Beem Explores Africa
In this easy-to-read, fact-filled book, a young girl from Jos, Nigeria, takes readers on a tour of her continent.
The focus is on places and geographical features. After introducing the continent, Beem — our guide — begins with a bit of information about states and cities in Nigeria and hones in on plateaus, the most prominent geographical feature in her place in Nigeria, the Plateau State. We see an illustration of Beem, in casual clothes and a backpack, surveying a peaceful rock-filled landscape. The book continues in this fashion, with Beem introducing a place, highlighting a natural or human-made feature (e.g. pyramids in Egypt) and describing what she is doing, “I am standing so close to a pyramid now that I can see it is made of big flat stones.” Occasionally, Beem asks readers a question. ”Do you have ruins in your country?” she queries when introducing ruins in Great Zimbabwe. When pondering problems in the rainforest she poses a challenge. “Can you find out the ways we can make the rainforest and animals safe?” Animals are not the central topic of discussion in this book, they are appropriately integrated when discussing a geographical feature. Thus we learn about gorillas in the rainforest, camels in the desert and zebras in the savannah.
Curiously, only three ethnic groups are mentioned, Berbers, Tuaregs, and Maasai and the diversity of lifestyles led by members of these groups are overlooked. This is a small flaw in an otherwise outstanding introduction to the African continent. The illustrations are appropriate and colorful. Students reading the electronic version of the book should be instructed to scroll forward to see the images referenced in the text.
Published in Africa Access Review (August 11, 2013)
Copyright 2013 Africa Access
Reviewed by: Brenda Randolph, Africa Access