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Africa Is Not A Country Paperback – January 1, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Knight has spent more than two decades studying professional learning, effective teaching, and instructional coaching. He is a Research Associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and the President of the Instructional Coaching Group. Jim wrote the first article on the topic of instructional coaching for "The Journal of Staff Development", and his book "Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction" (Corwin, 2007) popularized the idea. Jim edited "Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives "(Corwin, 2009) and co-authored "Coaching Classroom Management "(Pacific Northwest Publishing, 2010). Jim s other books include "Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach to Dramatically Improving Instruction "(Corwin, 2011), "High-Impact Instruction: A Framework or Great Teaching "(Corwin, 2013), and "Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction "(Corwin, 2014).Jim s articles on professional learning, teaching, and instructional coaching have appeared in journals such as "The Journal of Staff Development", "Principal Leadership", "The School Administrator", "Kappan", and "Educational Leadership." Frequently asked to lead professional learning, Jim has presented to more than 30,000 educators from six continents. He has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Kansas and has won several university teaching, innovation, and service awards. Jim also writes the Radical Learners blog.

Anne Sibley O Brienis a children s book author/illustrator whose passion for multiracial, multicultural, and global subjects comes from being raised bilingual and bicultural in South Korea. She attended Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in studio art. She lives with her husband in Maine. www.annesibleyobrien.com.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 7
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Millbrook Press; unknown edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761316477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761316473
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my 4 year old son who is part African in order to, facilitate his learning about his roots. In general, the book is OK but, what is not true to form is the portrayal of most of sub Saharan Africa as a village. All the stories are about poor kids in villages with mud huts! From the book, one would assume yes, Africa is not a continent but, just a series of villages with no electricity nor running water; perpetuating yet another myth about Africa.

It would have been good to also read about the bustling city of Douala where kids rush to catch the school bus or, loud Nairobi with the matatus that take the school kids on field trips. I have not found a book like this yet so, a project in our home is to create one like this for our son.
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Format: Paperback
As an African I find it strange that in this century there has to be a book specifically written to teach anyone, even kids, that Africa is not a country but a continent of over 50 sovereign states and thousands of ethnicities. Ironically, I find that most of this ignorance is within the African American community. Even in recent months and years adults still ask me ridiculous questions such as: "can I get a rental car to drive to Africa?".. "Is there real estate and nice houses in Africa?" The latter question, very recent, was by a college-educated female friend, so I Googled the hospital where I was born in one of the largest cities in the world - in Sub-Saharan Africa. I zoomed into the hospital facility and surrounding commercial sky-scrapers. Then I felt sorry for the look of surprise on her face.

A few years ago I traveled home and returned to the US with pictures of my nieces and nephews at their nice homes. The kids looked like and dressed like any middle class American kids from good homes. My friend at first did not believe the images. The expectation was to see starved children in a war-torn village, the type you see on those commercials asking you for money. Or what you see on TV when President Jimmy Carter visits a remote village to do charity work.

This book in particular does not help by portraying erroneously, that most Africans live in one big village of huts and mud houses.

I must also blame Africans for encouraging this misconception. Africans tend to speak in terms of "In Africa we do this, in Africa we do that". Nothing is further from the truth than a monolithic African. As a West African, I do not even know a lot in details about other West Africans, let alone the Eastern and Southern Africans.
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By Ein Kunde on January 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's sort of sad that a book like this is even necessary, but I have seen teachers make assignments such as, "Everyone will do a report on how people live in different places. We need reports on Japan, Mexico, Germany, China, and Africa."
"Africa Is Not a Country" takes a brief look at the 50-some individual contries that make up the African continent. Each country is presented in a two-page spread, with some text and a large illustration. The text works in lots of facts about each country, without being overly academic. The illustrations are large, colorful, and detailed. The book begins with morning and ends at night and depicts people having breakfast, going to school, doing housework, shopping, playing, etc. The emphasis is always on modern people (not wildlife, not "exotic" tribes). Well done.
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By A Customer on December 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having visited many classes of young children, I have seen the ignorance that children today have about the African continent and the vast cultures that inhabit the mysterious land. Knight's writing is academic, but not too technical, and playful but honest as she presents a look at the daily lives of children from all over the continent. The book is complete with a listing of all the African countries and important facts about them making it handy in the classroom and wonderful detailed stories about specifically chosen countries making it useful for home story telling. Children need this book and the bst part is that they will love it too.
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Format: Paperback
While teaching elementary art one year at a predominantly white American school, my supervisors told me that they wanted me to make a series of lessons "about Africa." I was given a package of paper plates and a request that the kids do at least one project where they made "authentic tribal masks."

At this point, I realized that my work was cut out for me. Though the task of educating an entire school of children (and adults) to re-write their limited view of the world was impossible, I wanted to at least plant the seeds of understanding that the world is far bigger than their stunted views of mud huts and tribal masks.

In conjunction with some visiting friends (such as my Egyptian friend who had a really hard time convincing the 3rd graders that #1 he didn't live in a pyramid and #2 He, too, counted as "African"), I utilized this book as an introduction to the incredibly diverse regions, languages, and peoples of this continent. The story takes place over the course of a day, and each country featured is explained through the eyes of children living there. I particularly like that each page offers the reader a word in one of the languages of the featured country, mentions different foods, and shows a variety of lifestyles from the farm to the city.

Of course, a single book cannot represent an entire continent, and a two-page spread cannot represent an entire country. This book cannot be seen as an entire course in debunking American stereotypes about Africa. What it is, I believe, is a fantastic launching point for conversation, for starting questions, and for getting kids to think a little bigger. It's sad that a book like this exists, and its even sadder how useful it is, but I was thankful for it.
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