Even though my kids aren't with me on this trip to Africa, I've been trying to find ways to bring them along virtually. Reading books and looking at pictures is one way to do that, and has been a fabulous leaping off point for discussions about traditions and folklore, how people live around the world, some of the things we take for granted, and some things (like being in a family) that are the same no matter where you live.
I thought I'd share some of the books we've been reading. Even if Africa is only a distant dream for your family, it's fun and rewarding to learn about a new place.
This Caldecott winning book is based on a Nigerian story about how a visit from Ocean caused Sun and Moon to move to the sky.
The picture-packed Eyewitness Books series is especially great for learning about places that look very different than where we are. This one does a nice job of covering a lot of ground, both in terms of the number of cultures represented, and in terms of the topics covered.
In this story, a mother and son walk from their village to the market to buy flour for pancakes. On the way, the son excitedly invites each of his many friends to join them for dinner. His poor mom, worried about how far she can stretch their limited flour clucks and worries about each new guest. At the end of the story, each guest arrives with a gift of food, and their feast is doubled many times over by their generosity. This book is a great leaping off point for many different discussions depending on what your child is interested in. One way you might go is with a concrete discussion about how lives look different in many parts of the world, but that values around family and sharing are the often the same. Another aspect of the story is the fact that we don't all have the same resources, but we can find ways to help each other out.
The soothing pictures and rhyming story in Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain make this a great choice for younger kids, especially if they love animals.
Some books were given to me by the publishers for review and I have donated them to my childrens' school library. If you buy the book using the Amazon link, I earn a small commission, and that income helps me keep the site going.