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Africa is not a Country
Knight, Margy Burns and Mark Melnicove; Anne Sibley O'Brien (illus.) Africa is not a Country. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2000. $24.90, ISBN 761312668.

Note: Demonstrates the diversity of the African continent by describing daily life in some of its fifty-three nations.

AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY is perhaps the first picture book about the African continent to respectfully present the diversity of people living in its 53 countries. Heretofore, few publishers have collaborated with an African studies center to produce an accurate, objective presentation. Finally, these authors have created a book that explicitly describes and illustrates the multi-dimensions of the continent. The cover illustration is an indication of the contents. It shows elementary-school-aged children from various countries dressed in assorted apparel in an apparent declaration that they are not one nationality, race, or religion. The inside cover affirms this declaration as children from the 53 countries with their flags march into the book led by the Somalis. The title page shows a rural setting where many families live. A physical map with current country and capital names and a description of the continent follows. The authors and illustrator subsequently have chosen 25 countries from all the regions of the continent to depict its diversity. They begin with Eritrea, most recently independent. In addition, they feature often forgotten children from Cape Verde, Lesotho, Mauritania, and Madagascar. Moreover, it focuses on children's activities and not those of adults. The appendix provides basic information for each African country to enable children to compare data. Finally, the book ends with the children marching into the text but with their country names over their flags. This book should be required reading for all U.S. children.

Rating: HR Grade: P / E Type: Book

Reviewed by: Patricia Kuntz

Subject: Africa / CABA Winner