Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa

by Don Brown

Born in England in 1862, Mary Kingsley lived a sheltered early existence, but one... read more

Born in England in 1862, Mary Kingsley lived a sheltered early existence, but one that nonetheless nurtured her sense of adventure and curiosity. While her father traveled the globe, Mary took care of her ailing mother. She didn’t go to school. She rarely left the house and garden. But she found contentment in the books of her father’s library. When she was 30 years old, both of her parents died. Mary, a woman who had been bound by duty, was suddenly set free. She decided to go alone to West Africa, the place that had captured her imagination in books. Don Brown’s sketch of Mary’s early years and some of her encounters in West Africa is, like Mary’s life, enriched by contradiction. The prose is restrained yet highly evocative. The illustrations, in pen and ink and watercolor, are subdued yet brimming with color and mood. An author’s note and bibliography provide additional information on the text and the sources. (Ages 7-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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