A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Well-researched, nuanced, and highly informative overview of major events and figures in early African history. Bibliography and suggested reading lists in the back provide plenty of additional resources for curious readers and teachers.
By continuing to study African history and culture, "perhaps we can give something back to the mighty continent from which so much has been taken."
Positive Role Models
Many of the people profiled in the book made major contributions to science, medicine, and African culture. Several also were military leaders who waged war across the continent and gained their power through brutal conquest.
These miniature biographies represent (and take seriously) the incredible diversity of cultures and traditions within the enormous continent of Africa, across time and place and among men and women. The vibrant illustrations highlight the distinctive style, dress, and skin tones that can be found throughout such a diverse area of the globe.
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Violence & Scariness
There are numerous battles and acts of state violence described when recounting the history of political and military leaders, though the author spares us the gory details.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tracey Baptiste's African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History is a thoroughly researched collection of short biographies of prominent and lesser known figures in pre-colonial African history. The book showcases the immense cultural, scientific, and intellectual contributions of people from every corner of the continent, with a view toward inspiring young readers to look deeper into the rich traditions and complex histories of a part of the world that has been excluded and ignored by mainstream historical narratives for far too long.
Is It Any Good?
This succinct and sweeping overview is surprisingly nuanced and filled with details and descriptions that bring the ancient world to life. Author Tracey Baptiste's writing is sophisticated but accessible, drawing from the latest research in history and archaeology. Full-color archival images of artifacts and vibrant illustrations by Hillary D. Wilson jump off the page and provide an eye-catching compliment to Baptiste's prose. The bibliography, notes, and additional resources provided in the appendix also offer a good starting point for further research for curious students and teachers, while the powerful author's and illustrator's notes explain the motivations of the creators of this marvelous book.
African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History is an exciting volume that will appeal not only to kids already interested in African history and culture, but also may stimulate and inspire young readers who've had limited exposure to the deep and entangled histories of the continent and its peoples.
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