Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

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In the lush country of Zimbabwe a king is looking for a wife.  He summons all the daughters of the land to choose a wife.  An African villager hears of the summons and decides to send his two daughters, Manyara and Nyasha.  Manyara sees herself as beautiful and treats others in a selfish and self-centered way.  Nyasha is kind to others. Both girls have physical beauty but only one has the inner beauty.

As the young ladies journey to the King, they meet strangers along the way.  How they choose to treat these strangers turns out to be incredibly important.  Pride goeth before a fall.  This is an especially lovely story of the richness of the Zimbabwe culture and the importance of cultivating a good inner beauty and not getting lost in your own self importance.

Caldecott Honor winner.

978-0140559460     Ages 5-9   32 pages

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

Editor's note:  "ohn Steptoe’s Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, an original work based on a tale in a late-nineteenth-century folktale collection, has been rightly lauded for its extra-ordinary art; unfortunately, some people, unaware that it is not an authentic folktale of Zimbabwe, recommend it for cross-cultural Cinderella units."  Monica Edinger, The Horn Book, January 6, 2014


"A Caldecott Honor and Reading Rainbow book, this memorable retelling of Cinderella is perfect for introducing children to the fairy tale as well as the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe.

Inspired by a traditional African folktale, this is the story of Mufaro, who is proud of his two beautiful daughters.  Nyasha is kind and considerate, but everyone—except Mufaro—knows that Manyara is selfish and bad-tempered.  When the Great King decides to take a wife and invites the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land to appear before him, Mufaro brings both of his daughters—but only one can be queen.  Who will the king choose?

Award-winning artist John Steptoe’s rich cultural imagery of Africa earned him the Coretta Scott King Award for Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. The book also went on to win the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. This stunning story is a timeless treasure that readers will enjoy for generations."--from the publisher


"The tale of Mufaro's two daughters, two beautiful girls who react in different ways to the king's search for a wife - one is aggressive and selfish, the other kind and dignified. The king takes on disguises to learn the true nature of both girls andof course chooses Nyasha, the kind and generous daughter, to be his queen."--from the publisher

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts

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