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Social Studies Resources for Third Grade Classrooms: Africa


Hope your school year is off to a great start! Below, you'll find a list of resources which offer background information in a variety of formats about the continent of Africa. NYPL has many wonderful materials on specific communities and countries within Africa — way too many to list here. We hope these highlights are helpful and inspire further exploration. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions below!

Atlas of Africa (part of the Atlases of the World series): Especially noted for its emphasis on the different regions of the continent, this atlas is a worthwhile teaching tool. Clear and vivid illustrations also make this a compelling resource for students.

Seven Natural Wonders of Africa: Intriguing photographs make this a worthwhile reference for students. (Please note: it may be a bit difficult for third graders to read independently.)

Endangered Animals of Africa and Africa’s Most Amazing Plants have vivid photographs and accessable text. Both are solid choices for independent student reading.

For information on animals in Africa, check out this National Geographic Kids book about elephant migration, or Gorilla Doctors by Pamela Turner. For earlier readers, check out Elephants of Africa by Gail Gibbons or Safari, So Good by Bonnie Worth.

The stunning photography and clever poems in Avis Harley's African Acrostics is a beautiful read aloud option. For reports, students can search NYPL's Amazing Animals of the World database for a wild amount of information.


Engage your students' senses with some African music and art.

Africa: This 18 disc set contains music from 38 countries in Africa and is definitely worth a listen! For a less comprehensive resource, check out African Dreamland or African Playground. This student-friendly DVD on Ancient African architecture comes with a handy teachers guide. For students who are focusing on a specific region, try East Africa for Kids or West Africa for Kids.

For resources on African countries like Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia or Egypt, check out these search results. (All results are available to borrow and are for children.)

Picture Books

Wangari’s Trees of Peace is the inspiring story of Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin is a compelling story about soccer, friendship, and some of the hardships of growing up in South Africa.

I Lost My Tooth in Africa: This picture book by Penda Diakite is the story of a girl from Oregon who finds a home away from home with her father’s family in Mali.

Beatrice’s Goat is a true story about the start of Heifer Internation and a girl in Uganda who benefitted from their work.

Elizabeth Alalou's The Butter Man is a father's story of hope and overcoming hardship. Students will learn about the Berger culture in Morocco.

For a poetry classic, check out Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain.

Students may also enjoy the Atinuke's Anna Hibiscus beginning chapter books.


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