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Ancient Africa resources

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Any books or resources you can recommend? This will be for 6th grade. I want to go more in depth with ancient Africa so that my kids understand that the history of Africa doesn't simply begin with the European slave trade.

 

Thanks!

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The Ancient Egyptian World by Oxford University Press https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-ancient-egyptian-world-9780195173918?cc=us&lang=en&

 

The African and Middle Eastern World by Oxford University Press   covers 600-1500 A.D.

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-african-and-middle-eastern-world-600-1500-9780195176735?cc=us&lang=en&

 

Look for them at the library or used. 

 

Also, if you are interested in folk tales, there was a book of African folk tales recommended in the WTM that we enjoyed. 

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Quick preface to my response: Africa is a huge continent filled with extremely diverse peoples, cultures, geography, and histories, so you might consider spending a year and looking at the continent in six 6-week units, and study key countries/peoples in each area to get a feel for the tremendous diversity. :) (For example, although at an elementary level, Africa is Not a Country (Lewin) -- or possibly this one: Africa is Not a Country (Knight), and the go-along activity guide Step into Africa: Elementary Level Activities Using Africa is Not a Country (Starbird) might be a starting point.)

 

Other than Ancient Egypt, there are not a lot of resources out there on *ancient* African peoples and nations. There are a number of late elementary/middle school level books on the kingdoms that arose in different parts of Africa during the *middle ages*. Is that okay for what you're looking for? Also, totally agree with previous poster about looking at the myths, music, foods, etc. to get a feel for the different cultures of the different peoples. Some historical background info will naturally tend to come along with that, and it will be info that is not "in the shadow" of European slave trade of Africans.

 

Below are a few ideas to get you started. Hope something there helps! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

past threads:

"Looking for good materials about Africa" -- links to lots of resources (not necessarily all are ancient time period)

 

some possible books:

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (Musgrove) -- informational picture book

Mansa-Musa and the Empire of Mali (Oliver)

The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa (McKissack)

Kids Discover magazine: "African Kingdoms"

Metropolis: Ancient African Town (MacDonald) -- gr. 5-8 level

Glorious Age in Africa (Chu) -- gr. 6-9 level

 
Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors (Broida) -- covers Egyptians and Nubians (ancient north African nations), and Hittites and Mesopotamians (ancient Asia-Minor nations)

African Folktales (Vernon-Jackson)

African Myths and Folktales (Woodson)

Edited by Lori D.

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The Epic of Sundiata Keita is a fave.

and Mansa Musa as well.

 

The epics Mwindo and Gassire's Lute are also good reads.

 

The African Middle Ages, 1400-1800 by Roland Oliver

 

Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey Stanley D Alpern

 

Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 by Patricia C. McKissack

 

History of Africa Kevin Shillington

 

A History of the African People By Robert W. July

 

Classical Africa Molefi Kete Asante

 

For Sundiata you might also want to search under Sonjara, Sunjata, Sogolon Djata

 

You might also want to search "The Lost Kingdoms of Africa" on youtube great series from the BBC

 

Africa's Great Civilaztions PBS

Edited by happybeachbum

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The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer could be a good extra choice to read as a go along - it's a scifi novel that takes place in the future in Zimbabwe, but the characters in the book go back to a sort of timeless ancient Africa and have to choose where to be - it's sort of exploring African roots and their connection to a modern Africa. It's a good book - I think it won a Newbery Honor ages ago.

 

Seconding the PBS and BBC series mentioned above. IME, there aren't a ton of great resources for this topic for kids, sadly. But there are some great adult resources that would be accessible in a couple of years to an older middle schooler and to high schoolers. I really like Africa: A Biography of a Continent by John Reader. It's absurdly long, but the sections and chapters can be read separately like articles for the most part.

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The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer could be a good extra choice to read as a go along - it's a scifi novel that takes place in the future in Zimbabwe, but the characters in the book go back to a sort of timeless ancient Africa and have to choose where to be - it's sort of exploring African roots and their connection to a modern Africa. It's a good book - I think it won a Newbery Honor ages ago...

 

Totally agree the premise is great as well as the connections with older African cultures, AND, I loved that it was sci-fi with non-white American/British characters -- how cool is that for some variety! :)

 

BUT, just a heads-up: it is so NOT-well-written! Clunk-clunk-clunk!  :eek: No depth of character, and often feels like random, unconnected series of events rather than a plot that builds up complexity and develops interesting themes. SO disappointing. :( I love YA books, but the ONLY thing that helped me finish this one was the unique culture/setting and premise. :( Same author's House of the Scorpion was better written, but still needed a good editor's help to have lifted it from "interesting and creative" to "great". JMO!

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Totally agree the premise is great as well as the connections with older African cultures, AND, I loved that it was sci-fi with non-white American/British characters -- how cool is that for some variety! :)

 

BUT, just a heads-up: it is so NOT-well-written! Clunk-clunk-clunk!  :eek: No depth of character, and often feels like random, unconnected series of events rather than a plot that builds up complexity and develops interesting themes. SO disappointing. :( I love YA books, but the ONLY thing that helped me finish this one was the unique culture/setting and premise. :( Same author's House of the Scorpion was better written, but still needed a good editor's help to have lifted it from "interesting and creative" to "great". JMO!

 

Huh. We'll have to disagree on this one. It's been ages since I read it, but I thought the writing was fine and that it deserved its Newbery. I think A Girl Called Disaster is her best written book, though she's not a favorite writer of mine or anything. She's fine, basically.

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PBS has a 6 part mini series on ancient African history, called Africa's Great Civilozations. I really enjoyed it.

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