25 Favorite Africa Picture Books
Our family is finishing up our 12-week study of Africa and we've compiled a list of our favorite Africa picture books. We are working through the Mission: World Wonders curriculum by Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood and adding in some of the book recommendations from Around the World in Picture Books Part 1 by Beautiful Feet Books. I also love using Jamie C. Martin's Give Your Child the World for global book recommendations; it has been an invaluable resource as we traverse the continents through books this year.
These 25 picture books about Africa were our favorites out of the nearly 100 picture books we've read. Our children were most drawn to true stories about children just like them that face hardship with resilience. Our family will come away from our Africa study with feelings of gratitude for clean water and reliable sources of food (not a given in many African nations) and a deep admiration for the strength and resourcefulness of the African people. We've met a lot of heroes through these books.
The links below are Amazon affiliate links, and I'll receive a small commission if you purchase (thank you!). But I'd recommend looking for the books at your library first.
African Picture Books by Country
The Water Princess by Susan Verde
Rain School by James Rumford
A Giraffe Goes to Paris by Mary Tavener Holmes
Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heidi & Judith Heidi Gilliland
Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford
Exodus by Brian Wildsmith
Joseph by Brian Wildsmith
Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
Mama Panya's Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlain
For You Are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cunnane
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola
Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prevot
Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter
Why the Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale by Mary-Joan Gerson
The Day Gogo Went to Vote by Elinor Batezat Sisulu
Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams
We All Went On Safari by Laurie Krebs
Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell
My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel
The Watcher by Jeanette Winter
Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema
We also read a few chapter books we'd love to recommend:
The Anna Hibiscus series - These chapter books are suited for a younger audience (our 3-year-old even loves listening in!) and chronicle the life of Anna Hibiscus and her large extended family who live in Africa. The stories are engaging and the perfect introduction to a new culture. Start with the first one, but you'll probably want the whole series.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park - This is the profoundly thought-provoking story of two Sudanese children and how their lives ultimately intertwine. Salva Dut was a "Lost Boy of Sudan," a refugee who walked across the African continent on foot seeking refuge. This book is recommended for ages 10 and up due to some intense content (encounters with armed rebels, killer lions and crocodiles, famine, drought). The story left me speechless. This is a must-read for any family studying Africa (or just for the mom, if you have younger kids).
Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt by Janet & Geoff Benge - This book chronicles the true life events of Lillian Trasher, an American who spends 50 years in Egypt caring for thousands of orphans. Her faith in the face of great need was such an inspiring read.