Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…

Last week we introduced our readers to the Read the World Book Club… and for the next couple of weeks we are going to be posting a pile of our favourite books from each continent… and you are welcome to join us on our journey. This week our book journey takes us to Africa…

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Welcome to Africa

Africa is a continent very dear to us, our family were all born under an African sky… traveling in Africa is an experience that is hard to believe, it is a place with a wide open spaces, challenges that are beyond challenging… Africa tends to teach you a lot about your heart… and because of that, people love it here. It is a part of the world that is worth exploring, a part of the world that remains so foreign to most folk that is is hard to imagine going there… but if get the chance then head out… your heart will be changed forever and it will be so worth it.


So we are ready for a little virtual voyaging in Africa… our puzzle is out, the kids have pulled out a couple of Africa books and we are really good to go…

Travels in Africa



A couple of years back we took a trip to Lesotho… and you can read all about it here. The thing about traveling is that wherever you go things can be quite different to home, but that being said a lot of things will never change… friendly faces, children playing and laundry of course.

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Our Favourite Books from Africa

Actual Factual Books

Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain by Mitsuaki Iwago: This is a coffee table book and really a photographic experience of a year on the African Plains and the animals that live on the Serengeti. There is life and death, and the daily drama… From frogs to zebra, hippos to impala… and of course the annual migration. Beautiful, beautiful book… if you are looking for the feel of the African plains then this would be the book of choice.

This is a large coffee table book, small people literally have to lie on it to explore the page they are looking at. There is something to read about every single country… the best places to visit, ow to get there and how to do the things you would like to do while yo are there. And of course it is an Atlas… so detailed maps to explore. This is a fabulous book for folk that love exploring and going on adventures…

This is a collection of three books in one… each book looks at a different natural environment in Africa. A ranger takes you for a wander through the book, on a river safari, a desert safari and a bush veld safari. These books are packed with fabulous nature study activities… there is so much natural factual information and things to do in the pages of these books. All about spotting wildlife, the plants and animals… how to survive, how to track and recognise wildlife. My kids have literally worn this book out more than once.

This is a fabulous goto book, a great resource for all things Africa, we return to it again and again. It provides a look at living in Africa, and provides heaps of hands on projects to keep the reader interested and engaged as they wander along. This book takes a look at the rich cultural diversity that is Africa, wealth and poverty, rural and urban, living alongside each other. This is a book that I dip into with my kids, there is some gritty real life issues in a couple of places that older students should be aware of, but for my middle schoolers and below I do edit as I read. The projects reflect the people and cultures that they represent and provide a great mix of activities.

Folklore and Poetry

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This is on of my younger kids’ favourite books ever, I wrote about how it inspired them here.

Picture Books…

A Kite’s Flight by William Gumede, illustrated by Maja Sereda: This is the story of Andile, who is a little boy that lives in Cape Town. He makes a kite with his Papa. The wind lifts the kite into the sky… and the kite flies across Africa and a number of landmarks on the way… over grasslands, over jungle and over the Sahara desert. the kite flies all the way to a little boy called Ahmed in Egypt, who together with his Papa, plan to fix the weather worn kite, so that the kite will be ready for another journey.

For cross-cultural picture books Barefoot Books can’t be beat… and these books by Laurie Krebs are part of a round the world series and are fabulous… they have a rhythm and rhyme… and joy to them that is uplifting. These are books that you and your children are going to want to read again and again.

This book is delightful… and demonstrates the generosity of hospitality that we have found all over Africa… it doesn’t matter how little you have, you still invite everyone over. The back of the book has a couple of interesting facts and a map (vital for young map lovers) and a recipe. We had to adjust the recipe a little when we made them, as we doubled and tripled and quadrupled the recipe… the great thing about this recipe is the yummy spices inside them… gotta love!!!

Easy Chapter Books

Anna Hibiscus is pure delight, set in modern day Africa. The story of a little girl whose family and extended family enjoy life in a village, except for her mother’s family who live in far off Canada. The author presents some delightful chaos that naturally happens when living in a full and multigenerational household. The stories celebrate life in a village in Africa and the joy and sweet attitude of Anna makes these books a great place to escape. Once you read one Anna Hibiscus story you will want to read them all… these are the kind of stories that you just want to climb into.

By the same author as Anna Hibiscus, meet the delightful character No 1, who lives in a village “somewhere” in Africa. He is called No 1 because he lives on the main road into town and so gets to hear cars going past and is always the first to identify a car going by, from the sound of the engine. This is a game we used to play as kids, “spot the car just by listening.” Anyway, No 1 gets into a number of boyish scrapes and does his fair share of getting into and out of trouble. All the while the reader gets to learn about life in a very different culture, with different family values, different food… and really a different world to the one they live in.

These are on our wish list… and come highly recommended. The ever popular No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexandar McMcall Smith now has a prequel for young readers and we meet our detective, Precious Ramotswe, as a child. Her father provides mysteries for her to solve If you have a child that loves mysteries then I have a feeling that they are going to love these…

Chapter Books

This book is a family favourite, and the author tells his own story. It is about his life journey, from the plains of Africa as a Massai cattle herd, to the world of medical school in the United States. It begins with the antics of life as a young boy, part of a nomadic family and his responsibility to look after the family wealth, their cattle. At the time, every family had to send one child to school… and he tells of his life at school… and how difficult it was. The memoir continues with him as he grows up… Despite going to college and university in the United States, he still returns to his family and his roots for a couple of months each year… and even this provides some amusing incidents with tourists visiting his village. I read this inspiring book as an adult and could not put it down, it provides a deep insight into a life that most of us cannot begin to imagine.

This story is not just incredible because it says so on the cover or because it is true, it is a really rather epic story because most of us don’t really believe in miracles. We are wrong of course. This is the story of a boy who reaches rock bottom, living on the streets in Zimbabwe. He was abandoned by his mother at a very young age and has to fend for himself… and his two younger siblings. Poverty is the least of his worries… An astonishing event when he is twenty turns his whole life around. This book is the junior version of Out of the Black Shadows, it is an astonishing read and a story of hope and encouragement for all of us. We highly recommend this book and certainly all my kids will read it sometime during their school career.

This book is a must read, spoiler alert there is a tragedy within the pages, but learning about coping with tragedy within the safety of the pages of a book is bot a bad thing, per se. This is the story of Solomon, a village boy who loves to run… you can feel the dust between your toes as you read this book… it is beautifully written and will leave you feeling like you have been on a journey there. this is one of those books that will take Africa from being just “a place on a map” to a place rich with people, with passion and hopes and dreams.

Previous Posts in this Series

Se7en Are Off on a Book Voyage

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10 Replies to “Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…”

  1. Great selections, for us virtual tourists!

    My aunt and uncle lived in Africa many, many years ago – a little over years ago. They were in Malawi for about 5 years. How I’ve wished (and wished then) that I’d been able to take the opportunity to visit! They’re no longer world travelers but what a life they’ve lived – and I will just continue to be a virtual traveler until I get the chance to see with my own eyes!

  2. Hay Christi, I really hope you find your way to Africa… even for a moment. It is heart changing and you will love it!!! Hope you have a fabulous day on the far side of the world!!!

  3. Hay Catjuggles, wow that brings back memories, I am definitley going to get that from the library for my older guys… thank you!!! Have a wonderful day!!!

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