Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions Book Poster Image

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions



An introduction to 26 African tribes.

What parents need to know

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Margaret Musgrove
Illustrators:Diane Dillon, Leo Dillon
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1977
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Caldecott Medal and Honors

This review of Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 for Apple. For older children, it contains interesting facts that they can use for more advance social studies projects, including in high school.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?