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Top 13 Books about Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela smiling

Books about Nelson Mandela: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, statesman, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. We hope that you enjoy our list of the best Books about Nelson Mandela.

Books about Nelson Mandela

Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage by Richard Stengel

We long for heroes and have too few. Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of ninety-five, is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint. He liber­ated a country from a system of violent prejudice and helped unite oppressor and oppressed in a way that had never been done before.

Now Richard Stengel, the editor of Time maga­zine, has distilled countless hours of intimate conver­sation with Mandela into fifteen essential life lessons. For nearly three years, including the critical period when Mandela moved South Africa toward the first democratic elections in its history, Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and traveled with him everywhere. Eating with him, watching him campaign, hearing him think out loud, Stengel came to know all the different sides of this complex man and became a cherished friend and colleague.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela’s destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader. ‘Burns with the luminosity of faith in the invincible nature of human hope and dignity …Unforgettable’ Andre Brink ‘Enthralling …Mandela emulates the few great political leaders such as Lincoln and Gandhi, who go beyond mere consensus and move out ahead of their followers to break new ground’ Donald Woods in the SUNDAY TIMES

Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela, John Kan

Nelson Mandela is widely considered to be one of the most inspiring and iconic figures of our age. Now, after a lifetime of taking pen to paper to record thoughts and events, hardships and victories, he has bestowed his entire extant personal papers, which offer an unprecedented insight into his remarkable life.

A singular international publishing event, Conversations with Myself draws on Mandela’s personal archive of never-before-seen materials to offer unique access to the private world of an incomparable world leader. Journals kept on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s; diaries and draft letters written in Robben Island and other South African prisons during his twenty-seven years of incarceration; notebooks from the postapartheid transition; private recorded conversations; speeches and correspondence written during his presidency―a historic collection of documents archived at the Nelson Mandela Foundation is brought together into a sweeping narrative of great immediacy and stunning power.

Who Was Nelson Mandela? by Pam Pollack

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.

Nelson Mandela: From Prisoner to President (Step into Reading) by Suzy Capozzi and Nicole Tadgell

This Step 4 leveled reader about Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Prize–winning activist for racial equality in South Africa, is as spellbinding a biography as you can find. His journey from student to revolutionary to inmate to president of South Africa will inspire and engage kids of all ages.
 
As conversations about race, prejudice, and injustice pervade classrooms and homes, teachers and parents need books that can bring those discussions within the grasp of kids. Nelson Mandela’s story, told honestly and accessibly, is just such a book. The subjects of apartheid and racism are handled with aplomb, and readers will find much to discuss with their classmates, friends, and families.
 
Step 4 Readers use challenging vocabulary and short paragraphs to tell exciting stories. For newly independent readers who read simple sentences with confidence.

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Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales by Nelson 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.

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

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. Perfect for sharing at home or in the classroom.

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela , Sahm Venter

Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, the future leader of South Africa wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and, most memorably, to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide exceptional insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight.

Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. In 1964, Mandela was taken to Robben Island Prison, where a stark existence was lightened only by visits and letters from family. After eighteen years, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, a large complex outside of Cape Town with beds and better food, but where he and four of his comrades were confined to a rooftop cell, apart from the rest of the prison population. Finally, Mandela was taken to Victor Verster Prison in 1988, where he was held until his release on February 11, 1990.

Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Long Walk to Freedom by Paddy Bouma and Chris van Wyk

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.

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Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years by Nelson Mandela, Mandla Langa

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to leave office, but was unable to finish. Now the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task, using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding, and a wealth of unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and often inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision for a liberated South Africa a reality.

NELSON MANDELA: LEGACY: A Nelson Mandela Biography by Michael Woodford

Nelson Mandela is arguably the most important South African ever to have lived, and a true giant of the 20th century. His journey from humble beginnings to the highest office is an inspiration to millions worldwide. His well-publicised oppression at the hands of the authorities was the making of his legendary status. But perhaps his biggest achievement came in reshaping South Africa as a truly rainbow nation, overcoming, at least in part, the artificial barriers of the past.
This Nelson Mandela biography looks at his life, his struggles and his rise to power, marking the life of a true icon of our time.

Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather, Nelson Mandela by Ndaba Mandela, Michael Boatman

To the rest of the world, Nelson Mandela was a giant: an anti-apartheid revolutionary, a world-renowned humanitarian, and South Africa’s first black president. To Ndaba Mandela, he was simply “Granddad.” In Going to the Mountain, Ndaba tells how he came to live with Mandela shortly after he turned eleven–having met each other only once, years before, when Mandela was imprisoned at Victor Verster Prison — and how the two of them slowly, cautiously built a relationship that would affect both their lives in extraordinary ways.

It wasn’t an easy transition. Mandela had high expectations for those around him, especially his family, and Ndaba chafed at the strict rules and exacting guidelines in his grandfather’s home. But at the same time — through overheard calls from foreign dignitaries as well as the Xhosa folk wisdom that his grandfather shared with him at every opportunity — Ndaba was learning how to be a man. On a scale both personal and epic, Ndaba’s extraordinary journey mirrors that of South Africa’s coming of age — from the segregated Soweto ghettos into which he was born to the privileged life in which he grew up and the turbulent yet exciting times in which he carries on his grandfather’s legacy.

Tree Shaker: The Story of Nelson Mandela by Bill Keller

This fascinating biography looks at the life of Nelson Mandela, placing his awe-inspiring accomplishments in historical context for a new generation to admire. On a February day in 1994, Mandela visited Robben Island, a desolate rock where he had been held during his twenty-seven years as a prisoner. Days later, he triumphed in an election that rescued South Africa from the climate of oppression that had held sway for so long. By New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller, Tree Shaker looks at the events that led Mandela from his tribal homeland to the center of the struggle for racial equality in South Africa. From early acts of protest to the leadership of an apartheid-free nation, this is an honest portrayal of the astonishing life of a modern political and social icon.

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