Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Nelson Mandela

Author: Kadir Nelson
Paintings by: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (January 2, 2013)
Source: Copy for Review
Audience: Grades 2nd to 5th
Biography * South Africa * Political Leaders

Description from GoodReads:
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.

My thoughts on the book:
Over the past few years, Kadir Nelson has focused on what he does best - picture book biographies.  Kadir Nelson has taken on the former South African president Nelson Mandela as the focus for his latest book.  It is quite conceivable that someone would want to purchase a book by Kadir Nelson simply for the artwork.  The oil painting portrait of Mandela on the cover captures the illustrious leader with warmth and power.  Each two page spread demonstrates Nelson's ability to communicate deeply through his paintings which convey emotion and strength.  Yet, Nelson's choice of words including the verse-like style of text is perfectly suited to relay to the reader the story that is Nelson Mandela.

Kadir Nelson has created a picture book biography on Nelson Mandela that will provide young readers with an introduction to the South African leader from his childhood to the end of apartheid.    The author's note and additional bibliographical information at the end will provide readers with some further details about Nelson Mandela.  Whether you choose to pick up a copy of this book because of the amazing illustrations or as an addition to a school or classroom biography collection, Kadir Nelson's newest book Nelson Mandela is an excellent choice. 

For additional books to consider, check out the New York Times post Black History Greats.

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