When learning about any topic, books are the best place to start! And ever since I made my first Spanish booklist for kids back in June, I have started to realize that we can find those books/topics in Spanish too! This time we were looking for books about Africa in Spanish. I'm participating in a series called Kids Read the World, hosted by Kid World Citizen, and our first stop is Africa! We have already read Nos fuimos todos de safari and Las crepes de Mama Panya which you can read about here. Those books took us to Tanzania and Kenya. Today I'm sharing with you three picture books about Africa in Spanish that will take us to Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Cameroon.
To help me in my search for these books I started with a list I found by searching in Spanish at google.es (the Google for Spain). Then I chose the first three that I could find for reasonable prices on Amazon! You can see the list I started with here.
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Akissi: Ataque gatuno / Akissi: Feline Invasion — Ivory Coast
by Marguerite Abouet
Illustrations by Mathieu Sapin
Born in Ivory Coast in the city of Abidjan, author Marguerite Abouet created this collection of vignettes drawing inspiration from her alter ego as a child. You will LOVE Akissi. Akissi lives with her Mom and Dad and her two sisters. You can follow her day-to-day adventures like getting in a tumble with the neighborhood cats, playing dolls with her friends, or taking over a pick-up soccer game. Akissi is full of energy, and the illustrations in this book keep up with her and all the excitement she causes.
This book gets five stars from me. It was so fun to see the day-to-day life of a child in Ivory Coast. You can see what the city is like, how neighbors interact, what family life is like, what kids like to do for fun in their spare time, how they dress, and so much more can be observed in the illustrations. Kids will relate so much to Akissi's antics and will want to read the rest in this series (and others by Abouet) I am sure.
FUN FACT: Did you know that in total, seventy-eight languages are spoken in Ivory Coast? Akissi: Feline Invasion was originally written in French, the official language of the country.
La llamada de Sosu / Sosu's Call — Ghana
by Meshack Asare
PICTURE BOOK - Lexile 760L
Sosu, the main character of this story, lives a stone's throw from the sea, on a stretch of land where flooding is common. But the people choose to stay in this pueblo because the sea gives good fish, the lagoon nearby provides other delicacies, and the soil produces excellent produce for the market. Sosu lives with his parents, a sister, a younger brother, his dog, and lots and lots of chickens. Sosu's legs don't work and so he sees the world, and lives differently than the rest of his family and neighbors. His siblings go to school, but he does not. He stays and sits near the door of their house. His dad tries to help him do and learn as much as any normal boy, like repairing the fishing nets and taking him fishing, but his dad's efforts don't keep Sosu from knowing that the townspeople see him as different.
One day a situation arises where the only one to help is Sosu, and everything changes.
I enjoyed Asare's story-telling style so much. It was such a well-told story and so heartwarming to see the family interactions, and how a different-abled boy finds his own way to be special. The story also provides lots of opportunities to observe, through the illustrations, what the landscape is like where Sosu lives, how he and his family dress, how they eat, how they pass their time, what their community is like, and some of the belief systems their culture has. Another five stars from me for this one!
INTERESTING FACT: Did you know that Ghana became independent from the United Kingdom in 1957? It also has such varied geography that includes coastal savannahs, plains, lakes, and tropical rain forests!
El león de Kandinga - The Lion Kandinga — Cameroon
by Boniface Ofogo
Illustrated by Elisa Arguilé
Kandinga is a ferocious and powerful lion. His wicked reputation precedes him, and animals flee when they see him coming. He is so bad, that he will even eat his own friends when hunger over takes him. One day he meets up with a hare who has some tricks up her sleeve to teach the mean lion some lessons. Unfortunately for Kandinga, his ego gets in the way of any happy ending.
Author Boniface Ofogo was born in Cameroon, and loved hearing his brothers, parents, and uncles tell stories in the small town he grew up in. This story he shares is one of those fables he heard over and over again. At the end kids can learn a famous African saying based on this fable. The artwork is done in the style of traditional African art and sculptures which would be a great jumping-off point for learning more about African art styles. One last thing kids can observe about Africa from this story is some of those famous animals of the region that we all love. You can also read some facts about Cameroon in the author's note at the back of the book.
I think this might be the first African fable I've ever read . . . definitely the first one I have read in Spanish! I feel like a fable doesn't even need a star rating, because it's obviously so good that it has been told from generation to generation and has stood the test of time.
FUN FACT: Approximately 250 languages are spoken in Cameroon, making it one of the most linguistically diverse countries in THE WORLD!