Teaching Ancient Civilizations with Children’s Literature: African Food and Drink

 African Food and Drink

African Food and Drink

Introduction and Summary:

Mmm! Delicious! Exquisite! If you have ever wondered what types of food Africans traditionally eat or what they taste like, then African Food and Drink by Martin Gibrill is the book just for you! This book may be old but it is perfect for children who are curious about the different types of African cuisine out in the world. The most interesting part about this book is that some of the pages contain recipes for actual African dishes, which is amazing. Some of these exquisite dishes include: Maharagwe (Spiced red beans), Bidia (a mixture of milk, cornmeal and water), Peanut Stew and best of all, Peanut Cookies!

African Food and Drink does not center only on the foods and drinks that Africans generally consume.  It also provides information on the cultures of many African countries like Mali, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, etc. It talks about African languages, “There are as many as 2,000 African languages spoken throughout Africa and it is not uncommon for individuals to be fluent in two or three of these; many of these languages have no written form”; Markets: “The market at Timbuctu in Mali, for example, is famous for the role it played as a trading center”; Fishing: “Mali, which is landlocked, catches nearly 7 percent of the region’s fish from the Niger River”; and even Religion: “There are three major religious influences in Africa: traditional religions, Islam and Christianity.” The book is more like an encyclopedia on Africa then it is on just food and drink. Perhaps it should consider changing its title!

Curriculum Connections:

Despite the age of the book and the fact that it is written mostly for kids from Kindergarten through second grade, this book does a fine job in  describing small parts of ancient Mali’s culture, including religion, education, geography and of course, food and drink (VA SOL 3.2, 3.4 and 3.8)!

Additional Resources:

Mali Scavenger Hunt: This creative website provides numerous amounts of teacher resource material and fun activities for students of all ages that relate to Mali, including geography, a map, economics, history, etc.

 The Art of Ancient Mali : This website sponsored by the Virginia Museum provides many cultural classroom activities that pertain to ancient Mali, a must for students and teachers. It also provides teachers with a lesson plan on the art and cultures of ancient Mali.

Africa for Kids: This unique website provides lots of information on a large number of African countries like Mali, Ghana, Egypt, etc. Filled with games, activities and history, this website will provide fun and facts for both students and teachers.

General Information:

Book: African Food and Drink

Author: Martin Gibrill

Publisher: The Bookwright Press

Publication Date: 1989

Pages: 48

Grade Range: K-2

ISBN: 0531182967

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