Written and Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Nelson Mandela is internationally recognized for being a revolutionary, politician, and lawyer who served as South Africa's first black president. This story gives children a glimpse into his life and the work that he did to end apartheid and progress South Africa. Look over the cover and illustrations and discuss the images that catch your child's attention.
Talk About The Cover.
What do you see on the cover?
How is this cover different from most that you've seen? (Point out that the Title and Author are not included on the cover. Ask why that might be.)
Ask, "Do you know who Nelson Mandela is?" Explain that he was the first black President of South Africa who helped to end apartheid in that country (which is when people are separated in society based on the color of their skin). Say that you will learn more about Mandela and apartheid in the story and begin reading.
As You Read
Address words that your child may not be familiar with and help him/her discover their meanings.
Several Zulu words are incorporated into the story so be sure to point them out and explain what they mean. Here are a few English and Zulu words that your child may not know:
2. AMANDLA ("power" in zulu)
3. NGAWETHU ("to us" in zulu)
Nelson Mandela was a symbol of hope, even when he was imprisoned. When Mandela sneaks a letter to his people assuring them that he will return, talk to your child about having hope and how that makes people feel. Say that although he was in jail, people still felt hopeful that he would help them.
For more information on Mandela's life, refer to the biography in the back of the book. Then have a discussion about Nelson's determination and character. Work together to answer these questions and talk about the story.
Get Your Child's Opinion.
Did you like that story? Why or why not?
What was your favorite part?
Discuss Mandela's Character.
What was Nelson Mandela fighting against?
What would you do if you saw that someone was being unkind to another person?
When he left the country, he could have stayed away to protect himself but he came back and was captured. Why did he come back?
Activity: Write A Letter To Nelson Mandela
Supplies: pen/pencil and a piece of paper
Encourage your child to write a letter to the late Nelson Mandela telling him about his/her experience reading this story. For younger children, write down what s/he wants to say in the letter Allow older children to write the letter on their own. Here is a template for how your letter can be structured:
Dear Nelson Mandela,
I read a story about you today and I thought it was _____________ because...
I learned that...
I think you were _______ because...
I hope that one day...