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African Authors Sharing the stories out of Africa Independent Reading- Grade 11-12 April 2007 Connie Halks English Department Continuity and Change in West Africa Winter 2006/Spring 2007 Malden High School Malden, MA. Table of Contents Introduction (#3) Essential Questions (# 4-7)

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African AuthorsSharing the stories out of AfricaIndependent Reading- Grade 11-12April 2007Connie HalksEnglish Department Continuity and Change in West Africa Winter 2006/Spring 2007Malden High SchoolMalden, MA

Table of Contents

Introduction (#3)

Essential Questions (# 4-7)

Assignment (#8)

Discussion Prompts(#9-11)

Poetry work: “an african american” (#12-15)

Community Read: “Soldiers of the Stone”(16-19)

Suggested Titles (#20-38)

Brochure Assignment (#39)

“Meet the Writers” (#40-41)

ELA and Technology Standards (#43-45)

Annotated Bibliography(#46-47)


The following assignments combine the current independent reading initiative begun this past September, recent integration of technology both for acquisition of information and with Publisher software, and the Primary Source “Continuity and Change in West Africa” workshops this year.

It was impossible not to bring these three educational experiences together; the integration of reading and technology literacies blends powerfully to make the stories out of Africa, past and present, an important learning experience for urban high school students today.

Briefly, the assignments follow many of the methods used by Malden’s English teachers. The introduction with African poetry and short story, and student choice of nonfiction and fiction fell neatly in place with current trends here.

The PowerPoint presentation provides directions and suggested reading of works set in Africa and written by African authors. The unit assignments can be easily followed from beginning to end using the PowerPoint slides.

Connie Halks ‘07








the World

Essential Questions

Journal Entries

  • What marks the passage from childhood to adulthood?
  • How can you benefit by learning about the people in the 54 countries of Africa?
Problems of the world are our problems.We are more similar than different.Voices throughout the world must be shared.

…….…The Voices and People of Africa….…...

Independent Reading Ms. Halks’s

Grade 11 & 12 - 4th Quarter

Picture Books, Photography Books, Autobiographies, Memoirs, Biographies, Short Stories, Fiction


Build your knowledge about Africa one voice at a time.

Choose your book carefully. Most titles presented here have critical commentary, reader reviews, and brief summaries on the Barnes and Noble site.

Ms. Musilli has collected books for you in the library. Please, take advantage of the public library across the street and the books I have.

Primary Sources . . .
  • Develop mutual understanding.
  • Improve awareness of the voices of Africa and of our need to appreciate the stories and lives of those around the world.
  • Help us appreciate how we connect to others and helps us recognize our responsibility to others near and far.

Your student brochures will engage all students about their ability to affect positive change both locally and globally.


“We are all African under the skin.”Dr. Spencer WellsIn the beginning, according to scientists who have been studying human DNA, a small, sturdy group of people walked out of Africa. From there, human beings eventually spread all over the earth.


from “an african american”by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah (172-173)

open your ears

my children

and listen to this griot

talk of history

being made

i wanna tell you this story

of my life


from “an african american”

the blood which flows

through the left side of my body

is the mississippi river

every day I wake it croons

“lift every voice and sing”

the anthem of the american negro


from “an african american”

the blood which flows

through the right side of my body

is the nile river

every day I rise it screams out loud

“africa, oh africa, cry freedom

for all you children”

Take our your copy of the entire poem and dialogue with the text. Discuss interpretations within your group.

soapstone analysis
SOAPStone Analysis
  • Use your copy of the poem.
  • Using the SOAPStone directions, work with in your group to analyze the meaning of the entire poem.
  • Write a 1-2 page response in your journal about the poem and the obvious connections made between America and Africa.

Memories of Sun

Edited by Jane Kurtz

Stories of Africa, Americans in Africa, and Africans in America

from “Soldiers of the Stone”
  • “Kulaja Giri pointed his hand at his head and pulled the trigger. But his hand was empty, not holding the gun he had tucked underneath his pillow.”
“Soldiers of the Stone”
  • A young African soldier finds sanctuary in the United States, but soon discovers the wars on the streets here between gangs. He finally is able to broker a small peace and help a young Mexican boy who must also find a way to transcend the violence that surrounds him.
Community Read

“Soldiers of the Stone”


Uko Bendi Udo

Read the short story carefully.

Identify: 3 quotes, 3 questions, and 3 comments.

Record these in your journal.

African authors

different countries

Universal Lessons

  • Survival
  • Race
  • War
  • Genocide
  • Poverty
  • Mental Illness
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • identity
The stories out of africa

a Mosaic of achievement, struggle, and hope


Stories Out of Africa

fuel dreams & demand attention

African women tell their own stories . . .
  • Poetry
  • Lullabies
  • Songs
  • Speeches
  • Fiction
http news bbc co uk 1 hi in pictures 4385674 stm

In pictures: Nelson Mandela comic strip

"You know you are famous when you discover you have become a comic book character," Nelson Mandela joked at the launch of a comic series about his life.


Love a good mystery?

Learn about the traditions and humor from this best selling series of detective mysteries by African author Alexander McCall Smith.

Fictionalized account of four generations of West African women
  • Cultures, traditions, and dreams evolve for Abie, the protagonist
  • Each chapter can be read separately
  • Helps us understand the struggles of Sierra Leone
The Icarus Girl
  • Written from the point of view of an 8 year old girl.
  • Child of a Nigerian mother and an English father
  • Blends myth, spiritual identity, and a child’s right of passage
"Let us break bread and celebrate our diversity."Desmond Tutu comments on Marcus Samuelsson's African fusion cookbook.
Achebe tells the story of Africa before the English and the missionaries arrive.
  • This is the universal story of a son who strives to dream and succeed but who is undone by the culture and traditions that have nurtured him.
  • You will need to read quickly to the end.

The stories available are painful and remarkable. They mark an early assent into adulthood and a faith in the future.

Our responsibility is to face the truth and to share the stories with others.

Make sure the story you choose engages you and empowers you to inspire others. Your brochure will share the author’s conflicts and themes and also information about specific countries in Africa and Africans.

tri fold brochure rubric
Tri-fold BrochureRubric

Draw your quotes from your five dialectical journal entries, quotes, and personal commentary.

  • Use the brochure rubric
  • Follow requirements exactly
  • Author picture and biographical information must be retrieved from the internet
  • Use Barnes and Noble web site for book summary, reader reviews

Same as Quarter 1 & 2

  • For this brochure, add two additional tasks:
  • 1. Research the setting of the book you read and provide a separate paragraph about this setting.
  • Take the time to write about what you discovered about Africa.
  • Comment on the universal themes about growing from childhood to adulthood as observed from your story.
african author information is available but limited
African Author InformationIs Available But Limited

Enjoy writer’s interviews

Author information is provided in essay form and in some cases with audio and video versions.


Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards

Standard 9: Making Connections

Students will deepen their understanding of a literary or non-literary work by relating it to its contemporary context or historical background.

Standard 11: Theme

Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of theme in a literary work and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding.

11.7 – Analyze and compare texts that express a universal theme , and locate support in the text for the identified theme.1.5Internet, Networking, and Online Communication

Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework June 2001


Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards

Standard 12 : Fiction

Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the structure and elements of fiction and provide evidence form the text to support their understaning.2. Ethics, Society, and Safety

Standard 13: Nonfiction

Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the purpose, structure, and elements of nonfiction or informational materials and provide evidence from the text to support their

Standard 14: Poetry

14.6 Analyze and evaluate the appropriateness of diction and imagery

Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework June 2001


Massachusetts Technology Standards

Standard 1. Basic Operations and Productivity Tools

1.2 Word Processing/Desktop Publishing

1.5Internet, Networking, and Online Communication

2. Ethics, Society, and Safety

2.21 Design and implement a personal learning plan that includes the use of technology to support lifelong learning goals.

3. Research, Problem-Solving, and Communications

3.11 Conduct research using all appropriate electronic resources

3.31 Present information, ideas, and results of work using a variety of media and formats for appropriate audiences (e.g. newsletters, podcasts, blogs).

Massachusetts Technology Standards Grades 9 through 12 Draft 3/25/2007


Annotated Bibliography

Barnes & Noble. The Barnes and Noble accessed 15 March 2007 from

This web site provides information for each of the titles listed on the slides. In most cases the book information includes a brief summary, author information, and reader reviews. “Meet the Writers” provides biographies, and some audio and video interviews.

Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama. “an African american.” In Memories of Sun. Ed. Jane Kurtz. New York: Amistad/Greenwillow Books, 2004.

This poem explores the paradox of African American identity expressed by the poet.

Halperin, Helena. I Laugh So I won’t Cry: Kenya’s Women Tell the Stories of Their Lives. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2005.

Halperin takes advantage of her time in Kenya to interview and introduce the world to the stories of the sad, reflective, and hopeful lives of Women in Africa. The stories tell of oppression and amazing courage and the universal concerns of all women.

Ilibagiza, Immaculee. Left to Tell: Discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. California: Hay House, Inc., 2006.

This is a story of slaughtered family and dreams and survival and hope. Immaculee finds faith and God in the midst of the murder of her family and the devastation of genocide.


Kurtz, Jane, Ed. Memories of Sun: Stories of Africa and America. New York: Amistad/Greenwillow Books, 2004.

A wonderful collection of short stories and poetry divided in sections: Africa; Americas in African; and Africans in America. Many wonderful, teachable stories

Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy an Autobiography: The True Story of a Black Youth’s coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa. New York: Free Press,1986. Mathabane shares the story of his poverty and gang wars which mark his passage from childhood to adulthood. Again, it is the hope in the midst of devastation that shares the horrible truth of cruelty but keeps a focus on the future.

Ousseimi, Maria. Caught in the Crossfire: Growing up in a War Zone. New York: Walker and Company, 1995.

Ousseimi experienced war as a child; feeling herself fortunate but conflicted, she travels around the world to look at the lives of children tormented by the cruelty of adults in places including Lebanon, El Salvador, Mozambique, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Washington, D. C..

Udo, Uko Bendi. “Soldiers of the Stone.” Memories of Sun, Ed. Jane Kurtz. New York: Amistad/Greenwillow Books, 2004.

This story begins with flashbacks of the protagonist revisiting the murder and torture he participated in. The story revolves around his confusion about how to deal with the violence he sees around him in America.