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Remembering Nelson Mandela

Former South African president and revolutionary Nelson Mandela passed away last week. Honor his memory by reading (and sharing) these recommended books about Mandela, his anti-apartheid activism, and his political career. All titles were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide at the time of their publication; reviews are reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online.

Mandela, Nelson  Long Walk to Freedom
Gr. K–3     64 pp.     Roaring Brook/Flash Point     2009
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-566-7

Illustrated by Paddy Bouma. Abridged by Chris van Wyk. At the start of this abridged autobiography, Mandela’s gentle voice recollects a near idyllic childhood. Ensuing years encompass his association with the ANC, the opening of his law office, and his imprisonment; the book ends in 1994 when Mandela is elected president of South Africa. Butter-hued pages and warm-toned illustrations loosely outlined in black cast a rich glow over the story. Timeline. Glos.

Nelson, Kadir  Nelson Mandela
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     HarperCollins/Tegen      2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-178374-6
Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-178376-0

Moving swiftly through crucial moments in Mandela’s life, from childhood tragedy to his outcry against apartheid to his nearly thirty-year imprisonment, release, and eventual presidency, this pictorial biography aptly honors the South African revolutionary. Nelson’s signature large-scale portraits capture both the strength and emotions of his subject–particularly the text-less cover featuring Mandela’s visage with a dignified expression. Bib.

Daly, Niki  The Herd Boy
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Eerdmans     2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-8028-5417-9

Herd boy Malusi has grander ambitions: to be president. After making a courageous rescue of their flock from baboons, Malusi and his friend Lungisa see a fancy car drive up. Inside is a man (clearly Nelson Mandela, though unnamed) who offers encouragement to Malusi to pursue his dream. Daly’s expansive illustrations highlight the beauty of the South African landscape’s rocky austerity. Glos.

Keller, Bill  Tree Shaker: The Story of Nelson Mandela
Gr. 4–6     128 pp.     Kingfisher/Houghton     2008
Trade ISBN 978-0-7534-5992-8

New York Times Book series. Journalist and editor Keller presents a well-rounded portrait of the South African civil rights activist, from freedom fighter to prisoner to president and beyond. Keller’s vivid writing brings to life his subject and the complex history of South Africa. Quotations, newspaper excerpts, anecdotes, and interviews with Mandela provide the basis for the book’s information. Many photographs chronicle events. Timeline, websites. Bib., ind.

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