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Nelson Mandela Day
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Nelson Mandela Day
- July 18th
I haven’t found the *perfect* book to introduce the concept of apartheid and the role of colonialism, racism, and why Nelson Mandela’s actions were such a big deal, but these are the best books we’ve used to introduce these topics so far.
- The Soccer Fence (Ages 6-8) – Not particularly engaging, but a decent intro to the history of apartheid.
- Nelson Mandela (Ages 4.5-8) – Gorgeous illustrations, but not particularly engaging story-wise.
- The Day Gogo Went To Vote (Ages 4-8) – Blurry, dated illustrations and bland storytelling, but this is the only story I’ve found that refuses to sideline women. Similar in concept to the US story, Lillian’s Right to Vote, but without naming any of the nebulous bad stuff that prevents Gogo from voting, it’s just confusing. But hey, at least this story exists?
Without the right stories to hook kinds into the significance of Mandela’s life work (and in particular the women who worked alongside him while remaining invisible), we’ll keep looking for resources that introduce this history. Like – what are the childhood stories anti-apartheid activists grew up with that empowered them to fight this system?
- Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales see what you can tease out of the stories Mandela chose for kids to carry on.
- African Tales by Gcina Mhlophe, an anti-aparthied activist who educates on the erasure of women in the anti-aparthied movement.
- Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime on growing up biracial in South Africa when it miscegenation was illegal.
Discuss with the kiddos:
- What principles, values, and decisions do Mandela and Mhlophe highlight for this next generation of leaders and distruptors of systemic injustice?
More resources to dig deeper:
- Children’s books on segregation & desegregation
- Nonviolent Resistance for Kids
- Breaking Walls & Building Bridges – Kids Books About Collective Action