Book Review: Is It Far To Zanzibar

Have you ever been on safari? Bought a juicy mango from a street vendor? Searched for the elusive crown of Mt. Meru in the clouds? If you live in Tanzania, chances are you have at least chanted about doing all these things and more while playing childhood games.

Tanzania’s rich and varied cultural tapestry is beautifully painted in Nikki Grimes’ simple poems. Ancient traditions and native foods blend with crowded bus rides and modern adventures in the pages of this book, just as they do in Tanzania itself. Every young reader can experience the cozy hut in rainy season or run from the hungry lion.

The language in this book is simple enough for children to read on their own, but we had so much fun using this as a read-aloud. We enjoyed stumbling over the swahili words introduced by Ms. Grimes, then checking our pronunciation on the glossary page at the end of the book. Perhaps your children would enjoy making up tunes or dances to the catchy rhythms of the poems.

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