We have put together a collection of 9 books which feature the best of African storytelling, are fun to read and share long-held wisdoms. The collection focuses on stories that captivate young readers and make them laugh. These 9 books are available as a collection for £70 on www.natakabooks.co.uk
1. Gloria's Porridge
Elizabeth Laing travelled to Ethiopia and lived there for a time. She has collected hundreds of folktales, recorded and documented the stories for posterity. Her children's books draw on this folklore to tell engaging, funny tales full of wisdom. Gloria is not keen to share her porridge but soon learns the lesson that sharing is more rewarding. Stories told in antiquity, and at times updated to modern times, remain some of the best stories we all have.
2. I Am Nefertiti
When Nefertiti plays the drums, the band plays as one. "I am Nefertiti" she says, and she feels ten feet tall. But when the new music teacher shortens her name to 'Nef', bit by bit, she starts to shrink. Without Nefertiti to keep the beat, the band is in disarray . . . "I am Nefertiti!" she whispers to herself.
Drawing on her inner strength and with the support of the other children, they help Miss Potts recognise the importance of honouring Nefertiti's name. Now, when Nefertiti keeps the beat, the music sounds so sweet! A heart warming, joyous, empowering story of identity and belonging.
3. Anansi and the Golden Pot
'Anansi and the Golden Pot' is a re-imagining of the fairy tale of Anansi the spider. The youngest boy in the family, Kweku, is cheeky like the spider, and is nicknamed Anansi. Kweku makes a magical discovery but will he share his findings? Sharing is caring.
4. The Queen on our Corner
'The Queen on our Corner' is about an old lady most people never notice except for a little girl. No one notices the queen until they need her. An easy to follow story loved by young readers which explains all the different people and movements in a busy city. Communities remain united.
5. Nature Trail
Introduces exploration of surroundings. The book summary explains: All around us, from parks to gardens and flowerpots to pavements, there's a world of wonder just waiting to be discovered. Packed with animals and minibeasts galore, this imaginative rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud.
Elmer is about an elephant who does not fit in at first. Whilst other elephants appear grey and dull, Elmer is colourful and longs to have the same coat. But anyone who has seen elephants know they are one of the most caring and intelligent giants in the natural world. Storytelling is what happens in this engrossing tale. We are sure there is a lesson there somewhere. A triumph !
7. The Best Diwali Ever
Most books which try to introduce important cultural events stop at descriptions and can never move beyond that. This book celebrates Diwali through a story. A wonderful achievement made possible by focusing on storytelling. Makes you want to attend the next Diwali !
8. Fly Eagle, Fly
An old South African fairy tale is wonderfully retold. After rescuing a young eagle and looking after it at home, a farmer becomes attached to the eagle. Will he keep it in his village? Does the eagle want to stay? A moving story with a caring village, stunning landscape and a thousand and one lessons to match.
9. The Name Game
There is no such thing as having nothing to do and being bored because there are things to discover in the house, plants and animals to explore in the garden and many more things to give names to. An excellent book about imagination, playing and learning all at the same time.