This year for picture book month I am going to read a picture book set in Africa each day. I will be striving for a mix of folklore, picture book biographies and picture books with modern settings.
November 1 (Kenya): For You Are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cunnane, art by Ana Juan. A boy who should be tending his grandfather’s cattle experiences manages an adventurous day filled with explorations.
November 2 (unnamed country): Next Stop- Zanzibar Road! by Niki Daly. Another day in the life tale, this one filled with rhythmic language and focused on the adventures of the elephant Mama Jumbo and her “flippy-floppy,, flappy-slippy, this-way-that-way pompom” hat.
November 3 (Ethiopia) – Yuvi’s Candy Tree by Lesley Simpson, illustrations by Janice Lee Porter. A fictional story based on the true story of Yuvi Tashome’s escape from Ethiopia to Israel through Sudan as part of Operation Moses.
November 4 (Tanzania) – Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, illustrated by Christy Hale. Elizabeti loves and cares for her new doll just like Mama cares for her new baby brother. A CLEL Silver Bell Award Book for Play: Early Literacy Activities Sheet
November 5 (Sudan) – My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Catherine Stock – When Sangoel moves from the refugee camp to America, he finds an innovative way to make his name clear to his new classmates. Teacher’s Guide from Karen Lynn Williams.
November 6 (Maasai tale) – The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks retold by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Yumi Heo. An ostrich mother struggles to regain her chicks from a lonely lioness who wants to be their mother.
November 7 (Botswana) – Honey, Honey, Lion by Jan Brett. Honeybird and honey badger usually work together to get honey, but one day honey badger greedily eats all the honey. A mistake he will not repeat! Companion Name the Botswana Animals activity by Jan Brett.
November 8 (West Africa) – The Sticky Doll Trap by Jessica Souhami. A trickster tale featuring lazy rabbit, a hard-earned (by the other animals) water hole and a big bush of thorns.
November 9 (Ethiopia) – The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela by Christina Kessler, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins. Determined to become a beekeeper, a girl named Almaz successfully takes on village tradition, tall trees and determined ants.
November 10 (West Africa) – Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke, illustrations by Lauren Tobia. Anna Hibiscus’ happiness grows and grows as her family shares how they express happiness and, especially, when she find the expression just right for her. Author interview at Playing by the Book.
November 11 (South Africa) – Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu, illustrated by A. J. Ford. Archbishop Tutu teaches about forgiveness by sharing a hurtful incident from his youth.
November 12 (Liberia) – Head, Body, Legs retold by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert, illustrated by Julie Paschkis. A creation and cooperation story ending in a tasty treat.
November 13 – Hot Hippo by Mwenye Hadithi and Adrienne Kennaway. A pourquoi tale explaining hippos’ home in water while resisting eating the fish.
November 14 (West Africa) – The Hunterman and the Crocodile by Baba Wague Diakite. A hunter is taught the importance of living in harmony with nature in this version of folktale, The Ungrateful Serpent Returned to Captivity.
November 15 – Here is the African Savanna by Madeleine Dunphy, illustrated by Tom Leonard. A cumulative tale introducing children to the animals and ecosystem of the African savanna.
November 16 (Ghana) – The Spider Weaver by Margaret Musgrove, illustrated by Julia Cairns. An origin legend of the beautiful kente cloth woven in Ghana.
November 17 (Nigeria) – A Triangle for Adaora: An African Book of Shapes by Ifeoma Onyfulu. Children are introduced to African culture as little Adaora learns her shapes and her cousin finds her a triangle.
November 18 (West Africa) – Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott. Another trickster tale. This one recounts how Rabbit gains both wisdom and, inadvertently, speed.
November 19 (Nigeria) – Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert, illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Mrs. Chicken escapes from the hungry crocodile by convincing her that they are sisters.
November 20 (Cameroon) – Sense Pass King retold by Katrin Tchana, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. The story of a clever girl, with more sense than the king of the seven villages.
November 21 (Nigeria) – Master Man told by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by David Wisniewski. A Hausa tall tale of battling strong men in graphic novel form.
November 22 ( Malawi) – The Mean Hyena retold by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Michael Bryant. Tortoise paints the animals’ colourful coats, but, out of revenge, destroys the coat of Hyena.
November 23 (West Africa) – The Leopard’s Drum: An Asante Tale by Jessica Souhami. Slow turtle uses his wits to bring Nyame, the Sky God, the leopard’s drum that the larger and faster animals could not.
November 24 (Somalia) – The Lion’s Share retold by Said Salah Ahmed, illustrated by Kelly Dupre. A fable about the misuse of power by a lion after hunting a camel with the help of many animals.
November 25 (Massai, Tanzania) – We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Julie Cairns. Maasai children go searching for animals while teaching the readers how to count in Swahili.
November 26 (Ila, Zambia) – Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan. Blackbird, voted the most beautiful bird in the fores, shares his colour and wisdom with the other birds.
November 27 (Morocco) – My Father’s Shop by Satomi Ichikawa. Through play, Mustafa helps his father’s carpet shop.
November 28 – Hippo Goes Bananas! by Marjorie Dennis Murray, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley. Word play fills this energetic story of a hippo with a toothache.
November 29 (Egypt) – Voyage to the Pharos by Sarah Gauch, illustrated by Roger Roth. A young boy accompanies a merchant ship to the great city of Alexandria and the Pharos Lighthouse.
November 30 (Somalia, Kenya) – Muktar and the Camels by Janet Graber, illustrated by Scott Mack. An orphan refugee is able to fulfill a dream thanks to a camel bookmobile.