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Africa for Kids Review by Ta’Neisha KempHarvey Croze
Chicago Review Press
Phone: (312) 337-0747
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
For the past two months our son has worked through this, information filled, activity book that allowed him to read, learn, create, and explore all things Africa. Africa for Kids is filled with a myriad of colorful pictures, facts, maps, and so much more about the larger than life continent. It also includes 19 activities that help your child get to know more about the history, environment, and various cultures that make this land so beautiful. This book was written by Harvey Croze and published by Chicago Review Press.
This book is broken down into three parts and each section dwells deeper into the richness of the continent while the activities enhance the learning experience. “The African Continent” section discusses the formation of the beautiful land via soil erosion, shifting of tectonic plates, climate, usual seasons, and its overall physical make up. The formation of the bodies of water and details about popular rivers and lakes can also be found here. “African Habitats, Plants, and Animals” covers the food chain, ecosystems, deforestation, vegetation types, and so much more. You’ll also be introduced to the different types of animals, their mating rituals, and endangered species. Activities include ecosystem observation, creating a wind chime, Field Biologist training, and writing a traditional African fable. In “African People and Places” you are introduced to the various cultures within this land. Details are included about beliefs, rituals, history, government, slavery, and languages. Opportunities to create rock art, wind instruments, old board games, tribe diorama, beach wear, a traditional headdress, and various recipes are also offered. The author also provides detailed instructions on how to create a life-sized shelter in your backyard.
Be mindful that this is a detailed book about all parts of Africa therefore you may want to skip over or thoroughly explain some portions. Mysticism, animal spirits, and worshiping various gods are part of Africa’s culture and are discussed within this book. Per our family preference, we skipped the fable and mask activity but explained the portions that talked about animal spirits, or using figurines as protection from demons. There is also mention of details within the coming of age rituals that I preferred to explain so we discussed those rather than having our oldest read it. Pangea, Global Warming, Slavery, and Apartheid are covered, and all are hot topics amongst people all over the world. If you're allowing your child to work through this book on their own then explain to them that you are present and available to answer any questions they may have.
Overall this book is filled with plenty of resourceful information about the history, culture, and geography of Africa. As a parent, I recommend that we always read materials before presenting them to our children. When you prepare in advance you can confidently answer questions about spiritual beliefs, rituals, and even the hard parts of history like slavery and apartheid. The author did a thorough job of explaining all of those things; however, some might prefer to discuss details themselves. Do not avoid the truth about any portion of a continent’s history but find joy in the teachable moment and use it to shine God’s truth on the subject. As homeschoolers we have the opportunity to provide the truth while guiding our children from introduction to understanding in a safe environment. This book is recommended for children ages 9 to 12 and in 4-7 grade but I think it is much more suitable for children over 11.
Many people feel like Africa is extremely poor, filled with only native tribes, and far from flourishing; however, it is actually a rich continent full of vast resources, various species, gorgeous scenery, and so much cultural diversity. From the detailed introduction to the final writing a letter activity, your child will come to know so much about the continent via Africa for Kids, by Harvey Croze. The activities reiterate the information in each section and allow your child to experience the continent’s attributes firsthand. This book, published by Chicago Review Press, is also available in Mobipocket, PDF, and EPUB formats.
-Product review by Ta'Neisha Kemp, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018