A Short List of Recommended Books, Videos, and Curricula for All Grades

ALL of these materials are available for free loan from BU’s African Studies Center

Primary (Pre-K–Grade 3)

The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, F. Heide & J. Gilliland
It Takes a Village, J. Cowen-Fletcher
Galimoto, K. Williams
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, J. Steptoe
What’s Cooking, Jamela, N. Daly
Fatuma’s New Cloth, L. Bulion and N. Tadgell

Elementary (Grade 1–6)

Aida, Leontyne Price
The Day Gogo Went to Vote, E. Sisulu
Africa Is Not A Country, M. Knight and M. Melnicove
Journey to Jo’burg, B. Naidoo
Sundiata: Lion King of Mali, D. Wisniewski
Shaka King of the Zulus, D. Stanley
(Some of the books listed under the “Primary” category above are also appropriate for elementary)

Middle (Grade 6–8)

Bury My Bones But Speak My Words, T. Fairman
Waiting for the Rain, S. Gordon
The Captive, J. Hansen
The African Mask, J. Rupert
Out of Bounds: seven stories of conflict and hope, B. Naidoo
(Some of the books listed under “Elementary” above are also appropriate for middle school)

High (Grade 9–12)

Things Fall Apart, C. Achebe
African Short Stories, ed. C. Innes and C. Achebe
African-American Literature: Voices in a Tradition (textbook: Holt Rinehart) (includes African as well as African American literature ]
The Wedding of Zein, T. Salih
Sundiata: An Epic of Mali, D.T. Niane
Dark Child, C. Laye
Weep Not Child, Ngugi wa Thiong’o [Ngugi is his last name]
Joys of Motherhood, B. Emecheta
Master Harold and the Boys, A. Fugard
Nervous Conditions, T. Dangarembga
The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba (featuring an excellent teaching guide)


A Short List of Teaching Resources

Printed curricula:

Building a Nation: A decisions-decisions simulation, Tom Snyder (M, H)
Through African Eyes, Ed., Leon Clark (M&H)*, Volume 1 only
African Studies Handbook for Teachers, UMass Center for International Education (E & M)
La Vie Familiale en Afrique Francophone [Family Life in French-speaking Africa], Stanford Program in InterCultural Education-SPICE (H)
Africa Today: An Atlas of Reproducible Pages, World Eagle (E, M, H)
Introductory Activities on Africa and Recognizing Myths and Stereotypes, AFAM Int’l (E & M) out of print; available only from BU African Studies Center
Empires and Kingdoms of Sub-Saharan Africa, Teachers Curriculum Institute (M)
African Proverbs, C. Leslau (all)
Global Studies: Africa, J. Ramsey (all)

Some Great Websites:

www.africaacessreview.org a great guide to good books (as well as books to avoid)
lesson plans, teaching tips, annotated bibliographies of classroom materials, and more
school-level lesson plans and more

Some Great Videos:

Africa: A Voyage of Discovery, Film Inc. (H)
Family across the Sea, SC Public Television (H)
Georgina Williams of Ghana: A day in the life of a child (E, M)
Journey to Understanding, Altschul Films (M & H) A video series introducing key aspects of contemporary African life. Mention my name to Mary Moreth, their customer service rep, and get a 50% discount!

Plus 300 more videos in the BU African Outreach library available for loan!

Barbara B. Brown, PhD
Director of the African Outreach Program
Many, many additional resources may be obtained by:

  • contacting the African Studies Center’s Outreach Program: Africa@bu.edu;
  • calling 617-353-7303;
  • visiting the African Studies Center’s Outreach library at 232 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215 (an appointment is recommended).

* refers to the grade level of the students the teacher is working with.

E = Elementary; M = Middle; H = High School

September 2004