Bintou’s Braids

When Bintou, a little girl living in West Africa, finally gets her wish for braids, she discovers that what she dreamed for has been hers all along. A little girl named Bintou wants long, pretty braids that are woven with gold coins and seashells, just like her older sister and other women in their West African village. But she is too young for braids. When Bintou saves the lives of her two young cousins and is offered a reward, she discovers true beauty comes in many different forms.

Anansi the Spider: A Tale From the Ashanti (An Owlet Book)

Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief-maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes. In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his sons should Anansi reward? Calling upon Nyame, the God of All Things, Anansi solves his predicament in a touching and highly resourceful fashion. In adapting this popular folktale, Gerald McDermott merges the old with the new, combining bold, rich color with traditional African design motifs and authentic Ashanti language rhythms.

Black Man’s Grave: Letters From Sierra Leone

Black manThe memoir and the movie have only scratched the surface. Black Man’s Grave tells what happened to place the boy-turned-soldier in jeopardy and why Sierra Leone’s diamonds acquired their bloody tinge. Meet the greedy politicians who hijacked a fledgling democracy, the rebels who brought them down, and the villagers who struggled to survive the country’s chaotic descent. The cast includes Sierra Leone’s “big man,” Siaka Stevens; RUF leader Foday Sankoh, whose grandfatherly demeanor belied the viciousness with which he sought to impose his “revolution”; and one who aspired to the big man role, Charles Taylor from next-door Liberia. Taylor’s support for Sierra Leone’s rebel war expanded from initial hostility toward Stevens’s handpicked successor into a commercial venture that supplied arms in exchange for diamonds. In an offshoot of that pernicious trade, links between Sierra Leone’s diamonds and al Qaeda have been traced. The revelations of Black Man’s Grave help us understand the frustrations that simmer throughout much of the third world and threaten a peaceful future.

Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa

When Granny asks Pretty Salma to go to the market one day, she warns her not to talk to strangers. But cunning Mr. Dog tricks Salma, and before she knows it, he’s wearing her stripy ntama, her pretty white beads, and her yellow sandals. And he’s on his way to Granny’s house! African culture and flavor infuse this inventive retelling of a favorite fairy tale, and the vibrant lively illustrations bring it to life. The result is a story that combines new and old and spans cultures as successfully as it has spanned the centuries.