Mama Africa! by Kathryn Erskine

Mama Africa!

Miriam Makeba, a Grammy Award–winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid―a brutal system of segregation similar to American Jim Crow laws. Mama Africa, as they called her, raised her voice to help combat these injustices at jazz clubs in Johannesburg; in exile, at a rally beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and before the United Nations.

Details Mama Africa!

TitleMama Africa!
Release DateOct 10th, 2017
PublisherFarrar, Straus & Giroux
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Biography, Nonfiction, Music, Cultural, Africa, History

Reviews Mama Africa!

  • Joan
    Wow! What a wonderful book! This will be perfect for librarians in so many ways! Black History Month, Women's history, South Africa History. Or as a biography of a musician. Or even as an exposure to a number of different languages through the glossary on the last page. The story is powerful. Most particularly, in terms of the Steptoe Award for a beginning illustrator, the illustrations are stunning. Mr. Palmer is going to become a major talent i...
  • Linda Mitchell
    As many Americans, I have very little knowledge of modern Africa....modern South Africa. This book gave me wonderful background knowledge about South Africa during apartheid and how Miriam Makeba was a part of bringing it down. What's so beautiful about the story, for me, is again I see how art is vital to progress. Even in the darkest times, our artists can point us toward a brighter future...they can see it and they invite us to follow them. Ka...
  • June
    How a South African used her voice and talent to expose the injustice of the apartheid and help bring it down. Bold, colorful illustrations bring this dramatic story of South Africa's fight for equality to life.The one draw back is that it doesn't include a CD with some of her songs.
  • Jennifer
    3.5 starsThis picturebook biography details part of the life of Civil Rights activist Miriam Makeba, who protested apartheid in South Africa through acting and singing around the world. Skillfully written and beautifully illustrated in rich colors combine classic painting styles with graphic design elements.
  • Monica Edinger
    Wrote starred Horn Book review. Outstanding.
  • Erica
    This picture-book biography gives young readers a feeling and understanding of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, and how Miriam Makeba's iconic life had an effect on it. (The chronological list in the end-matter also shows how events in South Africa relate to the American Civil Rights Era.) Palmer's vibrant oil/gouache paintings depict the excitement of live music, the devastation of civil rights abuses, her hope-filled appeals at world gat...
  • Linda
    Looking for the music of Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, made me realize that I'm not sure I've ever heard her voice, and it is powerful. Because the tragedy of Soweto of many children being killed is mentioned in the story, here she is in concert with Paul Simon and Graceland singing "Soweto Blues". Miriam's countrymen of South Africa were fortunate indeed to have her fighting for them, against apartheid, first in her youth, then all over the world...
  • Antionea
    This is a true story about Zenzilemiriam Makeba, born March 4th,1932. Make is from South Africa, she was apart of a singing group the Manhattan Brothers. In South Africa africans were not being treated fair and did not have equal rights, so she had made songs expressing the hate African receive, and what they should do, when she recorded her songs she was in the united Stated so when she tried coming back t South Africa she was banned from South ...
  • Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
    Erskine, Kathryn Neil Mama Africa! How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with her Song, 25 pages. NON-FICTION. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), 2017. $19. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G. This is the life story of Miriam Makeba –a talented singer from South Africa who uses her words, her singing, and her passion to fight against Apartheid in her country. At one point, she is not even allowed to come back home and travels the wor...
  • Stephanie Tournas
    The life, career and political activism of famed singer Miriam Makeba are made accessible for young children in this inspiring picture book biography. South Africa's system of apartheid is seen through her eyes, with examples of its cruelty and division from her life. Erskine shows how Makeba's joy and spirit as a child is transformed into a remarkable force for change in South Africa. Short sentences with the rhythm of repeated words and phrases...
  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    I wanted to like this so much, because I've loved Miriam Makeba's music since I first discovered her back in the '80s. But I was disappointed with the text in that it provided no dates for young readers until the timeline at the end of the book. If they already have a background in twentieth century political events in South Africa, they can figure out the time period, but I doubt the children for which this book seems to be intended will know th...
  • George Poulos
    This books genre is historical non-fiction, this book tells the story of Miriam Makeba a protester of apartheid in South Africa, and someone who was in contact with Dr. Martin Luther Jr. This book is fit for kids in grades 4th to 6th grade. As a kid I read a book on Nelson Mandela and his fight to end apartheid. While reading this book I made a text-to-text connection between the two books, reading Makeba's fight against apartheid made me think o...
  • Tasha
    A picture book about the incredible South African singer, Miriam Makeba, who became the voice of fighting against apartheid. Called Mama Africa, she sang to expose the injustice happening around her at a time when it was dangerous to do so. Eventually, she lived in exile in the United States yet never stopped speaking and singing about her home. She spoke before the United Nations to appeal for help. Finally able to return home after apartheid en...
  • Margie
    Each individual has within them a gift. How they determine to use it or not to use it will chart the course of their lives. For some it appears early and easily. For others it takes time for the answer to present itself.In 1932 a girl child was born in Prospect Township, South Africa. Mama Africa! How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope With Her Song (Farrar Straus Giroux for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC, October 10, 2017) w...
  • Lisa
    This picture book biography of anti-apartheid singer Miriam Makeba. Growing up , Miriam sang in church and at home, but under apartheid, her opportunities were limited, and singing protest songs was dangerous. So she escaped to Europe and toured the world singing about the problems of apartheid in South Africa. Miriam, known as Mama Africa, had the ear of the United Nations and the world. I enjoyed this biography - I’m sorry to say I’m not f...
  • Whitney Boatright
    Loved this book and the story it told of how zenzila Miriam makeba used her voice and her gift of singing to fight for her people in South Africa during the time of the apartheid. It really bothered me how black people were treated, and how even innocent school children were killed. One of my favorite quotes from her that stood out to me was, if you wish for something and it doesn't happen, you must hang on for dear life until it does. This is my...
  • Nikki
    I had never heard of Miriam Makeba and this book did an excellent job of providing me with a history of her life and why she was an important figure to ending apartheid. As soon as I finished the book I pulled up her music and goodness, it is EXCELLENT. I have been jamming out to it all week. Kids will really enjoy this if you provide some background information and integrate the music into the experience.
  • Kimberly
    Well, it turns out I knew almost nothing about apartheid. After I finished reading this I did some additional reading online and now I feel at least semi-knowledgeable. I never realized it went on as long as it did--basically until the 90s! I can't wait to listen to some of Miriam's music. This is a wonderful J biography. I would have given it 5 stars, but I thought more realistic illustrations would have served the book better. The paintings are...
  • Abby
    Important story that needs to be told. The illustration about the Soweto protest is particularly poignant (struggling/prone figures to barbed wire, to protest, to sheet music). The red words are a little jarring on the first read--meant to be critical vocabulary? On the second read, black backgound text boxes are about Miriam and from her perspective, white background is the culture of Apartheid--illustrations also have more detail the longer one...
  • Dain Frisby-Dart
    Beautifully illustrated and wonderfully told story of anti-apartheid movement singer and activist Miriam Makeba. I had no previous knowledge of this inspiring woman and wish my kids were young again so I could read this to them. Appropriate for K-3 and older kids who still like to listen to or read picture books, explaining what apartheid was will be necessary. Race relations unfortunately still a very current topic.
  • Beckie
    I could almost hear Mama Africa sing as I read this beautifully illustrated picture book. Learning of the author, Kathryn Erskines’s own connection to this brave apartheid activist and singer touched me deeply. Such an important story to be told. And told so vividly and with such heart. Buying a copy for my local library so every child in our community can learn of the heroic journey of Miriam Makeba.
  • Joan Marie
    I like the call-and-response style of writing Erskine uses (ending one page with a specific word then beginning the next page with that same word) to tell the story, weaving into the text words from various languages spoken in South Africa. Both enrich the factual text. The illustrations and back matter are equally impressive, each rich in and of themselves. Thumbs up to both author and illustrator.
  • Marissa Dunbar
    I loved the illustrations in this book, they way everything is painted but so life like. I found it interesting the way they portrayed the white class rulings and Makebas efforts to fight racism (white rulings in white text boxes and her actions in black text boxes). I enjoyed this read and actually learned about something I was not fully aware of before. I would definitely recommend this to someone.
  • Margaret Boling
    12/15/2017 ~~ Miriam Makeba was South African singer who gave voice to many in the anti-apartheid movement. She appeared with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the U.S. and spoke several times in front of the U.N. This stunningly illustrated book explores the ways artists can speak for social change and the costs that activists may have to pay; this book definitely deserves a place in any elementary library.
  • mary dewley
    Beautifully illustrated picture book detailing the life of Miriam Makeba, a native South African singer who was later exiled from her country for using her music to make the world aware of the horrors of the apartheid. I had never heard of the singer before, but now I'm so enthralled by her story, her passion and her plight, that I'm going to request some of her CDs soon.
  • Michele Knott
    I'm not sure how much the history of South Africa and apartheid are taught in middle schools, but this is a needed book for that discussion.A book that shows how determination and a gift can keep the fight going.
  • Beverly
    Reviewed for Mock Caldecott Awards. I wasn't crazy about the illustrations in this book although they were very colorful. I found the story line fascinating. Miriam Makeba is a young woman who used her natural gift of singing to spread the message to the world regarding apartheid and the injustices it brought to her country.
  • Jennybeast
    Beautiful, moving, sad and deeply inspiring. Miriam Makeba's story is all of those things, and this is a lovely short biography honoring her. I particularly like that the writer is a white woman who lived in South Africa under apartheid and hated it.
  • Sharon
    This is an excellent book. I so enjoyed the insightful and educational text. The illustrations were vibrant and evocative.Wonderful glossary that was so helpful with the foreign words; Naomi was referring to it constantly.
  • Jason
    I've said it before, I'll say it again...I love picture book biographies and how they introduce me to incredible people I never knew existed. Miriam should be as well known as Nelson Mandela. Hopefully this book will be a part of that happening.