Children's Reading Suggestions

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Africa

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Patricia McKissack. Nzingha: Warrior Queen of the Matamba. (Angola)

Presents the diary of thirteen-year-old Nzingha, a sixteenth-century West African princess who loves to hunt and hopes to lead her kingdom one day against the invasion of the Portuguese slave traders.

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Alexander McCall Smith. The Great Cake Mystery. (Botswana)Click this cover for a(n) eBook sample of The Great Cake Mystery.

Have you ever said to yourself, Wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective? This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious. When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective.

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Roland Smith. The Cryptid Hunters. (Congo)

Twins, Grace and Marty, along with a mysterious uncle, are dropped into the middle of the Congolese jungle in search of their missing photojournalist parents.

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Jeff Brown. The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery. (Egypt)

Asked to travel to Egypt to help with an urgent archaeological expedition, Flat Stanley suspects that he might be helping grave robbers and must rely on his quick thinking, unique flatness, and new friends to make things right.

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Dorothy Sharp Carter. His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut. (Egypt)

A fictionalized account of the life of Hatshepsut, a queen in ancient Egypt who declared herself king and ruled as such for more than twenty years.

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Linda Sue Park. A Long Walk to Water. (Ethiopia)

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

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Kelly Cunnane. For You Are a Kenyan Child. (Kenya)

From rooster crow to bedtime, a Kenyan boy plays and visits neighbors all through his village, even though he is supposed to be watching his grandfather’s cows.

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Ingrid Mennen. One Round Moon and a Star For Me. (Lesotho)

A young boy of rural Lesotho needs reassurance that his father is still his papa, too, when a new baby is born into the family.

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Penda Diakite. I Lost My Tooth in Africa. (Mali)

While visiting her father’s family in Mali, a young girl loses a tooth, places it under a calabash, and receives a hen and a rooster from the African Tooth Fairy.

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Patricia St. John. Star of Light.  (Morocco)

In a mountain village in Morocco, an Englishwoman transforms the lives of her visiting niece, a blind baby girl, and an eleven-year-old boy through her work as a missionary nurse.

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Henning Mankell. Secrets in the Fire. (Mozambique)

As a victim of a landmine and a child of a war-torn country, Sophia turns to a village elder for advice and soon finds ways to cope with her difficult circumstances in order to grow into a person with great strength, determination, and a successful future. 

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Dave Jackson. Trial-by-poison. (Nigeria)

In 1888, change arrives in a small village in Calabar, Nigeria in the form of a courageous missionary named Mary.

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Mary Hoffman. The Color of Home.  (Somalia)

Hassan, newly-arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.

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Elinor Sisulu. The Day Gogo Went to Vote. (South Africa)

Thembi and her beloved great-grandmother, who has not left the house for many years, go together to vote on the momentous day when black South Africans are allowed to vote for the first time.

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Lauren St. John. The White Giraffe. (South Africa)

After a fire kills her parents, eleven-year-old Martine must leave England to live with her grandmother on a wildlife game reserve in South Africa, where she befriends a mythical white giraffe.

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Sonia Levitin. Dream Freedom.  (Sudan)

Marcus and his classmates learn about the terrible problem of slavery in present-day Sudan and raise money to help buy the freedom of some of the slaves. Alternate chapters tell the stories of the slaves.

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Eoin Colfer. Benny & Omar.  (Tunisia)

Benny is unhappy when his family moves to Africa, but then he meets Omar and a madcap friendship develops between the two. They torture and torment the whole village. Then real life intervenes and the boys must outwit the village guards, Benny’s parents, and the police.

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Page McBrier. Beatrice’s Goat.  (Uganda)

A young girl’s dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer.

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Nancy Farmer. A Girl Named Disaster. (Zimbabwe)

While journeying to Zimbabwe, eleven-year-old Nhamo struggles to escape drowning and starvation and in so doing comes close to the luminous world of the African spirits.

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