Dec 6, 2013

In Memory of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, without a doubt one of the greatest people to live in recent memory, sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 95. Mandela fought to end the system of apartheid, or separation of blacks and whites,  in South Africa and later served 27 years in prison for his activist efforts. He went on to become the country's first black President and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Today flags across the world, including those in the United States and flags outside of Buckingham Palace, England will fly at half-staff to mourn and celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.

Such an important world leader will surely be remembered for many years to come, and luckily there are some wonderful reading choices available so that even the littlest ones can be touched by this role model. 

 Nelson Mandela By Kadir Nelson. Katherine Tegen Books, 2013. 

A lovely picture book biography suited for preschoolers through fifth grade, brimming with gorgeous illustrations by award-winning artist and author Kadir Nelson. This would be a great introduction for young readers to Mandela's heroic life.


Long Walk to Freedom Abridged by Chris van Wyk, illustrated by Paddy Bouma. Flashpoint, 2009. 

Adapted from Mandela's best-selling autobiography for grade-school readers, this title covers his childhood, education and the events that led him to becoming one of the world's most important activists. Complete with full-page color paintings, this title focuses primarily on his early life in South Africa. 

Nelson Mandela by Laaren Brown and Lenny Hort. DK Children, 2006.

A detailed biography for middle school students and older, this title has a plethora of interesting historical photographs depicting Mandela at various stages in his life, activists during apartheid, and political figures. 

Nelson Mandela: The Authorized Comic Book  by The Nelson Mandela Foundation, illustrated by Umlando Wezithombe. W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. 

This graphic novel is suitable for a wide variety of ages and is both educational and inspirational. A great way to introduce Mandela and his meaningful life and work to a reluctant reader who may shy away from a tradtional chapter book.

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales edited by Marguerite Gordon. Illustrated by various artists. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. 

A great choice for school-age readers, this title is a wonderful selection of 32 African foktales compiled by Nelson Mandela and begins with a foreword by the leader himself. Many stories have their origins in South Africa while some come from other African countries such as Zimbabwe and Botswana.  The book also showcases 18 mostly South African iillustrators. A very special way to learn more about this great man and his country.

Share one of these books today with your children to celebrate a very important global leader who will surely inspire generations to come. He showed the world what a huge difference one person can make. 

 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
 July 18, 1918 -  December 5, 2013