From The Heart of Africa Collected by Eric Walters

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From The Heart of Africa: a Book of Wisdom Collected by Eric Walters

from-the-heart-of-africaStars: ****

Penguin Random House (Tundra) 2018
Juvenile Nonfiction

Summary: Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life’s issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist.  In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu: all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread. This book is a celebration of art, of community and of our common history.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

From The Heart of Africa

Aphorisms are proverbs which are little nuggets of wisdom.

“Aphorisms occur in all human societies but they are especially common in previously orally based societies like most that are found in Africa. […] At the heart of an aphorism is observation. Someone would see a situation and its solution, and then work them in to a memorable phrase or mini story. Then the aphorism would be created: written in poetic form or in song, beaten in drums or played with flutes, but mostly just spoken. The person who created the aphorism wasn’t credited or mentioned, and a lot of times, the original situation wasn’t mentioned either. What was important was the sharing of the helpful information.”  – from foreword.

The book is filled with African aphorisms and is accompanied by place of origin, meaning and an illustration. The book includes a few popular ones such as “it takes a village to raise a child” and also lesser known ones with just as important meanings, “I pointed out to you the stars, but all you saw was the tip of my finger.”

Each illustration is done by a different artist. The back of the book shows a smaller version of all the illustrations and a short bio of the artists. The wide variety of artists make the illustrations better because you get to enjoy different art mediums and styles.

A portion of the royalties for this book is donated to the orphans of Creation of Hope and Penguin Random House Canada will match that donation. Creation of Hope helps the orphans in the Mbooni District in Kenya. You can find out more at their website.

The book is listed for ages 6-9 and I would have to say I’d agree with that although there’s no reason those older than 9 includes adults wouldn’t enjoy the book. I think it would be a great book to share to a group of kids learning about Africa (whether homeschooled, in school or as part of a youth group organization.)

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.