Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations

Overview

The ingenuity of African peoples from ancient times to today.

Did you know that aloe vera -- now found in countless products, including sunscreens and soaps -- was first used by Africans? They ground it into powder and used it to treat burns and other skin conditions, and hunters used it to disguise their scent from animals. They also used the nutritious oil from the fruit of the oil palm tree in everything from cooking to medicines to wine. And the marimba, better known to us ...

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Overview

The ingenuity of African peoples from ancient times to today.

Did you know that aloe vera -- now found in countless products, including sunscreens and soaps -- was first used by Africans? They ground it into powder and used it to treat burns and other skin conditions, and hunters used it to disguise their scent from animals. They also used the nutritious oil from the fruit of the oil palm tree in everything from cooking to medicines to wine. And the marimba, better known to us as the xylophone, is believed to have originated 700 years ago in Mali. Other unique African innovations include the technique of banana leaf art and using horns -- and hairdos! -- to communicate important messages.

Africans Thought of It features descriptive photos and information-packed text that is divided into sections, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Music
  • Architecture
  • Games & Sports

This fourth book in Annick's successful We Thought of It series takes readers on a fascinating journey across the world's second largest continent to discover how aspects of its culture have spread around the globe.

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  • Africans Thought of It
    Africans Thought of It  

Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children's Book News - Mary Ann Cree
This is the fourth book, a great concept that introduces students to the infinite variety of innovations that have come from cultures around the world. . .Excellent colour photographs enhance the text and make it an accessible book for kids of all ages.
Resource Links - Sharon Armstrong
This series of books provides a plethora of interesting and informative information both in text and pictorial formats that inspires the reader to learn about other cultures and their contributions to the world
ForeWord Reviews - Barbara Bamberger Scott
No matter how much you know about the traditions and products of this vast, multi-cultural continent, Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations will reveal something new.
Biblio File - Jen Rothschild
Because of the way the information is presented, the book is very browseable and readers can dip in and out of it, although it's interesting enough that once they dip in, they probably won't dip out until they've read the whole thing.
Library Media Connection - Anna Hartle
Any social studies classroom or world geography collection would welcome this content-rich and attractive volume which uses drawings, diagrams, photographs and maps. Numerous sidebars and captioned illustrations enhance the content.... Will appeal to the upper-elementary, young adult researcher. Recommended.
Kirkus Reviews

This entry in the We Thought of It series introduces African innovations in various fields including architecture, arts and crafts, communication, musical instruments and more.

The series features co-writing by an academic expert and a member of the country or culture represented, clear, colorful design that includes numerous full-color photos and a great deal of information. A fascinating blend of tradition and modernity is evident, especially in one photo of a Maasai man in traditional clothing using a digital camera to photograph animal tracks. The innovations range from the familiar (bow and arrow; pyramids) to some that will be new to most kids (a "rondavel," or round house; "injera," a spongy bread). Although the text focuses on history of these discoveries and inventions, briefly putting them into contemporary context, there is also a helpful "Africa Today" chapter. Unfortunately, the decision to treat Africa as a single entity—other series titles focus on an individual country or people, such as The Chinese Thought of It (2009) or The Inuit Thought of It (2007)—contributes to the lack of awareness about the many different countries, languages and cultures represented on this enormous continent. The text, as opposed to the title, does address Africa's diversity, often noting that the same item or concept is known by different names throughout Africa, for example.

Interesting to browse and suitable for research. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Canadian Children's Book News
This is the fourth book, a great concept that introduces students to the infinite variety of innovations that have come from cultures around the world. . .Excellent colour photographs enhance the text and make it an accessible book for kids of all ages.

— Mary Ann Cree

Resource Links
This series of books provides a plethora of interesting and informative information both in text and pictorial formats that inspires the reader to learn about other cultures and their contributions to the world

— Sharon Armstrong

ForeWord Reviews
No matter how much you know about the traditions and products of this vast, multi-cultural continent, Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations will reveal something new.

— Barbara Bamberger Scott

School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The African continent as a whole reveals a rich smorgasbord of cultural and societal contributions from its people. A few pages focus on elements that shaped their early way of life, including hunting, medicine, communication, and music. Vivid photographs feature authentic objects used (such as the vuvuzela instrument or the bao game), while people engaged in activities capture an enthusiastic look at the reliance on community. Colored backgrounds and borders present a busy, though uncluttered, dynamic portrayal of nuanced cultures. Three cartoon panels show how furnaces were made, with four naked boys sitting around one; this inclusion seems to be a random addition within the rest of the uniform presentation. Scientific and creative achievements focus on the innovative use of natural resources to depict Africa as a major contributor to the world landscape. Overall, succinct definitions and compact descriptions provide a brief and interesting blend of the contemporary with the traditional. The informative and age-appropriate introduction highlights the authors' personal and professional experiences; the succinct time line and recommended resources offer advanced (and slightly dated) options for further exploration. The mention of historical and contemporary issues (Apartheid, HIV/AIDS) may gloss over the severity of the obstacles at hand through the slightly glib conclusion ("This history, along with the courage and determination displayed by people all over Africa, suggest that there is every reason to be optimistic about the future of this great continent"), but it's the plethora of rich examples that most successfully support this statement.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554512775
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/17/2011
  • Series: We Thought Of It Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bathseba Opini, PhD, was born and raised in Kenya. She is a teacher at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Richard B. Lee, PhD, is an internationally known anthropologist and fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto, Ontario.

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