bringing people into the forest to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat. This tourism is vital, but it has brought a new threat to the mountain gorillas: human disease.
Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby. MacLachlan, Patricia (2011). Illustrated by Zunon, Elizabeth. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press. ISBN: 9780763647476
The rhythm of the day’s activities creates the melody of the evening’s lullaby in this sweet song of family life along the banks of Lake Tanganyika. As the bright day shifts to twilight, the lantern on Baba’s boat twinkles in the distance, sending the baby off into a peaceful sleep on Mama’s shoulder. Inspired by a visit to her son, his wife, and their child in Tanzania, Patricia MacLachlan writes a gentle story of an African family’s day from sunup to sundown. Rich, beautifully detailed illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon offer a restful complement to the Swahili refrain “lala salama”–an invocation to “sleep well.”
The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families. Roth, Susan L. & Trumbore, Cindy (2011). New York; Lee & Low Books, Inc. ISBN: 9781600604591
For a long time, the people of Hargigo, a village in the tiny African country of Eritrea, were living without enough food for themselves and their animals. The families were hungry, and their goats and sheep were hungry too. Then along came a scientist, Dr. Gordon Sato, who helped change their lives for the better. And it all started with some special trees.
Me . . . Jane. McDonnell, Patrick (2011). New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN: 97803160454691
In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of “a life living with and helping all animals,” until one day she finds that her dream has come true.
Mimi’s Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It. Milway, Katie Smith (2012). Illustrated by Fernandes, Eugenie. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. ISBN: 9781554537228
In this newest addition to the CitizenKid™ collection of inspiring stories from around the globe, Mimi Malaho and her family help bring basic health care to their community. By making small changes like sleeping under mosquito nets and big ones like building a clinic with outside help, the Malahos and their neighbors transform their Kenyan village from one afraid of illness to a thriving community.
Muktar and the Camels. Graber, Janet (2009). Illustrated by Mack, Scott. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN: 9780805078343
Muktar lives in an orphanage on the border of Kenya and Somalia. He daydreams about his old life with his family and especially tending to camels. One day, visitors arrive bearing books, and Muktar’s friend Ismail is excited; so is Muktar, but for a different reason—the visitors are riding on camels. Muktar quickly discovers that one of the animals is injured and realizes this is his chance to prove himself. If there is anythingMuktar knows, it is camels. Through the eyes of an endearing protagonist whose love and respect for animals shines, this beautifully told story introduces young readers to another part of the world and way of life.
My First Dinka Dictionary: Colour and Learn. Kasahorow (2013). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN: 9781484013038
Teach a bilingual Dinka child to recognize over 50 common objects.Let toddlers paint in the pictures.Have lots of learning fun together.
My Rows and Piles of Coins. Mollel, Tololwa M. (1999). Illustrated by Lewis, E. B. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN: 0395751861
The market is full of wonderful things, but Saruni is saving his precious coins for a red and blue bicycle. How happy he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy loads to market on his very own bicycle–and how disappointed he is to discover that he hasn’t saved nearly enough! Determination and generosity are at the heart of this satisfying tale, set in Tanzania and illustrated with glowing watercolors that capture the warmth of Saruni’s family and the excitement of market day.
The Ogress and the Snake and Other Stories from Somalia. Laird, Elizabeth (2009). Illustrated by Fowles, Shelley. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. ISBN: 9781845078706
For millennia, Somalia has been crossed and recrossed by camel caravans of merchants, bringing with them stories such as “The Good Prince,” in which a kindhearted prince conquers the evil magic of a beautiful sorceress, and “The Ogress and the Snake,” a Somali Hansel and Gretel story about five little girls, abandoned in the desert, who take refuge in the house of a man-eating ogress. Elizabeth Laird heard many of these tales in Jigjiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region.
Owen & Mzee: A True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. Hatkoff, Isabella; Hatkoff; Craig; & Kahumbu, Paula (2006). New York: Scholastic. ISBN: 0439829739
In December 2004, a frightened young hippo, separated from his family by a devastating tsunami, bonded with an Aldabra tortoise named Mzee. The 130 year-old tortoise accepted Owen as his own, and an inseparable bond was forged.
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangri Maathai. Nivola, Claire A. (2008). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN: 9780374399184
Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, grew up in the highlands of Kenya, where fig trees cloaked the hills, fish filled the streams, and the people tended their bountiful gardens. But over many years, as more and more land was cleared, Kenya was transformed. When Wangari returned home from college in America, she found the village gardens dry, the people malnourished, and the trees gone.
Promise the Night. MacCall, Michaela (2011). San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN: 9780811876254
Immediately compelling and action-packed, this carefully researched work of historical fiction introduces young readers to the childhood of the famous yet elusive Beryl Markham, the first person to fly solo from England to North America. As in her debut novel, Prisoners in the Palace, MacColl propels readers into a multilayered story with an unforgettable heroine and evocative language that brings the backdrop of colonial British East Africa to life.
Qayb Libaax (The Lion’s Share). Ahmed, Said Salah (2007). Illustrated by Dupre, Kelly. Minnesota Humanities Commission. ISBN: 9781931016131
A group of hungry animals work together to kill a big, fat camel, but when the lion in charge asks how to divide the meat, the hyena makes the mistake of suggesting a fair share for all. The furious lion attacks the hyena, and the other animals then give the ruler so much that there is little left for them. “The lion’s share is not fair,” is the stark message.
Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together. Shoveller, Herb (2006). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. ISBN: 9781553379676
It costs a lot of money to build a well in Africa — a lot more than Ryan Hreljac had thought. Still, the six year old kept doing chores around his parents’ house, even after he learned it could take him years to earn enough money. Then a friend of the family wrote an article in the local newspaper about Ryan’s wish to build a well to supply people with safe, clean water. Before long, ripples of goodwill began spreading. People started sending money to help pay for Ryan’s well. Ryan was interviewed on television. His dream of a well became an international news story.
Seeds of Change. Johnson, Jen Cullerton (2010). Illustrated by Sadler, Sonia Lynn. New York: Lee & Low Books. ISBN: 9781600603679
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.
Welcome to Somalia. Schemenauer, Elma (2008). Mankato, MN: The Child’s World. ISBN: 9781592969760
Readers are introduced to the basic geography, topography, history, people, culture, climate, and industries of the Somali Republic.