Reviews for S Is for South Africa

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 May

Gr 1-3--Each photo journal begins with an author's note highlighting the topography and history of the country. Maps show its position on the African continent and the countries it borders. The layout of each title is visually appealing, with borders, fonts, and colors that set the mood. One or two letters are represented per page with vibrant color photographs, accompanied by a few lines of text and ample white space. The pictures will give children a broad overview of cultures they may not be familiar with. The first book is the effort of four young Ethiopians who were sponsored to write and photograph the volume. They introduce readers to the food, culture, religion, and history of their country with entries including, "I is for Injera" (a flat bread) and "L is for Listro" (shoe-shine boy). The associated text is succinct, clear, and informative. South Africa has a very different feel, as the writing is poetic and flowing: "I is for Imbira,/my little piano./My thumbs twing/and you sing!/Aiee, my little friend/from Zimbabwe!" A minor drawback of both titles is the lack of pronunciation guides, though the stunning photographs and engaging texts will spark curiosity and keep students captivated.--Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA

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