Friday, June 29, 2018

Fact Friday and Review: Grandad Mandela by Zazi Ziwelline and Zindzi Mandela

Grandad Mandela by Zazi Ziweline and Zindzi Mandela. unpgd. Frances Lincoln Children's Books/ Quarto, June 28, 2018. 9781786031365. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Happy belated book birthday to Grandad Mandela. I've been excited about this book since seeing some initial artwork for it at a Quarto preview last summer. And here it is; and signed by Sean Qualls too!

Doesn't he have the neatest signature? So cool!

Back to the book. 2018 is Mandela's centenary. His youngest daughter, Ambassador (to Denmark) Zindzi Mandela wrote this biography of her father with her granddaughters, Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela in a question and answer format. Children love family stories. They love and need to hear them over and over. When Zazi and Ziwelene were visiting Grandma Zindzi, they find a photograph of their great-grandfather, Nelson and ask her to tell his story. 

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned when Zindzi was only eighteen months old. He was imprisoned for speaking out against Apartheid, which was the law in South Africa that separated blacks and whites. Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison. Grandma Zindzi answers her grand-daughter's many questions in short, honest, easily understood answers. American readers may not be familiar with some of the terms and place names; but Sean Qualls' evocative and beautiful acrylic, collage and color pencil art provides some context. At its heart is story, family story and unconditional love as well as the mission of instilling social conscience in the next generation. The work is unfortunately, never done.

The art is utterly gorgeous. The design features sturdy paper that will hold up to multiple readings. Font size separates questions from the answers. The writing is accessible and appropriate for the age group. Grandad Mandela will be added to my picture book biography unit though I am a tad disappointed to find little backmatter for students to work off of in the unit. I don't know whose decision it is to include valuable resource material such as source notes, timelines and websites and books for further research. I appreciate them when they are there and teach my students to look for backmatter when doing their own research.

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