Historical Fiction: Africa


[This is part of an ongoing series of historical fiction book lists for students and teachers.  For the full list and to see more info, click here.]

There are a limited amount of English historical fiction books about Africa, so I included some modern and generic ones that help explain the culture, tribal life, animals and geography of Africa.  And due to the oral tradition of Africa, I thought that I’d include a separate page for folk tales since they can show the culture and religious beliefs of Africans.

 Lower Grades (K-3)

  1. Africa Brothers and Sisters-Kroll (3.1/0.5)
  2. Africa Calling-Alderman (2.5/0.5)
  3. Africa Dream-Greenfield (2.5/0.5)
  4. An African Princess-Edmonds (3.0/0.5)
  5. Akimbo and the Baboons-McCall (5.3/1)
  6. Akimbo and the Crocodile Man-McCall (5.5/1)
  7. Akimbo and the Elephants-McCall (4.9/1)
  8. Akimbo and the Lions-McCall (5.0/1)
  9. Akimbo and the Snakes-McCall (5.5/1)
  10. Along the Luangwa: A Story of an African Floodplain-Bull (4./0.5)
  11. Amadi’s Snowman-Saint-Lot (3.2/0.5) (Nigeria, Igbo)
  12. Anna Hibiscus-Atinuke (4.1/1)
  13. The Artists of Benin City-Rice (3.1/0.5) (Nigeria)
  14. At the Crossroads-Isadora (1.9/0.5) (South Africa – modern)
  15. Babu’s Song-Stuve-Bodeen (3.4/0.5) (Tanzania – modern)
  16. Bashi, Elephant Baby-Radcliffe (3.7/0.5)
  17. Beatrice’s Goat-McBrier (4.0/0.05) (Uganda, modern)
  18. The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela-Kessler (4.0/0.5) (Ethiopia)
  19. Big Boy-Mollel (3.3/0.5)
  20. Bikes for Rent!-Olaleye (2.7/0.5) (modern, Nigeria)
  21. Bintou’s Braids-Diouf (3.3/0.5)
  22. Bitter Bananas-Olaleye (2.6/0.5)
  23. Boundless Grace-Hoffman (3.8/0.5)
  24. The Butter Man-Alalou (4.3/0.5)
  25. Can You Hear the Sea?-Cumberbatch (3.1/0.5) (W. Africa)
  26. Catch That Goat!-Alakija (1.1/0.5)
  27. Chidi Only Likes Blue-Onyefulu (3.6/0.5)
  28. The Children of Sierra Leone-Christiana (1.9/0.5)
  29. Chirchir Is Singing-Cunnane (3.9/0.5) (Kenya)
  30. City Boy-Michael (4.0/6) (Malawi)
  31. Cool Time Song-Schaefer (2.4/0.5)
  32. A Country Far Away-Gray (1.2/0.5)
  33. Crocodile Crossing-Bull (3.8/0.5) (E. Africa)
  34. Crocodile Listens-Sayre (2.0/0.5)
  35. Dancing Masks of Africa-Price (5.3/0.5)
  36. Danny’s Drawing Book-Heap (2.0/0.5)
  37. The Day Gogo Went to Vote-Sisulu (4.0/0.5) (S. Africa, 1990’s)
  38. Desmond and the Very Mean Word-Tutu (3.9/0.5) (S. Africa 1930’s)
  39. Don’t Spill the Milk!-Davies (2.8/0.5)
  40. Elizabeti’s Doll-Stuve-Bodeen (3.4/0.5) (Tanzania)
  41. Elizabeti’s School-Stuve-Bodeen (3.8/0.5)
  42. Elsina’s Clouds-Winter (2.1/0.5) (S. Africa)
  43. Escape-Dunckel (3.7/1) (Ethiopia)
  44. Faraway Home-Kurtz (3.6/0.5) (Ethiopia)
  45. Fatuma’s New Cloth-Bulion (2.6/0.5)
  46. First Come the Zebra-Barasch (3.9/0.5)
  47. For You Are a Kenyan Child-Cunnane (2.8/0.5)
  48. Forest Singer-Sikundar (3.2/0.5) (pygmy, Mbuti)
  49. Furaha Means Happy: A Book of Swahili Words-Wilson-Max (2.3/0.5)
  50. Galimoto-Williams (3.0/0.5)
  51. Gift Days-Winters (5.0/0.5) (Uganda)
  52. Gift of the Sun: A Tale from South Africa-Stewart (3.3/0.5)
  53. Goal!-Javaherbin (2.7/0.5) (S. Africa)
  54. The Good Lion-Brown (4.2/0.5)
  55. A Good Trade-Fullerton (3.3/0.5)
  56. The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case-McCall Smith (4.5/1)
  57. Gugu’s House-Stock (3.6/0.5) (Zimbabwe)
  58. Handa’s Hen-Brown (1.6/0.5) (Kenya)
  59. Handa’s Surprise-Browne (1.7/0.5) (Kenya)
  60. The Herd Boy-Daly (3.6/0.5)
  61. Here Comes Our Bride!-Onyefulu (4.1/0.5)
  62. Hidden Hippo-Gannij (5.6/0.5)
  63. Home Now-Beake (3.1/0.5)
  64. Hunt for the Devil’s Dragon-Hering (3.1/2)
  65. The Hunter and the Ebony Tree-LaTeef (5.3/0.5)
  66. I Lost My Tooth in Africa-Diakite (3.0/0.5)
  67. It Takes a Village-Cowen-Fletcher (2.5/0.5)
  68. Jafta-Lewin (2.6/0.5)
  69. Jafta and the Wedding-Lewin (3.7/0.5)
  70. Jafta’s Father-Lewin (2.8/0.5)
  71. Jafta’s Mother-Lewin (3.2/0.5)
  72. Jafta, the Town-Lewin (3.0/0.5)
  73. Jambi and the Lions-Brady (4.5/1)
  74. Jamela’s Dress-Daly (3.3/0.5)
  75. Jeshi the Gorilla-Grey (4.4/0.5)
  76. Juba This, Juba That-Becker (1.1/0.5) (Nigerian handclapping rhyme)
  77. Kele’s Secret-Mollel (3.8/0.5)
  78. Koi and the Kola Nuts-Gleeson (3.7/0.5)
  79. Koi’s Python-Moore (3.7/1) (Batetela people)
  80. Lake of the Big Snake: An African Rain Forest Adventure-Olaleye (3.1/0.5)
  81. Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby-MacLachlan (2.9/0.5)
  82. Lemur Landing: A Story of a  Madagascan Tropical Dry Forest-Dennard (4.6/0.5)
  83. Leperit the Zebra-Grey (4.2/0.5)
  84. Lila and the Secret of Rain-Conway (3.9/0.5)
  85. The Lion’s Whiskers-Day (4.0/0.5) (Ethiopia)
  86. Little Fish, Lost-Van Laan (2.3/0.5)
  87. Loli the Leopard-Nussbaum (4.0/0.5)
  88. The Market Bowl-Averbeck (3.1/0.5) (Cameroon)
  89. Masai and I-Kroll (4.1/0.5)
  90. Monkey for Sale-Stanley (3.3/0.5)
  91. Mountain Mists: A Story of the Virungas-Lee (4.6/0.5)
  92. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters-Steptoe (4.3/0.5) (Zimbabwe)
  93. Muktar and the Camels-Graber (3.3/0.5)
  94. My Baby-Winter (2.5/0.5) (Mali)
  95. My Father’s Shop-Ichikawa (2.2/0.5) (Morocco)
  96. My Grandfather Is a Magician: Work and Wisdom in an African Village-Onyefulu (4.6/0.5)
  97. My Heart Will Not Sit Down-Rockliff (4.4/0.5) (1930’s)
  98. My Rows and Piles of Coins-Mollel (3.8/0.5) (Tanzania)
  99. My Sister’s Wedding: A Story of Kenya-Mbuthia (3.0/0.5)
  100. Next Stop—Zanzibar Road!-Daly (3.1/0.5) (modern)
  101. The No 1 Car Spotter-Atinuke (3.4/1)
  102. Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa and Other Talking Drum Rhymes-Unobagha (3.5/0.5)
  103. On a Road in Africa-Doner (4.5/0.5)
  104. Once Upon a Time-Daly (3.4/0.5)
  105. One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference-Milway (4.6/0.5) (Ghana)
  106. Only a Pigeon-Kurtz (4.7/0.5)
  107. Only One Cowry: A Dahomean Tale-Gershator (4.0/0.5)
  108. Over in the Grasslands-Wilson (2.5/0.5)
  109. Over the Green Hills-Isadora (2.9/0.5)
  110. Owen and Mzee: A Little Story About Big Love-Glennon (3.2/0.5) (Kenya)
  111. Papa, Do You Love Me?-Joosse (2.9/0.5) (Maasai)
  112. The Pursuit of the Ivory Poachers: KenyaHunt (5.4/2)
  113. Rain-Stojic (1.7/0..5)
  114. Rain School-Rumford (2.5/0.5)
  115. Safari in South Africa-Lumry (3.9/0.5)
  116. Sebgugugu the Glutton: A Bantu Tale from Rwanda-Aardema (3.4/0.5
  117. Sense Pass King: A Story from Cameroon-Tchana (4.3/0.5)
  118. A Song for Jamela-Daly (3.6/0.5) (S. Africa, modern)
  119. Sosu’s Call-Asare (4.6/0.5)
  120. A South African Night-Isadora (2.2/0.5) (S. Africa, modern)
  121. A Story, A Story-Haley (4.2/0.5)
  122. The Storytellers-Lewin (4.6/0.5) (Morocco)
  123. The Talking Cloth-Mitchell (3.0/0.5)
  124. Through Tsavo: A Story of an East African Savanna-Bull (4.9/0.5)
  125. Tibili: The Little Boy Who Didn’t Want to Go to School-Leonard (3.4/0.5)
  126. To Everything There Is a Season-Daly (2.3/0.5)
  127. The Truth About the Moon-Bess (3.5/0.5)
  128. Under the Baobab Tree-Stiegemeyer (3.2/0.5)
  129. Vacation in the Village-Njeng (3.1/0.5)
  130. The Village of Round and Square Houses-Grifalconi (4.4/0.5)
  131. The Village That Vanished-Grifalconi (4.6/0.5) (slave trade)
  132. We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania-Krebs (1.9/0.5)
  133. We’re Going on a Lion Hunt-Axtell (1.1/0.5)
  134. Welcome Dede! An African Naming Ceremony-Onyefulu (4.1/0.5)
  135. Welcome to Zanzibar Road-Daly (3.0/0.5)
  136. What the Animals Were Waiting For-London (2.5/0.5)
  137. Where Are You Going, Manyoni?-Stock (2.2/0.5)
  138. Wildlife Watching-Slack (5.0/0.5) (Botswana)
  139. Yatandou-Whelan (3.6/0.5)
  140. Your Moon, My Moon: A Grandmother’s Words to a Faraway Child-MacLachlan (3.0/0.5)

Middle Grades (4-8)

  1. Adventure at Simba Hill-Runholt (5.7/9) (Kenya, modern)
  2. Alexandria of Africa-Walters (4.5/8) (Kenya, modern)
  3. Assassins in the Cathedral-Jackson (5.9/5) (Uganda, 1970s?)
  4. The Baboon King-Quintana (6.4/8) (Maasai)
  5. Benny and Omar-Colfer (4.0/8) (Tunisia)
  6. Beyond the Mango Tree-Zemser (4.8/4 (modern Liberia)
  7. A Bone from a Dry Sea-Dickinson (6.8/9)
  8. Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan-Williams (4.7/1)
  9. Chain of Fire-Naidoo (6.2/9) (S. Africa, apartheid)
  10. Countdown-Mikaelsen (4.6/8)
  11. Crocodile Burning-Williams (4.5/10) (S. Africa, modern)
  12. Cry of the Giraffe: Based on a True Story-Oron (Sudan, refugee camp)
  13. Daughters of the Ark-Morgan (6.0/7)
  14. Desert Danger-Burchett (4.2/2)
  15. Desert Danger: Time Jackson, North Africa WWII-Eldridge (5.9/5)
  16. The Distant Talking Drum-Olaleye (4.5/0.5) (Nigeria)
  17. Dixie and Flash-Morris (3.9/3)
  18. Dream Freedom-Levitin (5.0/6) (modern day slavery in Sudan)
  19. Elephant Tears: Mask of the Elephant-Trout (5.3/10) (E. Africa)
  20. Escape from the Slave Traders-Jackson (5.4/4) (1860’s)
  21. Ethiopian Voices: Tsion’s Life-Bellward
  22. The Heaven Shop-Ellis (4.6/6) (Malawi)
  23. Jake’s Safari-Hanbury-Tenison (5.9/4)
  24. Journey to Jo’burg-Naidoo (4.6/2) (S. Africa, modern)
  25. Kai: A Big Decision-Gayle (4.8/2) (W. Africa, 1440)
  26. Kai: A Mission for Her Village-Thomas (4.5/2) (W. Africa, 1440)
  27. Kai: The Lost Statue-Welch (4.5/2) (W. Africa, 1440)
  28. Kakuda the Giraffe-Galvin (3.9/0.5) (Zambia, modern)
  29. King Solomon’s Mines-Kelly (4.0/3) (1880’s, Southern Africa)
  30. King Solomon’s Mines-Welsh (4.6/1) (1880’s, Southern Africa) graphic novel
  31. King Solomon’s Mines (uabridged)-Haggard (1880’s, Southern Africa)
  32. Laugh with the Moon-Burg (4.5/8) (Malawi)
  33. Learning to Swim in Swaziland-Leigh (3.3/0.5)
  34. Listening for Lions-Whelan (5.7/7) (1919, East Africa)
  35. Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali-Burns (6.4/1) (1300’s Mali)
  36. Mesi: A Girl ‘n Grace in Africa-Davis (4.7/2)
  37. The Middle of Somewhere-Gordon (4.6/5) (S. Africa, apartheid)
  38. Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro-Stilton (4.0/1)
  39. The Mystery of the Black Rhino-Dixon (5.3/5) (Kenya)
  40. The Mzungu Boy-Mwangi (4.5/5) (1950’s, Kenya)
  41. Never Forgotten-McKissack  (4.1/0.5) (1700’s, W. Africa, slavery)
  42. The Night of the Burning: Devorah’s Story-Wulf (5.3/8) (early 1900’s, South Africa)
  43. No Condition Is Permanent-Kessler (5.5/6) (modern Sierra Leone)
  44. No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa-Naidoo (5.1/6) (post-apartheid)
  45. Nzingha: Warrior Queen of MatambaMcKissack (5.6/3) (1500’s, W. Africa)
  46. The Old African-Lester (5.1/2)
  47. The Ostrich Chase-Howard (5.4/4) (bushman)
  48. Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope-Naidoo (5.4/5) (1948-2000, South Africa)
  49. Painted Warriors and Wild Lions-Morris (4.1/3) (Masaai)
  50. The Paper House-Peterson (4.1/3) (Kenya)
  51. Parched-Crowder (5.4/3)
  52. The Pirate’s Son-McCaughrean (5.7/10) (Madagascar)*
  53. Quest for the Lost Prince-Jackson (5.7/4) (Liberia)
  54. Risking the Forbidden Game: Maude Cary-Jackson (Morrocco)
  55. Saba: Under the Hyena’s Foot-Kurtz (Ethiopia 1846)
  56. Sahwira: An African Friendship-Marsden (4.6/6) (1964, Rhodesia)
  57. The Shadows of Ghadames-Stolz (late 1800’s, Libya)
  58. Stones for My Father-Kent (6.3/7) (late 1800’s, South Africa)
  59. Story for a Black Night-Bess (3.9/2)
  60. Sundiata: Lion King of Mali-Wisniewski (5.2/0.5) (13th century Mali)
  61. Talking Drums: A Selection of Poems from Africa South of the Sahara-Tadjo (5..6/1) (20th century)
  62. Thunder Cave-Smith (4.2/9)
  63. The White Giraffe-St. John (6.2/7) (S. Africa)
  64. Year of No Rain-Mead (4.0/3) (1999, S. Sudan)*
  65. The Year of the Leopard Song-Campbell (6.1/6) (Mt. Kilimanjaro)
  66. The Year the Gypsies Came-Glass (5.2/10) (1960’s, S. Africa)
  67. Zulu Dog-Ferreira (5.4/6) (S. Africa, post apartheid)

Middle Grades+ (6+)

  1. Afrika-Craig (4.9/7) (S. Africa, 1990’s)
  2. Burn My Heart-Naidoo (5.2/6) (1950’s Kenya)
  3. The Garbage King-Laird (4.9/12) (modern Ethiopia)
  4. The Girl Who Saw Lions-Doherty (5.0/9) (Tanzania)
  5. A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk-Coates (4.9/11) (modern Sudan)
  6. A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story-Park (5.0/3) (1985, Sudan)
  7. The Power of One-Courtenay (6.3/15)
  8. Promise the Night-MacColl (4.6/9) (1930’s Kenya)
  9. The Ring of the Slave Prince-Reuter (5.7/21) (1639, slave trade)
  10. Secrets in the Fire-Mankell (4.4/5)
  11. Son a Gun-de Graaf (4.7/3) (Liberia)
  12. Spud-van de Ruit (S. Africa, 1990’s)

Upper Grades (9-12)

  1. The African Mask-Rupert (Nigeria, 900 years ago)
  2. The African Queen-Forester (7.9/11) (WW I)
  3. Age of Iron-Coetzee (4.8/9) (S. Africa, apartheid)
  4. Angel of Mercy-McDaniel (4.9/6) (Kenya and Uganda, modern)
  5. Anthills of the Savannah-Achebe (7.1/14) (W. Africa)
  6. Ashanti Saga: The Fort-O’Grady
  7. Aya of Yop City-Abouet (2.1/1) (1970’s Ivory Coast, profanity)
  8. Between Sisters-Badoe (4.4/6) (Ghana) (contains sexual situations)
  9. Beyond Safe Boundaries-Sacks (6.3/7) (S. Africa, 1960s)
  10. The Billion Dollar Soccer Ball/Now Is the Time for Running-Williams (4.3/7) (Zimbabwe, modern)
  11. Blue Shoes and Happiness-McCall Smith (6.3/11)
  12. Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda-Combres (5.9/2)
  13. Burger’s Daughter-Gordimer (7.9/23) (S. Africa, modern)
  14. The Camel Bookmobile-Hamilton (5.9/12)
  15. Chanda’s Secrets-Stratton (3.7/7)
  16. Chanda’s Wars-Stratton (3.5/9)
  17. Child of Dandelions-Nanji (4.8/7) (1972, Uganda)
  18. Cry, the Beloved Country-Paton (6.2/14) (S. Africa, 1940’s)
  19. Death and the King’s Horseman-Soyinka (4.8/3) (Nigeria)
  20. Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda-Stassen (3.8/1) (Rwanda, 1990’s genocide)
  21. A Dry White Season-Brink (5.9/17) (S. Africa)
  22. Endangered-Schrefer (6.2/12) (Congo)
  23. Estrangement-Amadi (1960’s Nigeria)
  24. Finally & Forever-Gunn (5.4/12) (Kenya)
  25. Forest of the Pygmies-Allende (7.9/11)
  26. The Full Cupboard of Life-McCall Smith (6.4/10)
  27. Gabon: Philippe Ngome’s Painting: My Family Goes to Market-Touba (3.5/0.5) (modern)
  28. Garram the Hunter: A Boy of the Hill Tribes-Best (8.1/7)
  29. A Girl Named Disaster-Farmer (5.1/14) (Zimbabwe)
  30. Golden Boy-Sullivan (5.1/14) (Tanzania)
  31. The Good Braider-Farish (4.0/5) (Sudan, Egypt and America)
  32. Heart of Darkness-Conrad (9.0/10)
  33. Henderson the Rain King-Bellow (6.3/21)
  34. The Icarus Girl-Oyeyemi (6.3/15)
  35. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies-McCall Smith (6.2/12)
  36. In the Country of Men-Matar (5.8/11) (1970’s Libya)
  37. July’s People-Gordimer (6.6/8)
  38. The Kalahari Typing School for Men-McCall (5.3/9)
  39. Karoo Boy-Blacklaws (5.2/8) (S. Africa)
  40. Life & Times of Micheal K.-Coetzee (6.3/11) (S. Africa)
  41. Little Bee-Cleave (4.8/13) (contains profanity, sexual situations and violence)
  42. Master Harold…and the Boys-Fugard (3.9/2) (1950’s Africa, profanity)
  43. Message from Africa-Mullen (3.4/1)
  44. The Milk of Birds-Whitman (4.9/12) (Sudan) (violence and mutilation)
  45. Mine Boy: The First Modern Novel of Black South Africa-Abrahams (1940’s)
  46. Morality for Beautiful Girls-McCall Smith (6.1/10)
  47. My Son’s Story-Gordimer (7.4/14) (S. Africa, apartheid)
  48. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency-McCall (5.9/10)
  49. The Plague-Camus (8.2/16) (Algiers)
  50. The Power of One-Courtenay (6.9/37) (S. Africa, WWII)
  51. The Return-Levitin (4.5/8)
  52. Out of Shadows-Wallace (4.6/11)
  53. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You-Jansen (5.2/12) (Rwandan genocide)
  54. Purple Hibiscus-Adichie (5.8/13) (Nigeria)
  55. Secret of the Tiger’s Eye-Whitney (5.7/8)
  56. The Storyteller’s Beads-Kurtz (4.8/5) (1980’s Ethiopia)
  57. The Syringa Tree: A Novel-Gien (6.4/14) (S. Africa, 1960’s)
  58. Things Fall Apart-Achebe (6.2/8) (coming of the white man)
  59. This Thing Called the Future-Powers (4.5/9) (S. Africa)
  60. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away-Watson (4.2/16)
  61. Waiting for the Rain-Gordon (5.8/9)*
  62. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel-McKay (2.8/1) (graphic violence)

 

Photo Courtesy of Vince O’Sullivan

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