African Heroes (Black Stars Series)

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Meet the Greatest heroes of africa—from ancient to modern times

"The books in the Black Stars series are the types of books that would have really captivated me as a kid."
—Earl G. Graves, Black Enterprise magazine

Kofi Annan
Askia the Great
Behanzin Hossu Bowelle
Stephen Biko
Constance Cummings-John
Kenneth Kaunda
Jomo Kenyatta
Sir Seretse Khama
Patrice Lumumba
Albert John Luthuli
Nelson Mandela
Menelik II
Mansa Musa
Kwame Nkrumah
Julius Nyerere
Haile Selassie
Albertina Sisulu
Osei Tutu
Youssef I

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In mini-biographical format, Haskins captures twenty-seven African heroes who determined the course of their various countries. The heroes are from ancient times through the modern era, with an accent on civil rights and individuals who stand for protection from exploitation of any group. Biographies are grouped chronologically: "Heroes of Ancient and Medieval Africa," "Heroes of the Struggle Against European Incursion," and "Heroes of the Twentieth Century." Readers learn of Piankhy, a Nubian king in 744 BC who resisted Egyptian domination and whose story came to light recently when a stone slab recounting his victory was discovered. Also included is Mansa Musa who unified a huge Mali empire. The middle section profiles Queen Nizingha, Mosheh, Cetewayo, and Bambaata, among others. The final section of thirteen profiles includes Selassie, Kenyatta, Nkrumah, Biko, Mandala, and others, including two women, Constance Cummings-John and Albertina Sisulu. The profiles are densely written, with references to political movements explained, acronyms written out and explained, and with vocabulary appropriate to the age group. Each profile would provide report writers with facts and chronology and some discussion of the person's legacy either to his or her country—or to the wider world, as in the cases of Kofi Annan and Mansa Musa. Photos depict the subject when available, with artifacts standing in for some of the subjects in the early chapter. Strangely, a marketplace photo stands in for one of Cummings-John who died in 2000 and surely had some photo extant. But taken as a whole, Haskins presents African heroes—who may be unknown by this age group—in a way that explains their placein history. He ends with a ringing call for others who can help make the nations of Africa truly independent and self-sustaining. Further reading, internet sites, and a comprehensive index are included. 2005, John Wiley, Ages 11 to 16.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This series entry features 27 African individuals (only 3 are women) from ancient to modern times. Following a concise overview of the history of Africa, the text is divided into three parts: "Heroes of Ancient and Medieval Africa," "Heroes of the Struggle against European Incursion," and "Heroes of the Twentieth Century." The profiles in the first two sections are brief and focus on highlights of the subjects' lives. Later entries are more detailed and therefore more suitable as sources for reports. The entries range from two pages (for Imhotep) to eight (for Nelson Mandela) and feature black-and-white photographs or drawings, which for the most part are uncaptioned. There is an error in the chapter on Patrice Lumumba (of Zaire/Congo); Haskins states that "Lt. Jerry Rawlings, head of state since 1981, won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996." Jerry Rawlings, however, became Ghana's (West Africa) head of state in 1981 and later its president. Overall, this book introduces readers to some lesser-known African heroes, along with others who are more readily identifiable. Haskins also gives readers insight into the circumstances surrounding these individuals and the obstacles they had to overcome.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471466727
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/14/2005
  • Series: Black Stars Series , #8
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,444,960
  • Age range: 11 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.84 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Haskins, the general editor of the Black Stars series, is the author of more than one hundred books for young readers. His works include African American Entrepreneurs, which is part of the Black Stars series, and Black Eagles: African Americans in Aviation; he also collaborated with Rosa Parks on her autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story. He has received many awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award and the Washington Post Children's Book Guild Award for the body of his work.

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Table of Contents






Mansa Musa.

Askia the Great.



Osei Tutu.




Behanzin Hossu Bowelle.


Menelik II.



Haile Selassie.

Jomo Kenyatta.

Albert John Luthuli.

Kwame Nkrumah.

Constance Cummings-John.

Nelson Mandela.

Albertina Sisulu.

Sir Seretse Khama.

Julius Nyerere.

Kenneth Kaunda.

Patrice Lumumba.

Kofi Annan.

Stephen Biko.

Further Reading.

Picture Credits.


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