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.
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, TXCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.