A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation

Eerdmans. Mar. 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780802855022.
Gr 2-5–Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. His mission to fight apartheid in South Africa was fueled by his passion for his people and the determination to dismantle an unjust system. Mandela’s conviction led to the creation of the Freedom Charter in 1955 by the African National Congress (ANC). During his years spent in prison, Mandela struggled with the horrible conditions and missed his family. However, he came to realize that at the heart of apartheid was racism, and the only way to counter racism was through love and understanding. Mandela used his time in prison to continue his education, reach out to the white guards, and keep in contact (as best he could) with the outside world. His allies in the ANC made sure he was not forgotten, and he became the symbol for their struggle. As the South African government worked to maintain control, Mandela reached out to government officials. They were surprised by his knowledge of Afrikaans, their history, culture, and his deep understanding of the needs and anxieties of the South African people. Finally free at the age of 71, Mandela helped his country find its way to freedom and democracy. Palmer’s powerful paintings complement this inspiring story of sacrifice and loss, devotion and learning, patience and hard work. Time lines, additional information about apartheid, and recommended resources are included. The author and illustrator notes provide further context.
VERDICT Highly recommended for libraries that need titles about the ongoing global fight against racism. Mandela’s journey makes for a powerful reminder of the ability to change.

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