40 pages 978-1-63592-387-2 Ages 5-9
Keywords: Africa, creation story, African American and Black stories, African American author, self image, self respect, self confidence, migration, evolution, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old
“Child, keep me in your heart
and, like a long-ago song whose lyrics
are lost but whose melody lingers,
you will hear me whispering in a language
that belongs to no nation but to all humanity”
– from YOU ARE MY PRIDE
“In man's evolution he's created the city
And the motor traffic rumble
But give me half a chance and I'd be taking off my clothes
And living in the jungle
'Cause the only time that I feel at ease
Is swinging up and down in the coconut trees
Oh what a life of luxury to be like an apeman”
– The Kinks (1970)
“Our ancestors split from the common ancestor humans share with chimpanzees more than six million years ago. Scientists have identified about twenty species of early humans, or hominins, who lived before, or in some cases at the same time as our species,Homo sapiens.
All evidence–from DNA analyses, fossils, and archaeological finds–points to one continent and to one idea: modern humans, Homo sapiens, evolved about 300,000 years ago in Africa and began migrating from Africa soon after about 200,000 years ago. By about 40,000 years ago, Homo sapiens became the only surviving hominin species.”
— from the afterword
Two award-winning children’s book creators, whose work I’ve long enjoyed, have created a lyrical, stunningly beautiful picture book about Africa’s place as the cradle of humanity. Speaking as “the mother of all humanity,” the narrator calls out to people around the globe, all of whom have their ancestry in that continent.
Scientifically, no matter what our nation, language, or the color of our skin, we are all related. In light of today’s planetary problems and conflicts, I’m all for books that demonstrate human commonalities. Many make-or-break environmental issues require international cooperation. We need to come together, as a species, to pursue peace and sustainability on the planet.
The backmatter provides an excellent, age-appropriate introduction to the evolution through which there came to be Homo sapiens.
Caldecott Honor recipient E.B. Lewis portrays our early ancestors on the savannah and in caves. There are wild animals. Then come sailing ships on the water, and here we are. The tale ends with a group of contemporary young people playing in nature. The illustrations wonderfully complement the author’s flowing text.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
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