On the wings of proverbs and the illustrations that accompany them, 

noted anthropologist and educator Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D., 

and award-winning author/illustrator Nelda LaTeef


invite children and adults to explore a whole new way of seeing the world.

 A Junior Library Guild (JLG) gold standard selection  
@jrlibrary guild

"This ingeniously designed volume is as engaging as a game, one that becomes more rewarding with each round of play... This is a book that sparks conversation." - The New York Times

"This interactive, multilayered, gorgeously illustrated book of wisdom is for all ages, and it demands repeated reading." - Booklist

"This lushly illustrated collection of African proverbs proposes a game of sorts... Strikingly detailed."                                                                - Horn Book



An Oprah Book 

about the power of proverbs from diverse 

cultures of Africa

Collected by

 Johnnetta Betsch Cole 

and Nelda LaTeef  

Illustrated by 

Nelda LaTeef


       After the prologue defines proverbs (“It has been said that a proverb is a short sentence based
on long experience”), readers are invited to dwell in figurative language that captures wisdom
spanning time and place. Each two-page spread is framed by four proverbs, allowing readers to
pick the one they feel best represents the illustration. Making such a decision will not be easy, as
nuances in the language and images support all four options. Proverbs from across Africa
caution, advise, and guide: “To one who does not know, a small garden is a forest.” “A single
bracelet does not jingle.” Given the interactive format of the book, one cannot rush past the
illustrations—vibrant collages filled with texture and details—which depict scenes from human
life, as well as the lives of flora and fauna. Back matter includes a map and the countries from
which the proverbs hail. As the title states, this interactive, multilayered, gorgeously illustrated
book of wisdom is for all ages, and it demands repeated reading. 
                                                                                                                                     — Amina Chaudhri, Ph.D.                                                                                                                                                (Booklist)         

Click picture to listen to the podcast.