Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince

We rated this book:


Most Americans know little of African history – especially from parts of Africa where the oral tradition is well-entrenched. Shaka Rising draws from oral tradition and recorded history to present a balanced retelling of Shaka’s life in a graphic novel. Retelling with a blend of history and oral narratives in a graphic novel format reaches out to a greater number of readers and serves to familiarize them with portions of world history that they would not otherwise get exposed to. While the book tries to remain as close to historical facts as possible, its presentation (which starts as a storyteller telling a story) gives it the flair of historical fiction.

This book is clearly aimed at middle-school readers but can also be enjoyed by adults. To help educators, the main characters are presented in a two-page spread, and the first page is devoted to placing the story in context. Appendices at the end of the book provide educators (and interested readers) with additional knowledge of Shaka and Zulu society. Each appendix can be used to explore themes relevant to us today. The one on the role of a leader asks readers to reflect on the difference between “ruling” and “leading.” One appendix specifically provides a list of questions for further reflection.

The illustrations, story-telling, historical context, and critical thinking opportunities are excellent for middle-school students – especially when used in conjunction with their studies of African Empires. Of course the book can be enjoyed by adults as well. My only regret is that it does not cover all of Shaka’s life but ends with the defeat of the Ndwandwe at the height of Shaka’s power.

Reviewed By:

Author Luke Molver • Luke Molver, Illustrator • Mbongeni Malaba, Foreword
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 96 pages
Publisher Story Press Africa
Publish Date 2018-Jan-09
ISBN 9781946498984
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Sequential Art


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