Book Review | Amazing Africa Projects You Can Build Yourself by Carla Mooney
Travel guides, anthropologists, and adventurers agree; the best way to learn about other cultures is to experience the sights, tastes, and material goods of other societies. Thankfully, this type of cross-cultural experience doesnâ€™t require international plane fare. The newest title from Nomad Press, Amazing Africa Projects You Can Build Yourself complements engaging descriptions with hands-on, multi-sensory activities in order to bring the history, cultures, and ecology of Africa to life. Designed for readers aged 9-12, Amazing Africa Projects You Can Build Yourself, allows children to discover the diverse cultures and natural wonders of the African continent, learn about the challenges and triumphs of African people, and discover ways they can become involved to help Africa face future challenges. I was really excited to be offered the chance to review Amazing Africa Projects You Can Built Yourself by Carla Mooney. I thought the book sounded like a great way to teach my girls about Africa and have fun doing some African crafts as well! I also thought I’d learn something along the way!
I was impressed at how quickly the book arrived – it literally came a couple of days after I requested it. Kudos to Nomad Press, who produces the book! I also liked the fact that they have a page inside that shows all of the other books in their “Build It Yourself Series” – I saw a few others (like World Myths and Legends: 25 Projects You Can Build Yourself and Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself) that I thought would be awesome books to read and use for fun! I also thought they’d be great books for a classroom or for families where the children are being home-schooled.
I read through the book and I have to say that I learned a lot and I really enjoyed it! The book starts with a timeline of Africa’s history which provides a broad overview of the history of the continent and then it breaks down into chapters about various aspects of Africa from its wildlife to its ethnic background all the way to its foods, games and clothing. I like the fact that each chapter was easy to read and follow and that there were various sidebars with more information about a specific topic. For example, in the chapter on Natural Wonders I learned about the issue of deforestation in Africa. I also liked the fact that each chapter, where needed, had a “Words to Know” section that gave simple definitions of the terms that might not be familiar.
At the end of each chapter is at least one project that relates to that chapter of the book. In the chapter on Ethnic Groups, for example, you learn how to make your own Maasi Beaded Necklace while, at the end of other chapters, you learn how to make an African Rain Stick, Beaded Bracelets and Ceremonial Mask, among other things. While I was hoping we’d find time to do some of these crafts, we haven’t been able to coordinate a time to sit down and make them. I know, however, over Easter weekend we will be doing this as my darling girl (whose six) has already had me go through the book with her and has decided she wants to make Zitumbuwa (Banana Fritters) and Soccer Balls – projects that are also included in this book!
The last thing I liked about the book is the final pages, which include a short chapter on what you can do to help people in Africa as well as a glossary of all the terms in the book in one section.
I think this book is an excellent book to use at home to promote understanding of other cultures with your children and one which also could be used for home-schooling or in a classroom. I think it has enhanced my girls’ understanding of Africa as well as my own!
*I received no monetary compensation for this review. I received a free copy of the book to read and provide an honest review of its contents. The opinions are entirely my own and may not reflect your own opinion upon reading the book.*