cover image Grandad Mandela

Grandad Mandela

Zindzi, Zazi, and Ziwelene Mandela, illus. by Sean Qualls. Quarto/Lincoln, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-78603-136-5

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.[em] (June) [/em]