Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela
Written and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Publisher’s Summary:
In this lush, acclaimed book, award-winning author-illustrator Kadir Nelson tells the story of global icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela in poignant free verse and glorious illustrations.

It is the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa, and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country. Mandela believed in equality for all people, no matter the color of their skin. Readers will be inspired by Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.

Resources in the back include an author’s note and a bibliography listing additional sources for readers who want to find out more.

Primary Source Pairing:
The life and accomplishments of Nelson Mandela are beautifully explained and illustrated in this book by Kadir Nelson. The artwork on each page of this book can be analyzed by students to gain a deeper understanding of Nelson Mandela’s life. After a slow look at the illustrations and a close read of the Author’s Note at the back of the book, invite students to study an image of a poster made by American artist Rachael Romero to garner support for the anti-apartheid movement. Additionally, a photograph of Nelson Mandela is included above.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • How much of the text can you read? What does it say?
  • What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • How are the words arranged?
  • What graphical elements do you see?
  • What tools and materials were used to create it?
  • What can you learn from examining this?
  • How do you feel when you look at this image?
  • What questions do you have when you look at this image?
  • If someone created something like this today, what would be different?
  • What would be the same?
  • Make a connection between an image you have seen recently and this image.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Apartheid No Poster: Library of Congress
Nelson Mandela Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
Rachel Romero website: