7 Books to Introduce Nelson Mandela to Children


Nelson Mandela International Day 2018 marks what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100 birthday. He was born on July 18, 1918. The Centenary is a time to reflect on his life and legacy and to follow his call for world peace. On this occasion, we showcase to you some books about him that you can use to introduce his life to children.


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918—2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, who served as the first democratically-elected President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Mandela established the Nelson Mandela Foundation as his post-presidential office in 1999. Nelson Mandela’s magnanimity and humanity in accommodating his apartheid-era tormentors to rebuild the racially divided country as a “Rainbow Nation” made him a revered figure around the world. Madiba – as Nelson Mandela is affectionately known in South Africa taught us how the power of compassion and forgiveness can change the world.

This video introduces Nelson Mandela’s life to children. Spending 27 years in prison Nelson Mandela fought against Apartheid in South African and became known in history as a leader for justice and civil rights.

Books about Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

This stunning picture book biography of Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson is a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor award. 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.

For ages 4-8

Watch a read-aloud of this book here:

National Geographic Readers: Nelson Mandela (Readers Bios) by Barbara Kramer

NGNelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, who courageously dealt with adversity and emerged as a world leader, has been an inspirational role model for millions of people around the world, from students to presidents. After being imprisoned for 27 years, in 1994 he became South Africa’s first democratically-elected president and shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Mandela died in 2013, but his legacy lives on as a barrier-breaker and humanitarian. Learn all about his life, especially the challenges he faced and how he persevered, in this thoughtful biography.

For ages 6-9

Who Was Nelson Mandela? by Meg Belviso

Who was Nelson Mandela

As a child he dreamt of changing South Africa; as a man, he changed the world.  Nelson Mandela spent his life battling apartheid and championing a peaceful revolution.  He spent twenty-seven years in prison and emerged as the inspiring leader of the new South Africa.  He became the country’s first black president and went on to live his dream of change.  This is an important and exciting addition to the Who Was…? series.

For ages: 8-12

Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Chris van Wyk (Editor), Paddy Bouma (Illustrator)

Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, offers a glimpse into the mind of a great leader, admired across the globe for his dedication to the struggles against apartheid in South Africa. Now the youngest readers can discover the remarkable story of Mandela’s long walk from ordinary village boy, to his dynamic leadership of the African National Congress, to his many long years in prison and, at last, his freedom and astonishing rise to become the leader of his country.

For ages 6-11

Grandad Mandela by Ambassador Zindzi Mandela (Author), Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela (Author), Zondwa Mandela (Author), Sean Qualls (Illustrator)

Grandad Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother, Mandela’s youngest daughter, 15 questions about their grandad – the global icon of peace and forgiveness who spent 27 years in prison. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and realize that they can continue his legacy in the world today. Seen through a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren and daughter, this amazing story is told as never before to celebrate what would have been Nelson’s Mandela 100th birthday.

For ages: 4+

Nelson Mandela: The President Who Spent 27 Years in Prison – Biography for Kids Children’s Biography Books

Nelson Mandela Biography

Unlike the other presidents, Nelson Mandela was once a prisoner for 27 years. His tale is one of bravery, hope and inspiration. Know about his struggles and his accomplishments. By reading this book, you will finally get to understand why Nelson Mandela was loved not only his people but by the world, too. Start reading today!

For ages:

Book by Nelson Mandela for kids

Nelson Mandela′s Favorite African Folktales by N Mandela (Author)

Nelson Mandelas Favorite African Folktales by N Mandela

In these beloved stories, we meet a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads, and tricksters from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena, and we learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns. Creation myths tell us how the land, its animals, and its people all came into existence under a punishing sun or against the backdrop of a spectacularly beautiful mountain landscape. Whether warning children about the dangers of disobedience or demonstrating that the underdog can, and often does, win, these stories, through their depiction of wise animals as well as evil monsters, are universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts, and the mystical. Translated from their original languages—Karanga, Nguni, Xhosa, and many others—these folktales are a testament to the craft of storytelling and the power of myth.

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