A Pride of African Tales

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9780060249298: A Pride of African Tales

This treasure trove of lavishly illustrated stories comes from different regions in Africa. In "Anansi," an uproarious story from Ghana, the tables are turned on lazy Anansi. "The Boy Who Wanted the Moon," set in the Congo, explains why there are monkeys in the world. "Shansa Mutongo Shima," a thrilling story of the Tabura people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reveals the dangers of judging by appearances. In "The Roof of Leaves," from the Congo, a married couple learns a lesson about anger and forgiveness. "The Wedding Basket," set in Nigeria, is a cautionary tale about taboos. In "The Talking Skull," from Cameroon, a foolish man learns too late the wisdom of keeping his mouth shut.

Each tale reflects the rhythms and cadences of the storyteller's muse. For her research, Donna Washington consulted as many written and oral sources as she could find. And award-winning artist James Ransome's stunning water-color paintings illuminate the diversity of the African people, clothing, architecture, landscape, and wildlife. Readers will discover that despite the variety, these stories about human foibles hold universal truths for everyone, everywhere.

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About the Author:

Donna L. Washington is a professional storyteller, multiple-award-winning recording artist, and author. She performs all over the country at festivals, schools, and libraries and gives workshops for parents and educators as well. Her many storytelling recordings have received Gold and Silver Parents' Choice Awards, Storytelling World Awards, iParenting Awards, Children's Music Web Awards, National Parenting Publications Awards Honors, and many more. Ms. Washington lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Durham, North Carolina.



James Ransome has illustrated more than fifty books for children. His titles include The Creation by James Weldon Johnson, winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; and My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner. He lives in New York State and teaches illustration at Syracuse University. See more of his work at www.jamesransome.com.

From Booklist:

Gr. 2-5. In her introduction to this fine collection of African tales, Washington speaks of her project a bit sheepishly. After all, she writes, "Stories are meant to be told," not written down. Nonetheless, children who encounter these supple, charismatic retellings will not come away feeling shortchanged. Her choices represent a range of cultures and genres, including an Anansi trickster tale, a pourquoi tale, and several cautionary tales, but all explore human folly with a light, generous touch. Washington adopts a new voice for each story, sometimes incorporating phrases that presumably reflect the conventions of the featured region ("People, I will tell you of a little thing, a little, little thing"), and she provides meticulous source notes. Ransome contributes lush, naturalistic watercolors, reinforcing the stories' varied origins by altering the landscape and costumes as appropriate and providing maps for geographical context. Storytellers looking for material will welcome this versatile offering, as will educators seeking to deepen children's understanding of Africa's diversity and the richness of its narrative tradition. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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