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Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela Hardcover – October 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802788211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802788214
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The daughter-mother collaborators behind Sisters in Strength: American Women Who Made a Difference offer a clear portrait of South African leader Nelson Mandela. McDonough provides a straightforward chronology of her subject's life, noting influential individuals and events. At the age of 16, for example, Mandela participated in a ritual passage into manhood, during which a speaker told the boys that "their promise of manhood would remain unfulfilled, because all black South Africans were a conquered people-slaves in their own land, denied their freedoms and their rights." Later in his life, Mandela wrote that these ideas had remained with him, "shaping his vision of the world and his place in it." The author describes Mandela's extraordinary resolve and strength of character, especially during his 27-year imprisonment: "Although the guards and prison officials tried their best to break Nelson's spirit, they couldn't do it.... As a free man, he had been a leader, and a leader he remained, even while behind bars." However, Zeldis's electric-hued folk-art gouaches seem ill-suited to the subject matter. In particular, her use of artificial color in everyday portraits of Mandela and other black people (she gives them orange and red noses, yellow and orange facial lines, while white people escape similar treatment) is problematic in its resemblance to tribal face paint-especially when one scene does include a ritual use of face and body paint. The color mannerisms introduce a discordant element in an otherwise respectful and admiring book. Ages 6-10.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-This easy-to-read but engaging biography introduces the life and deeds of one of the 20th century's most important leaders. Born the son of a Thembu chief, Mandela spent 27 years in a South African prison before becoming the "first elected black leader" of that nation. McDonough focuses more on Mandela's early years and the development of his political beliefs than on his later life and briefer role as president. He is presented as a resolute student and family man who was determined to fight apartheid. Facts are stated simply, and the drama of his life comes through without sentimentality or rancor. For example, when discussing the effects of black protest on a portion of the white population, McDonough writes, "Soon people began to hear about Nelson Mandela; many of the whites who did grew both afraid and angry. They didn't like what Nelson was doing. They wanted the blacks to remain under their control. They wanted things in South Africa to remain the way they were." Zeldis's brightly colored folk-art illustrations reflect her subject's life and struggle with candid simplicity. When the illustrator depicts Mandela reclining in the cramped quarters of an unusually tiny jail cell, she clearly portrays both his physical discomfort and the greater injustice of his imprisonment. A hand-drawn map of South Africa appears on the endpapers. A worthwhile addition for all collections in need of accessible introductory biographies.
Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Wilson on July 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela is a biography telling the story of Nelson Mandela's life, beginning with his childhood and ending with his retirement from public office in 1999. Significant events are described, including Mandela's imprisonment for fighting apartheid, his being elected the first black president of the Republic of South Africa, and his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize for his dedication to peace.

This book is appropriate for ages 8 through 11. I would use this book in a school setting. The illustrations, which were made using gouache on watercolor paper, interpret the story appropriately. However, while they may be appealing to children because of their bright colors and childlike quality, I feel that more traditional African illustrations and photographs would be more appropriate for the subject matter. A hand-drawn map of South Africa appears on the endpapers.
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Format: Hardcover
Peaceful Protest, The Life of Nelson Mandela is a well written picture book biography for young readers about Nelson Mandela, Civil Rights Leader and first elected black President of South Africa. This would be a wonderful addition to any grade school library or classroom.
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More About the Author

Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels for adults: THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS, IN DAHLIA'S WAKE, BREAKING THE BANK (which has been optioned for a film), A WEDDING IN GREAT NECK, TWO OF A KIND and the about-to-be released, YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, which will be out on October 7, 2014.

She is also an award-winning children's book author with 23 children's books to her credit. THE DOLL SHOP DOWNSTAIRS received a starred review from Jewish Book World saying that it "will become a classic." In another starred review Kirkus called the sequel, THE CATS IN THE DOLL SHOP, "a quiet treasure." THE DOLL WITH THE YELLOW STAR won the 2006 Once Upon a World Award presented by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Her most recent book for children, LITTLE AUTHOR IN THE BIG WOODS: A BIOGRAPHY OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER, came out from Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, on September 16, 2014 and her latest in the popular WHO WAS...? series, WHO WAS SOJOURNER TRUTH?, is forthcoming from Grosset & Dunlap.

For over a dozen years, Yona has been the Fiction Editor at Lilith Magazine. She works independently to help aspiring writers polish their manuscripts. To arrange a book club visit, inquire about editorial services or just to say hi, please contact Yona via her website: www.yonazeldismcdonough.com or on the Facebook fan pages for her novels, which she hopes you'll "like."


When I was young, I didn't think about becoming a writer. In fact, I was determined to become a ballerina, because I studied ballet for many years, and by the time I was in high school, I was taking seven ballet classes a week. But I was always a big reader. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and I used to frequent all the different libraries in my neighborhood on a regular basis. I would look for books by authors I loved. I read my favorite books--ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, A LITTLE PRINCESS, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN--over and over again. I probably read each of those books twenty times in all. I read lots of other things too: I loved comic books and magazines, like Mad and Seventeen. But when you are reader, you just need to read. Sometimes you read books that change your life, like OF MICE AND MEN, which I read--and adored-- when I was in sixth grade. Other times, you read the latest adventures of Betty and Veronica. You'll read a three-day old newspaper some days or the back of the cereal box if that's all that there is available, because readers just need to read. So I kept reading, and I kept dancing too, though by the time I was a senior in high school, it was pretty clear to me that I was neither talented nor driven enough to become a professional ballet dancer and I stopped taking lessons and went off to college instead.

As a student at Vassar College, I never once took a writing course. I was not accepted into the poetry workshop I applied to, so I avoided all other writing classes, and instead focused on literature, language and art history, which was my declared major. I was so taken with the field that I decided to pursue my studies on a graduate level. I enrolled in a PhD program at Columbia University where I have to confess that I was miserable. I didn't like the teachers, the students or the classes. I found graduate school the antithesis of undergraduate education; while the latter encouraged experimentation, growth, expansion, the former seemed to demand a kind of narrowing of focus and a rigidity that was simply at odds with my soul. It was like business school without the reward of a well-paying job at the end. Everyone carried a briefcase. I too bought a briefcase, but since I mostly used it to tote my lunch and the NYT crossword puzzle, it didn't do much for my success as a grad student. But I have to thank the program at Columbia for being so very inhospitable, because it helped nudge me out of academia, where I so patently did not belong, and into a different kind of life. I was allowed to take classes in other departments, and by now I was recovered from my earlier rejection so I decided to take a fiction writing class--also, the class was open to anyone; I didn't have to submit work to be accepted. This class was my 'aha!' moment. The light bulb went off for me when I took that class. Suddenly, I understood what I wanted to do with my life. Now I just had to find a way to make a living while I did it.

I finished out the year at Columbia, got a job in which I had no interest whatsoever, and began to look for any kind of freelance writing that I could find. In the beginning, I wrote for very little money or even for free: I wrote for neighborhood newspapers, the alumni magazine of my college. I wrote brochures, book reviews, newsletters--anything and everything that anyone would ask me to write. I did this for a long time and eventually, it worked. I was able to be a little choosier about what I wrote, and for whom I wrote it. And I was able to use my clips to persuade editors to actually assign me articles and stories, instead of my having to write them and hope I could get then published.
But all the while I was also writing the kind of fiction--short stories, a novel--that had interested me when I was still a student at Columbia. And eventually I began to publish this work too.

I presently live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband and our two children and two small, yappy dogs. I have been setting my recent novels in my own backyard so to speak; Brooklyn has been fertile ground in all sorts of ways.

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