Nelson Mandela Book Poster Image

Nelson Mandela

(i)

 

Stellar art portrays key aspects of Mandela's life for kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Hits the high and low points for Nelson Mandela's amazing life. Introduces kids to the reality of apartheid in South Africa. A two-page author's note at the back gives a more detailed capsule of Mandela's life, including fun facts such as that he was the youngest in a family of four boys and nine girls, and a moving quote from Mandela about freedom. 

Positive messages

Stand up for what you believe in. Defend those who can't defend themselves. Use your intelligence to serve others and your ideals. Never give up hope. Work with others to fight for justice. In a quote in the author's note at the back, Mandela says, "We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success." 

Positive role models

Nelson Mandela decided to go to law school to defend "those who could not defend themselves." He never gave up hope, even when imprisoned unjustly for 27 years. Once free, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa, leading his people through a major political and societal transition. 

Violence & scariness

Shows boys in silhouette fighting with sticks. 

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Nelson Mandela is a kid-friendly biographical picture book that hits the turning points of the former South African president's life, from barefoot village kid to activist lawyer and anti-apartheid activist to prisoner for 27 long years, eventual freedom, and amazing rise to the presidency. Award-winning author-illustrator Nelson Kadir brings the same kind of dynamism and narrative power to his stunning oil paintings that he brought to I Have a Dream and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. Simple text combined with evocative paintings -- many with close-up views of emotive faces -- help kids see the how one individual was driven, against all odds, to bring justice, equality, and peace to his country. 

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

NELSON MANDELA traces the life of the former South African president from his poor village childhood through his education, struggle for racial equality under apartheid rule, his 27-year imprisonment, and eventual freedom and presidency of the country.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Dynamic art and simple text combine to convey the heroic nature of Mandela's life in ways even a young kid can understand. Author-illustrator Nelson Kadir's beautifully rendered moments in the great leader's life underscore the power of an individual to change the world, starting with the place where he lives, despite great odds and many years without success. An inspirational book about one of the world's most inspirational leaders.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what apartheid meant in South Africa. How was it different from or similar to segregation in the pre-Civil Rights United States? 

  • Does Nelson Kadir's painting of a whites-only beach look like any historical photos of the American South that you've seen?

  • What other heroes of social justice have you read books or seen movies about? 

Book details

Author:Kadir Nelson
Illustrator:Kadir Nelson
Genre:Biography
Topics:Great boy role models, History, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date:January 2, 2013
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 9
Available on:Hardback
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

This review of Nelson Mandela 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.

Quality

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.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

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

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Family Media Agreement