A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by Lindsey McDivitt, illustrated by Charly Palmer (Released March 30)

Published by Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers

A Plan for the People - Lindsey G Mcdivitt, Charly Palmer : Eerdmans

Summary:  This biography of Nelson Mandela covers his early life in the first few pages, focusing primarily on his imprisonment from 1963 until 1990.  Mandela studied and taught others while in prison, reaching out to both white guards and black prisoners.  His isolation gradually decreased as reforms slowly came to South Africa, and on February 2, 1991, he was released from prison.  Three years later, he voted for the first time in his life–and was elected president of South Africa.  Includes extensive back matter:  lengthy author’s and illustrator’s notes; additional information on apartheid, the ANC, and Mandela’s imprisonment; a timeline of Mandela’s life and South Africa’s journey to democracy; and lists of books, videos, and websites with additional information (but, surprisingly, no photos).  48 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  An inspiring look at Nelson Mandela’s life, with beautiful, brilliant acrylic paintings to illustrate it, and lots of material to support further research.

Cons:  I wish this book had been edited more; the text is lengthy, and some of Mandela’s story could have been more effectively shown rather than told. 

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