Ashanti to Zulu

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions

by Margaret Musgrove

This is a beautifully illustrated alphabet book in which each letter leads to a 1-2 paragraph description of a legend, or belief, or cultural tradition of a different African people. Rich illustrations on every page. A Caldecott Medal winner.

Parents Beware: One myth tells of a queen sacrificing her only son to the crocodiles, to ensure the safety of her people. Another entry speaks of a warrior game in which the winner gets to eat the heart or liver of a “freshly killed animal.”

 

Tsion’s Life

by Stacy Bellward.

A beautifully illustrated biography, describing the everyday life of an eleven-year-old girl in Ethiopia, as well as that of her mom and dad, and five-year-old brother. The book includes an Ethiopian vocabulary word (written in Amharic script) on every page. It is also heavily illustrated with photographs of Tsion’s family, home, town, school, church, friends, and meals.

Nothing in this book would be at all concerning to share with even the very youngest, or most sensitive child. It is a beautiful, gentle book that demonstrates fine family values.

 

Children Just Like Me

by Anabel & Barnabas Kindersley  

This is a book of mini-biographies of children and families from around the world, with one biography per 2-page spread, and a delightful array of photographs and blurbs which tell the reader all about each child and his/her family, including: what the parents do for a living; what their home, school, and place of worship (if any) are like; what kinds of extracurricular activities they like to do; their hopes, fears, and dreams for the world; and of course, their favorite foods.

Parents Beware: One of the entries talks about a pair of orphans in Ethiopia, and the famine that caused their parents to die.

Families of the World Documentaries

Families of the World

a documentary series by Eleanor, Evan, and Mark Marquisee.

This is a magnificent set of short documentaries, one half-hour each, focused on showing a day-in-the-life of two children per country – one child in a rural setting, and one who lives in an urban setting. Each episode shows the child’s home life, school life, and religious life (if applicable). It also shows their parents’ work, and the types of food and entertainment that the family enjoys.

Twenty-eight countries are included in the series, demonstrating the normal, everyday life of children in a wide variety of cultures, scattered around the globe.

Parents Beware: In “Families of Afghanistan”, a girl’s grandfather is shown with missing arms, due to a land-mine explosion. In “Families of India”, and “Families of Ghana”, some mysogyny is evident in the degrading way that women of the family are treated by the men, including by their own, teenaged sons.