Monday, March 30, 2009

Nubiah: Land of African Kings and Queens Bedtime Stories & Coloring Book

by Thomas Jones
Illustrated by Linda Knoll
With poetry by Author Culpepper and William Marlow
Valley Ridge Books
Paperback, $9.95
44 pages, illustrated
ISBN: 978-0-615-27036-4

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Escape back to a time and place when Kings and Queens ruled powerful empires… Welcome to Nubiah, an informative children’s bedtime story series that highlights the best of African Kings and Queens.
Each story pays tribute to an empire led by a powerful Ruler with discussion of their best values, principles, attitudes and traits. The recurring them ‘Listen to the Drum’ directs children to follow their heart to find their passion and true purpose.
Empower your child with positive imaging at bedtime with spoken word stories that showcase the greatest rulers of all time… Happy reading as you are now on your way to strengthening your dynasty.”
 Excerpted from the Preface (page 4)

It is a testament to the omni-directional influence of Barack Obama that
a coloring book about African history would close with a quote from the President and a picture of him and the rest of the First Family. This makes one automatically wonder whether black Americans still need to look to distant ancestors from another continent for heroes, if the leader of the country is already one of their own.
That disclaimer out of the way, Nubiah is, nonetheless, a nice little introduction for primary school children to such African royalty as Queen Asantewa of Ghana, King Hannibal of Carthage, Queen Makeda of Ethiopia, King Shaka of South Africa, and Queen Nefertiti of Egypt. Each chapter combines a black and white illustration ripe for coloring with historical background information and a narrative designed to be read to a child as he or she is falling asleep.
Though only 44 pages in length, the book is just brimming with a variety of content, and also includes drawings of elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes and other indigenous animals to fill in, as well as the lyrics to the Negro National Anthem, a list of black inventors, quotes of luminaries like Maya Angelou, Whoopi Goldberg, Jesse Owens, Alvin Ailey and Marian Anderson, and even The Lord’s and other prayers.
A potpourri of positivity for black parents interested in introducing young offspring to their roots, religion and role models.

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