children's books about Kenya: fiction

July 30, 2010

Yesterday I shared some non-fiction children's books about Kenya. Today I'm sharing our favorite fiction finds. 

How the Ostrich Got Its Long Neck: A Tale from the Akamba of Kenya
How the Ostrich Got Its Long Neck retold by Verna Aardema

This was our favorite fiction find! It's a Kenyan folk tale from the Akamba people. I showed this book to my Kenyan friend Jimmy and he said, "Oh! I am Akamba! I know this story!" He also told me that each people group or community has the same base story, but has their own unique twist on it.

Juliet LOVED this story and we have read it over and over again. We have even acted it out several times. There are lots of great opportunties for sound effects and dramatic voices while reading this tale--I think that was part of the appeal.

Craft Ideas:

Lila and the Secret of Rain
Lila and the Secret of Rain by David Conway and Jude Daly

I thought this was a beautiful story and I especially love the illustrations. This story features a little girl from the Masai community.

Papa, Do You Love Me?
Papa Do You Love Me?  by Barbara M. Joosse

We fell in in love with this book--it's another beautifully illustrated book about the Masai people. This story focuses on a little boy.

Craft Ideas:
Masai collar necklaces
Rain sticks

A Kenya Christmas
A Kenya Christmas by Tony Johnston

This is the story of how a little boy wishes for Father Christmas to show up at his village. His aunt brings him a Santa suit and they get one of the local men to wear the costume and ride an elephant through the village. I'm not sure how realistic this story is--but it was fun to read.

Craft Ideas:
Soda Pop Santa 
Handprint Santa

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai (Frances Foster Books)
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola

This is not fiction, but it reads like it is--beautiful and story-like. The story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story of planting trees and starting the Green Belt Movement is inspiring and informational! I learned so much from this book and think it is perfect for elementary school aged children.

Activity Ideas:
View short film on Wangari Maathai
Grow Your Own Tree
Arbor Day's Kid's Website

Moja Means One (Picture Puffin)
Moja Means One  by Muriel Feelings

Activity Idea:
Swahili lesson

This is a swahili counting book that we own. We love opportunities to learn words for different languages!

Do you have any good children's books or crafts about Kenya to share? 


Raising a Happy Child said...

This is a great selection! We haven't read any Kenyan books yet, but we enjoyed one Anansi tale - unfortunately, the name escapes me at the moment. I have to revisit your suggestions when we get to Africa!

Janey said...

I am so excited that you have an international tab! Whenever my boys and I read a book that mentions a specific location, we get the globe out and point to it, or put a sticker on the world map in their room. I've really been searching for books lately from the library to help expand our discussions. This REALLY helps!

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