This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cameroon plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Cameroonian culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup here, find our introduction and schedule here.
If you follow this blog, then you know one of our favorite ways of learning about a culture is through books. Picture books appeal to a wide range of ages, and are great for reading together.This list includes traditional and modern day folktales, as well as a true story. I have to admit, it hasn't been easy finding stories and folktales set in or about African countries. Some of these books are no longer in print, but you might be able to find them at your local library (like we did) and I've linked those to Better World Books, a site that sells second hand books (I am not affiliated with them).
Our World Cup posts about Cameroon include interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a tutorial for an art project inspired by traditional toghu cloth here.
Sense Pass King by Katrin Tchana is another folktale, and the girls especially liked this one. Sense Pass King is the name of the young heroine who is wiser than the local King. The king, feeling threatened, tries to do away with her, but she continues to outsmart him until he decides to have her become his counsel. After various heroic episodes, the people recognize her gifts and make her queen. This is a fun book, with a strong, intelligent heroine.
The Market Bowl by Jim Averbeck is a kind of modern day folktale. Set in modern day Cameroon, Yoyo's mother teaches her how to make bitterleaf stew, which they sell at the market. Yoyo becomes impatient with the process, and ends up taking shortcuts to this batch that she brings to the market. She had been warned to always accept a fair price at the market, otherwise Brother Coin, the Spirit of the market would remove his blessing from their bowl. Despite this she rejects the small offer for her bowl of stew, and angers the Spirit. Yoyo goes on a journey to make amends with Brother Coin in person. This is a fun book that gives a glimpse of Cameroonian culture, teaches a few words and even includes a recipe for bitterleaf stew in the back (we haven't tried it yet, but we will!)
My Heart Will Not Sit Down by Mara Rockliff is a sweet tale based on a true story from 1931. Kedi is a student in Cameroon, who's heart becomes heavy when her American teacher relays the problems New York are facing during the depression. When she learns that children are starving, she does what she can to enlist her family and community to help them, and raises a small amount of money to send. This is a heart warming story about a village who has little, but does what it can to help someone's else's "village". The illustrations are very colorful, and show a contrast between village life in Cameroon and city life in New York
The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi. Told by a little girl and her grandmother, this is the story of an actual village, Tos, and of the folktale of how it came to be that the women of the village live in the round huts and the men live in the square huts. This book is a great view into village life, and the different roles, chores and expectations the men, women and children have.
Come back tomorrow for a round up of children's books about Cote d'Ivoire and Greece.
Don't forget to find out about what other bloggers and families are doing to follow along with the World Cup and learning about different cultures. I've outlined how it works in my introduction and will be featuring other posts on our Facebook page.
You can find all of our posts with children's books about West Africa here.
You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:
Books are a wonderful way to experience new worlds and ideas. Our house is filled with books, most of which are borrowed from our public library. Public libraries are an incredible resource, making books accessible to everyone, and we highly encourage everyone to discover theirs. If you are hoping to build your own home library, I've made it easy by linking book titles to Amazon.com. Please note that I have become affiliated with them, which means that if you make a purchase, you are also supporting this website.