Monday, June 19, 2017

Do You Know About the Ancient Mali Empire? Let's Check It Out with Carole P. Roman




This book from the If You Were Me series by Carole P. Roman was a learning experience for me, as well, I am sure, as would it be for your children. With illustrations by Mateya Arkova, we go back to the year 1332...

1332...This was an important time in Mali. It was when it was considered a vital trade center and a world power. From the year 1230 to around the early 1600s, the Mali Empire was also known as the Mandingo Empire. The word Mali means hippopotamus in the Mandinka language...

This is a town Mali today...




With the help of the illustrator we see ... ...what a city in Mali may have looked like seven hundred years ago. Mali started as a small part of the kingdom of Ghana then rebelled against the government and became a kingdom in their own right.

The Kingdom of Mali emerged as the most powerful in the Western Sudan. The Mali empire grew to extend over a large portion of Western Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the southern part of the Sahara Desert.

With strong leadership, Mali was able to take control of trade routes, making the economy and people rich.
~~~


The first fun thing we have the opportunity to do is to meet some of the children...

If you were a girl, your parents might have chosen the name Wassa or Mariam.

They might have given the names Dango or Ibraham to your brothers...



The author then asks an interesting question as to why the names for Mali children could be quite different... You see, many of the people living in the Empire embrace the Islam faith, while many of the original occupants were part of the Mande people and spoke a language called Mandinka. The inhabitants merged because of the major roadways, especially as one road led to Mecca. Some of the people already living there changed to Islam but many remained with their beliefs and they live together side by side... Many of the earlier buildings were changed to mosques to meet the needs of those in the Islam faith. People loved to go to pray in the new beautiful mosques. Some even had sixty-foot towers that were topped with ostrich eggs! You'll have to find out what they did that...

Because of the time period, the book provides historical stories of that time and is quite long, 76 pages. Trading activities, information on how the empire was governed and the type of buildings and how they were built are interesting issues of this long-ago empire.

The King of the land was Mansa Musa who came to be known as the richest man in the world... But do you know what he would often do? He'd take gold nuggets with him when he traveled and passed them out randomly, sharing his wealth with those in his kingdom... He would also bring entertainers with him as he visited parts of his empire.

One cool man we learn about happened to be the grandfather of the family we are visiting...He was the griot, a storyteller who would share, by memory, of the history of the empire, often telling about the story of the Mandinka people....

Here's an example... entertainers and griot working...


I don't know about you, but I'm learning a lot from these books--they are soooo much more interesting that reading a textbook, aren't they... With the pictures alongside the historical text, we can imagine what was happening as we see the characters from that time or country. If you haven't read any of this award-winning series, you are missing an exciting way to travel around the world, and even visit ancient places... What better way to get children interested in learning about geography, history, and the people across the world?! Highly recommended.


GABixlerReviews



Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children. She hosts two blog radio programs and is one of the founders of a new magazine, Indie Author's Monthly. She's been interviewed twice by Forbes Magazine. Carole has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. Oh Susannah is her first Early Reader Chapter book series. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.