Grandad Mandela

by Ambassador Zindzi Mandela (Author) Sean Qualls (Illustrator)

Grandad Mandela
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
"...profoundly moving..." --Publishers Weekly

Zazi and Ziwelene's great-grandad is called Nelson Mandela. Once day, they ask their grandmother 15 questions about him and his life. As their conversation unfolds, Zazi and Ziwelene learn that Nelson Mandela was a freedom fighter, a President, and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and that they can carry on his work today.

Seen through a child's perspective, authored jointly by Nelson Mandela's great-grandchildren and daughter, and published in collaboration with Mandela Legacy Media, this book brings Nelson Mandela's incredible story alive for a new generation of children.

Publishers Weekly

Among the numerous picture books about Nelson Mandela, this title, published to honor the 100th anniversary of Mandela's birth, is the first to have been created by his family members. Here, a dialogue between Mandela's young great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene, and their grandmother, Mandela's daughter Zindzi, introduces South Africa's recent history and the family's role in toppling apartheid. In a child's direct, simple language, the questions range from specific moments in history ("Why did Grandad go to jail?") to challenging, philosophical definitions ("What is justice?"). A few lines read with understandable, hyperbolic notes of family pride ("Winnie Mandela was born... amongst the Pondo people, who produced the best warriors in history"), though younger readers may need help grasping the meaning of a final reference to volunteering. The intimacy created by the family voices and connections is profoundly moving, and Qualls's dynamic paper-collage compositions of the Mandelas, as well as supporters of all colors, reinforce the sense of a final, unifying concept: "Ubuntu... means I am because we all are." Ages 4-7. (June)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5--To celebrate what would have been Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, his daughter and her grandchildren have crafted a short collection of straightforward questions about his life, imprisonment, and role in ending apartheid in South Africa. This child-friendly introduction to the topic of apartheid, with collage-style paintings and sketches by Qualls, demonstrates the simplification of momentous historical events and cultural concepts down to small and digestible kernels of truth. When readers meet Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela, they are playing at their grandmother's house. After stumbling across a photo of their famous great-grandfather they began to pepper their grandmother, who is his youngest daughter, with questions about his life, her own memories, and the historical and cultural context that preceded Mandela's presidency. She patiently responds to each question with heartfelt examples that help the children to connect their family's past to their present. Her references to jellied candies and cake, school days, volunteerism, and family life are illustrations that her grandchildren can readily connect to their own lives, and child readers are likely to do the same. By cleverly formatting the story as a conversation between two candid grandchildren and their elder, the Mandelas are able to present challenging topics with ingenuity and warmth. VERDICT Recommended for nonfiction collections.--Lauren Younger, Nicholson Memorial Library, Garland, TX

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Ambassador Zindzi Mandela

Ambassador Zindzi Mandela is a South African freedom fighter, diplomat, writer, speaker, cultural advocate and favorite Grandma. She is the last born child of Mrs Winnie Madikizela- Mandela and President Nelson Mandela, and was only 18 months old when her father went to prison. In 1985, when she was 25 years old, she read Nelson Mandela's famous refusal to accept the offer of conditional release from President P. W. Botha to a packed football stadium in Soweto, saying his words, 'I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free.' The Ambassador lives in Copenhagen where she serves as South Africa's ambassador to Denmark.

Zazi Mandela (8) and Ziwelene Mandela (6) are the great-grandchildren of Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and President Nelson Mandela. Zazi is a storyteller and an aspiring performer. Ziwelene is a storyteller and a maverick.

Sean Qualls is an award winning, Brooklyn-based, children's book illustrator, artist and author. He has illustrated a number of highly acclaimed books for children, including Giant Steps to Change The World by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis-Lee, Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and her son Slade, and Before John Was a Jazz Giant, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor. Sean also created the art for Dizzy by Jonah Winter and Skit Scat Raggedy Cat by Roxane Orgill. His work has received two Blue Ribbon citations from the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Qualls has created illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and advertisements and his work has been shown in galleries in New York and across the country.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
June 20, 2018
Age Range
4 - 4 years

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