African Journey

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The journey, depicted in succinct chapters and photographs of startling beauty and clarity, ranges from the regions of nomadic tribes to agricultural communities, to prosperous fishing areas and, in a touching final note, to the drought lands (Ethiopia). Africa is a place most young readers think of in broad, vague terms, but which Chiasson deals with in eloquent specifics. He shows both the ruggedness and subtleties of the terrain, and that livelihoodsin both city and countryare directly affected by the amount of rainfall. Chiasson creates a stark, compelling picture of this continent and discusses the hopes of its people: better education for their children and subsequently improved lives. The images themselves are involving and immediate; this is a photoessay deserving of high honors. Ages 8-up. (October)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8 Chiasson sets out to explore how the lives of people in Africa are shaped by their geographic environment. Concentrating on the broad band that lies between the Sahara and the equator, he looks at herders in the Sahel, farmers in Benin, city dwellers in Dakar, fishermen in Senegal, townspeople in a river port in Mali, and drought victims in Ethiopia. A fine map locates each area within the continent. The book focuses on how people make a living but includes information on family life, division of labor, religious beliefs, and education. A recurring theme concerns the interdependence of groups on each other. Thus, the Yoruba farmers provide food for their country's cities and towns; they also produce the cash crops that are sold on the international market. Desertification affects not only the desperate herders who migrate to the city, but also the urbanites who face a consequent rise in unemployment, begging, and crime. The book also points out current problems. Chiasson states outright that ``Although drought may cause people to be hungry, politics are the main reason for mass starvation in Africa today.'' The text is clear and simply written. There is no guide to help readers pronounce various tribal words. The 57 large, full-color photographs constitute the book's greatest appeal. At least one photo appears on every page, and there are enough shots of children to make the book inviting to its intended audience. Ellen D. Warwick, formerly at Thompson School, Arlington, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780027185300
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/31/1987
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years

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