National Museum of African Art To Host the Annual Children’s Africana Awards and Book Festival
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art will host the 21st Annual Children’s Africana Awards and Book Festival Saturday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The awards and book festival are presented annually to recognize the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S.; they were created by the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa. This event is free and open to the public.
This year’s festival will offer art activities, face painting, a reading challenge, an Africana Book Club hand-on children’s workshop and storytelling. One of this year’s highlights is an art activity inspired by The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a book based on a true story and one of the featured winners.
For the first time, this year’s event will recognize a best-books list with seven titles in two categories:
Best Books for Young Children
When I Get Older—K’Naan Sol Guy, co-authors, and Rudy Gutierrez, illustrations
Inspired by the internationally known Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer and songwriter K’Naan, this is the story behind “Wavin’ Flag,” the song that became the anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with 22 versions and a No.1 hit in 19 countries.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind—William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, authors, and Elizabeth Zunon, illustrations
When 14-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone’s crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library where he figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.
Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books—Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett Abouraya, text and illustrations
Hands Around the Library describes how Egypt’s students, librarians and demonstrators gathered around the Library of Alexandria in January 2011 amidst turmoil to protect the building that stood as a representation of freedom. In that moment, the people of Egypt revealed how the love of books and libraries can unite a country, even one in turmoil.
The Matatu—Eric Walters, author, and Eva Campbell, illustrations
A young Kenyan boy takes a ride on the matatu bus with his grandfather for his fifth birthday. Along the way his grandfather tells the story of why dogs chase the bus, goats run from it and sheep pay no attention to it. Eric Walters is the bestselling author of more than 70 books. The Matatu was inspired by a story told to him by Ruth Kyatha while he was on one of his yearly trips to Kenya.
Ostrich and Lark—Marilyn Nelson, text, and the Kuru Art Project, illustrations
The book looks at how Ostrich and Lark spend their days on the grasslands of southern Africa surrounded by a chorus of birdsong. From his perch in a tree, Lark joins the chorus, while below Ostrich is silent. Then comes the joyful day when Ostrich finds his voice. This picture book about an unlikely friendship is the result of collaboration between the award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson and the San artists of Botswana.
Best Books for Older Readers
Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History—Trevor Getz and Liza Clarke, illustrations
“Am I free?”—The book tells of the compelling courtroom drama of a young woman who demanded this question in West Africa in 1876. Seized from her family as a teenager, forced to carry heavy loads and sold into domestic slavery, Abina wanted to have control over her own life again.
Far from Home—Na’ima B. Robert, author
Far from Home is set in Zimbabwe, introduces two families’ struggles, under white political rule and ending under black rule, 20 years after independence. Roberts provides a very human face to the lives of her protagonists, giving the reader insight into the emotional, personal feelings of the mothers, fathers, children and extended families involved.
For full bios on each of the winners, click here.
The public will have an opportunity to meet the authors and illustrators of the 2013 award-winning books during a book signing outside of the museum store on sublevel one.
About the Children’s Africana Book Awards
Established in 1991 by the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association, the Children’s Africana Book Awards are presented annually to the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S. The awards were created to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa. To learn more about the nomination criteria click here.
About the National Museum of African Art
The National Museum of African Art is America’s only museum dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Ave. S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about this exhibition, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the museum’s website. For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.
Support for the Children’s Africana Awards and Book Festival is provided by Library of Congress, Teaching for Change, TransAfrica, Divine Chocolate, An Open Book Foundation and Politics and Prose.
Note: To arrange an interview with the authors contact Eddie Burke at (202) 633-4660 or BurkeE@si.edu.
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