A stunning collection, accessibly told and beautifully illustrated. A must-read for all, frankly, regardless of age. This reader (me) learned a lot and loved the reading experience.
Ease of reading: ★★★★★
Author Tracey Baptiste starts out this collection in the same way that I'd like to start this review:
How much do we, as global citizens, really know about Africa's influence on the world's culture and history?
When we celebrate Black History Month in the United States, the narrative is almost exclusively tied to the discussions of enslavement and European-American oppression inflicted on African individuals in the relatively recent past.
We rarely, if ever, go further back than that.
Due to this limited scope on history—and, as a larger conversation that the author addresses, due to biases and misinterpreted histories that exist of those prior time periods--little is commonly known to this day in popular history and culture about the African continent.
In this collection, the author delves into those histories and global ties that bind Africa to our earliest beginnings of culture, language, and civilization. Who molded dynasties? Who built the cities? What African man was the richest man to ever live in the world? What women shaped our earliest cultures?
I learned a tremendous amount of information in this slim volume, and frankly I was shocked at my own lack of basic knowledge—in the briefly of introduction examples in the author's first section, she shares the literal size of the African continent without its usual distortions in our most common world maps.
Did you know that the countries of the United States, China, India, Japan, Eastern Europe, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and more ALL fit within the borders of the African continent?
I did NOT. In other words, Africa is second only to Asia in terms of sheer continental size.
That is just one brief, yet large, example of the knowledge to be gained from this extremely readable and enjoyable collection of short stories on Africa's earliest figures.
I loved it and am thrilled to help spread the word about this collection.
Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.