Bathseba Opini (author), Richard B. Lee (author); AFRICANS THOUGHT OF IT; Annick Press (Children's: Juvenile Nonfiction) $19.95 ISBN: 9781554512768
Byline: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Africa has been the source of many of the world's most coveted crafts, the site of remarkable feats of architecture, and home of rich music.
No matter how much you know about the traditions and products of this vast, multi-cultural continent, Africans Thought of It: Amazing Adventures will reveal something new. Written for children nine to thirteen, the book will doubtless educate their parents as well, leading to family conversation and further reading.
"People in Africa discovered how to make pottery around 7,000 BC," the book informs, and African women still make serviceable pots from clay and decorate them with vegetable dyes. Basket weaving is a fine art in Africa. Coffee, hair-braiding, and hieroglyphics all originated in Africa. Africans built esthetically pleasing small homes, as well as massive stone fortresses like the Great Zimbabwe and the Egyptian pyramids.
Africans have also long been expert at herbal healing: "Leaves from the aloe vera plant were ground into a powder that was used as a medicine to treat wounds," a practice that persists today. Western alternative medicine draws on the ancient lore of African herbalists, adopting remarkable innovations such as the use of snake venom to inoculate people against snake bites. Traditional African healers...