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African icons : ten people who shaped history
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From ancient times through the 16th century, this underrepresented side of Black history and Black excellence presents heroic full-color portraits and 10 stories of people who helped shape the African continent. 50,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Full-color portraits illustrate the stories of ten people-rulers, educators, inventors, scholars, and explorers-who helped shape the African continent and the world from ancient times through the tumultuous sixteenth century"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

“In African Icons, Baptiste engages in the hard work of unveiling the myths about the African continent to young readers . . . This is a great beginner’s guide to pre-colonial Africa.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist

Meet ten real-life kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who lived in Africa thousands of years ago and changed the world. 

Black history began long ago with the many cultures and people of the African continent.

Through portraits of ten heroic figures, author Tracey Baptiste takes readers on a journey across Africa to meet some of the great leaders and thinkers whose vision built a continent and shaped the world.

Illustrator Hillary D. Wilson’s brilliant portraits accompany each profile, along with vivid, information-filled landscapes, maps, and graphics for readers to pore over and return to again and again. - (Grand Central Pub)

Author Biography

Tracey Baptiste, author of the acclaimed Jumbies series, lived in Trinidad until she was fifteen; she grew up on jumbie stories and fairy tales. She is also the  author of the New York Times bestseller Minecraft: The Crash. Visit her online at and on Twitter: @TraceyBaptiste. - (Grand Central Pub)

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Booklist Reviews

Ten carefully chosen biographies—of six men and four women—introduce figures who have made invaluable contributions to Africa's history. Profiled here are Egypt's first pharaoh, Menes; First Dynasty Queen Merneith; Imhotep, medical demigod and vizier to a king; storyteller Aesop, alongside text of "The Eagle and the Beetle"; military commander Hannibal; playwright Terence; Queen Amanirenas, who defended her kingdom against the Roman Empire; disabled woman Tin Hinan, who founded a desert city and became a queen; warrior queen Idia; and Mansa Musa, then the richest man in the world, who became an emperor. Scattered throughout these biographies are fascinating facts (e.g., most maps show Africa 14.5 times smaller than it really is in comparison to other continents). Baptiste includes contextualizing background in each profile that addresses the richness of Africa's history. Each profile contains a color illustration with a name-pronunciation guide. Readers will be fascinated by the lives of these icons and gain a real appreciation of Africa's underrepresented place in world history. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Table of Contents

Introduction: When Africa Fueled The World viii
The Sahara Vawns
Menes: Creator of Dynasties
Merneith: A Queen Erased
The Dawn of Egvpt
Imhotep: From Peasant to God
Metal Bonds
Nature As Character
Aesop: The Wisest Man in the Ancient World
Across the Ujaues
Hannibal Barca: Unparalleled Military Strategist
Terence: North African Playwright
Amanirenas: Warrior, Diplomat, Queen
Where Few Dared to Tread
Tin Hinan: Founding a City on the Dunes
Across the Golden Sand
Mansa Musa: The Richest Man of All Time
The Catalan Atlas
The Power of the Griot
Libraries in the Sand
The Winds Change
Queen Idia: Kingmaker
Culture Lost
Author's Note 140(3)
Source Notes 143(8)
Bibliography 151(6)
Index 157(3)
Designer's Note 160

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