Synopses & Reviews
One day when Nelson Mandela was nine years old, his father died and he was sent from his village to a school far away from home, to another part of South Africa. In Johannesburg, the country's capital, Mandela saw fellow Africans who were poor and powerless. He decided then that he would work to protect them. When the government began to keep people apart based on the color of their skin, Mandela spoke out against the law and vowed to fight hard in order to make his country a place that belonged to all South Africans.
Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, in poignant verse and glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy's determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for people of all colors. Readers will be inspired by Mandela's triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.
"Nelson's (I Have a Dream) large, luminous, and almost photographic paintings make this an extremely powerful picture-book biography of South Africa's first black president. The wordless cover alone is arresting, as an older Mandela gazes serenely at readers (the book's title and Nelson's author/illustrator credit appear on the back). From a silhouette of Mandela (born Rolihlahla, which means 'troublemaker') as a boy play fighting with sticks on a country hillside to a portrait of him as a bearded young man staring out from behind prison bars, Nelson's pictures are an immediate focal point, but also help tell the story. The straightforward narrative is broken up like verse ('The state vowed to put Nelson in jail/ and he went underground./ He wore different disguises/ and lived in the shadows'), clearly explaining the concept of apartheid and the efforts of Mandela and others to fight it. Concluding author notes offer more details about Mandela's life. It's a solid biography in its own right, but thanks to Nelson's characteristically stunning paintings, it soars. Ages 4 – 8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kadir Nelson is an acclaimed illustrator whose powerful artwork is captured in numerous award-winning picture books, including the Caldecott Honor Book Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine; the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winner Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People To Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford; and his own We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He lives with his family in San Diego, California.