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Nzingha, warrior queen of Matamba /

Presents the diary of thirteen-year-old Nzingha, a sixteenth-century West African princess who loves to hunt and hopes to lead her kingdom one day against the invasion of the Portuguese slave traders. Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Scholastic, 2000
Series: Royal diaries.
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In her first book for The Royal Diaries series, Newbery Honor author Patricia C. McKissack presents the very wise Nzingha, caught up in her people's fight against Portuguese slave traders.

Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. In present-day Angola, the African queen Nzingha is a cultural hero for her resistance to the Portuguese colonizers and slave traders during her nearly 40-year rule in the early seventeenth century. The history is compelling, but forcing it into the Royal Diaries series format, with Nzingha as a 13-year-old telling her story in journal entries, makes for an awkward, confusing narrative. In fact, the historical note says that the events fictionalized here took place when Nzingha was 40 and not when she was 13. It's the facts that will grab kids' interest: the history (including the horrifying glimpse of the European slave trade that shipped people away forever to the tobacco and sugarcane plantations of Brazil) and also the biographical facts about the extraordinary warrior queen who fought back. More than the diary, readers will pore over the second half of the book, which includes a readable epilogue, historical notes, a glossary, and a family tree, as well as a set of archival drawings and photos. --Hazel Rochman

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Nzingha, an Angolan princess in the 16th and 17th centuries, was born in a land in which women were predestined to be subservient to men's whims. Nzingha, however, broke that rule and, following her father's footsteps, became a leader after his death. Through fictionalized diary entries, readers learn that Queen Nzingha is knowledgeable, intelligent, and brave. She is opposed to Portuguese slavery and European ways of life, although she secretly learns the outsiders' language and uses it to her advantage. The diary format will appeal to readers and the author's use of time lines, seasons, and actual place names makes the story believable and interesting. While the ending is too abrupt, this is still a good addition to the series. The maps, photos, glossary, illustrations, and genealogical trees enhance the presentation.-Daniel Mungai, Queens Borough Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Patricia C. McKissack was born in Smyrna, Tennessee on August 9, 1944. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high school English teacher and a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing.

Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, a Newbery Honor, nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. In 1998, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

She also writes fiction on her own. Her book included Flossie and the Fox, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, A Friendship for Today, and Let's Clap, Jump, Sing and Shout; Dance, Spin and Turn It Out! She won the Newberry Honor Book Award and the King Author Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural in 1993 and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind. She dead of cardio-respiratory arrest on April 7, 2017 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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