Monday, March 13, 2017

Winter Reading 2017 If You Were Me and Lived in the Ancient Mali Empire


Carole P. Roman continues to add to her new series on different historical periods throughout the world. For those of us who have only heard of Mali from movies like the Dirk Pitt adventure, "Sahara," her title on the Ancient Empire of Mali is full of incredible facts. I appreciate that her narrator is a girl from the time period, and that she mentions how boys and girls have different traditional roles. Modern children will probably be surprised to learn that boys were apprenticed to learn a trade at age 12 or 13, and that girls were considered old enough to be married. The different social classes are described, as are various occupations. 

The history of Mali and how it rebelled against the government of Ghana and formed its own country, then went on to become rich and powerful will impress young readers. Perhaps they will see parallels between the beginnings of Mali and that of the United States. The rich traditions of history, music, storytelling, and religious tolerance are shared with readers, along with descriptions of clothing and common foods. Children will be shocked that many people used salt to trade for goods in the market rather than gold. We are so accustomed to using standard currency that barter and trade seem strange to modern readers.

A nice introduction to young readers who are curious about the past and important time periods and people. This series gives a broad overview of each period and location, and enough specifics to answer basic questions while also giving facts that can lead to further research. There are several pages in the back matter that describe important figures such as royalty, military commanders, scholars, and architects.

I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

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