Sunday, July 22, 2018

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom by Eric Walters


This collection of aphorisms, From the Heart of Africa compiled by Eric Walters is an incredible way to introduce a variety of African cultures into your classroom. A celebration of art, history, and community from people of Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu.
"Aphorisms give guidance, context and instruction for life's issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist." Eric Walters
The book begins with a letter to the reader by the aphorisms collector, Eric Walters. Eric is co-founder of an organization called, Creation of Hope. The Creation of Hope – works to create a future for the orphans of Mbooni Region in Kenya. The aphorisms in this book have been heard from his African friends and colleagues while spending time doing this work in Kenya. He explains, "aphorisms are an oral tradition; difficult to pinpoint its origin."

Each of the aphorisms shared in this collection are paired with an exquisite picture, its origin, and its meaning. Instead of reading all of the aphorisms at one time, I would share one at a time. Whether you share one a day or one a week is up to you; I think I will share one daily during a Geography unit on Africa.

Similar to how the precepts were shared in the book Wonder; I would allow the student to read it first, then allow them to think and write about what it means to them, then share the meaning, and then allow them to clarify or adjust their thoughts before sharing them with the class. 

I enjoyed reading each of the aphorisms and learning its meaning. Some of which I have heard before: Many hands make light work, It takes a village to raise a child, and Unity is strength. The following is my favorite of this collection:


Meaning: Wait until you are on the riverbank and out of harm's way before you make a crocodile angry! Always think before you act. 


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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