From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom

illus. by Eric Walters. 40p. Tundra. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781770497191.
K-Gr 4—Walters has compiled a beautifully illustrated collection of 15 wise sayings from the cultures of a number of African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and more. The guidance and instruction embedded in these nuggets explore the cultural universals that are part of human life (and frailty) around the world. Famous gems such as "It takes a village to raise a child" (Nigeria) and "Many hands make light work" (Tanzania) highlight the commonality of humanity. Clever phrases such as "I pointed out to you the stars, but all you saw was the tip of my finger." (Tanzania) and "Rain does not fall on one roof alone." (Cameroon) share the communal knowledge that teaches and can be embraced by all. Walters notes in his introduction, "Africa is where we all started our journey on this planet." This book celebrates the human condition and explores the community that is part of our common history. These wonderful sayings are all the more engaging because they are accompanied by strikingly colorful full-page illustrations. Different artists from countries such as Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, the United States, and Cuba have interpreted each saying. The words appear in large, bold type and include explanation and information about their origin. Some of the illustrations are traditional such as, "No one tests the depth of the water with both feet," which depicts a woman in a head scarf carefully dipping her toe into a river. Others are quite stylized, "Travel is learning," shows a cartoonlike image of a black woman in a spacesuit standing on the moon.
VERDICT A lovely book that can be used as a introduction to cultural proverbs and will surely spark lively classroom discussions about the interpretation of meanings. A perfect celebration of art and community.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing