African Beginnings

by James Haskins, Kathleen Benson, and Floyd Cooper

The golden tone of Floyd Cooper's lush illustrations convey the rich history... read more

The golden tone of Floyd Cooper's lush illustrations convey the rich history of ancient cultures on the African continent, beginning with Nubia in 3800 BCE, which traded in gold, ebony, cattle, and ostrich feathers, and may have been the first culture to advance the idea of divine rulers, and ending with the Empire of the Kongo, which thrived from the 14th century to 1641, when its rulers were defeated by Portuguese armies. Arranged in chronological order according to the years each culture flourished, Haskins and Benson introduce young readers to these subjects, as well as Egypt, Kush and Meroë, Jenne-Jeno, the spread of Islam, Ghana, Mali, Songhay, Timbuktu, Benin, and Great Zimbabwe. Each subject is accorded a double-page spread that includes a brief text and a detailed landscape or city scene that gives a sense of time and place. (Ages 9-12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1998

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