Children’s Book Review: Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River

7:51 PM Posted by Centsible Mommy

When the opportunity arose for my children and I to review an award winning book by Nigerian Author, Kunle Oguneye, I jumped at the chance. Although I have never been to Africa, its culture has always appealed to me, and this wonderful storybook "Sikulu and the Zambezi River" about a spider named Sikulu and a hippo named Harambe who are traveling through Zambia was a great introduction to African culture.

In this story, unfolds a traditional African folklore, like that of the Bible story, The Good Samaritan. The cute creatures Sikulu the spider and Harambe the hippo help illustrate the beauty of kindness and compassion towards others as well as the unexpected rewards that come with helping those in need when the pair of pals assist a woman in need of help.

“In the African culture, many life lessons and moral values are passed down in the form of folktales. Living in modern America, our children are often devoid of that experience. Through this story, it is my vision that children learn and enjoy the gift of storytelling, all the while learning to move outside their 'comfort zone' and aspire to be good 'neighbors' in the greater sense," declares Author Kunle Oguneye.

Besides introducing the concepts of kindness and compassion to children, this book also introduces them to Zambian culture, geography, the animals who inhabit Zambia, as well as the magnificence of diversity. Not to mention, my boys loved the storybook.

The illustrations, by Bruce McCorkindale, are also very colorful and beautifully coincide with the story, so even children who can not yet read on their own can follow along the story by the illustrations alone.

At the end of the book there is a glossary of words as well as information about Zambia and its culture for even more learning fun.

Overall, I think this is a terrific children’s book geared for children pre-k to grade 3 and serves as tool not only to teach the morals of kindness and compassion to children, but also introduce children to diversity found amongst different cultures and is a great introduction to African culture. Also, this appears to be the first in the series of adventures of Sikulu and Harambe still to come.

For more information about this book, or to purchase a copy, as well as for some interactive fun with Sikulu and Harambe, visit

***This book was also the award-winning finalist in the Children's Picture Book Hardcover Fiction category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards.

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