Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions

Book review by
Lisa Fratt, Common Sense Media
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions Book Poster Image
An introduction to 26 African tribes.

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age 5+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book's appeal lies primarily in its detailed illustrations, which invite reader reaction. The rather flat writing plays second fiddle to the art and the author's meticulous research.

User Reviews

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Adult Written bystkimmie October 4, 2010

Transcends from pre-schools to high school

It's a wonderful book that transcends as the child ages. For beginners, it's a wonderful alphabet book that is more challenging than the usual A is f... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Alphabet book, cultural guide, or work of art? Flawlessly researched by the author and the illustrators, ASHANTI TO ZULU is all three. Using unremarkably written but straightforward fact-telling, plus earth-toned artwork worthy of a museum wall, the book introduces its readers to a slice of life from each of twenty-six African tribes.


Is it any good?

ASHANTI TO ZULU is filled with authentic details of African tribal life, and the research behind this book is impressive. The illustrators consulted many sources before completing the artwork, but Leo and Diane Dillon, known for astoundingly gorgeous art, have balanced accuracy with beauty. They are meticulous down to the last details: You'll find intricately patterned clothing and authentic jewelry and headdresses.

This attention to detail may overwhelm younger kids and the flat, factual writing may bore some children. But with so much information packed into these colorful pages, all readers will learn something new. Taken in small doses, these pages are endlessly fascinating, and may prompt further discussion, research, and projects.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the distinctions among the tribes. What were some of the surprises for you? How could you learn more if you wanted to?

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