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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  11,584 ratings  ·  501 reviews
With beautiful illustrations, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters Big Book, a Caldecott Honor picture book, is perfect for introducing children to the Cinderella fairytale as well as the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe. This oversize edition (14 3/4 by 17 5/8 inches) makes it easy to share the book in a library or classroom.

Mufaro has two beautif
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 31st 1987 by Amistad (first published March 31st 1986)
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Oct 20, 2012 Gundula rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes folklore
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tales by John Steptoe is a wonderful African take on the globally-known and ever popular Cinderella story (both the narrative and the illustrations are outstanding and make this a real gem of a picture book, not only for children, but for anyone interested in and appreciative of global folk and fairy tales). While the tale itself (like many Cinderella-type stories) is rather predictable, it is engagingly narrated and the evocative illustrations are simply ...more
“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is a Caldecott Honor Book by John Steptoe and it is about how Mufaro’s two beautiful daughters are invited to the king’s palace so that the king will choose a worthy bride, but Manyara, the greedy sister, tries to go off to the king’s palace by herself and meets some disastrous results. “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is a magnificent tale that children will definitely read for many years!

John Steptoe has done a magnificent job at both illustrating and writing this
Lisa Vegan
Mar 16, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
The illustrations are magnificent, with lovely depictions of the people and animals.

This tale is fairy tale like predictable but very entertaining.

I appreciated how the author-illustrator gave credit to the folktale that was his inspiration and how at the beginning he translates the meanings of a few names. (But, why name each of your daughters that way?! Self-fulfilling prophesy???)

The Children's Books group has chosen this book for one of its picture books for April, for the Picture Books Cl
NS-Lisa Skrzypczynski
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, John Steptoe, is an African Cinderella story. Mufaro was a happy man and a very proud father. Mufaro had two very beautiful daughters who lived with him. Nyasha was kind, considerate, and very beautiful. Manyara, Mufuaro’s other daughter was very cruel, mean, and rude. Everyone knew this about Manyara; everyone except for Mufaro. Manyara spent all of her time teasing her sister. On day, the king decided he wanted to get married and invited "The Most Worthy and Beaut ...more
A tale of kindness and selfishness, and their corresponding consequences.

I've loved this book ever since I saw it on "Reading Rainbow" as a child. For whatever reason the book was burned into my memory and I was always delighted whenever it was featured on the show. The story, the illustrations... everything made a huge impression on me.
SO, as an adult I was anxious-excited and anxious-apprehensive to find out if the book would still be as wonderful as I remembered.

I still love it! Yes, upon rea
Zequoia Hyche
I have not read this book in such a long time. I was probably 10 years old or younger when I first read this book. Reading Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters again brought back the memory of how inspiring and moving it was. I remembered the plot, but what was new to me this time was the illustrations, language and how the story used multiple subjects to disguise the prince. This story touches lightly on the African culture through these things. I liked the story when I was younger, but even more so no ...more
Monica Edinger
I should say this is a gorgeous, gorgeous book and Steptoe deserved all the awards and acclaim for it as a work of art. What it is NOT is a book to introduce children to either Cinderella or Zimbabwe. He was inspired by a visit to Zimbabwe to do the story and beautiful it is, but it is absolutely not the way to introduce children to the continent of Africa or Zimbabwe, for that matter. And since the story is one made-up by Steptoe I question using it as an intro into Cinderella stories.

Mar 24, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fabulous tale, full of magic, wonder, kindness, grace and even greed and jealousy. The illustrations are marvelous and really enhance the story. Our girls enjoyed this story a lot and I had fun reading it to them.

This book was selected as one of the April 2011 Royalty themed reads for the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Book group here at Goodreads.
This Caldecott Honor picture Book of an African folk tale is illustrated and shared with us by John Steptoe. It is the story of a man, Mufaro, in an African village whose king is seeking a bride and how the man's two daughters, Nyasha and Manyara, persue that dream. It's premise is of pride going before a fall, but for me it was more than anything a story of kindness rewarded for its own sake.
This is one of the most beautifully illustrated books I have read, with lush, deep shades of colors i
Crystal Marcos
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tales was an African tale reminiscent of Cinderella. The illustrations were lovely. I can see how it was a Caldecott Honor Book.

All the woman of the land are invited to the king's palace so he can choose his worthy bride. Both Mufaro's daughters are beautiful, but only one is beautiful both inside and out. Nyasha was so compassionate that she didn't even tell her father the way Manyara treated her because she was too considerate of her father's feelings t
Ariel Tyler
This book is a retelling of the fairytale, Cinderella but reframed to take place in an African country. The book follows the traditional fairytale pacing in which the story begins with a sort of "once upon a time" feeling, quickly introduces the problem, follows a rhythm of threes, and tidily provides a resolution. In the story, a king is looking for a new wife. Mufaro has two beautiful daughters, Manyara and Nyasha, who he feels could be the next queen. Unlike most Cinderella stories, the "evil ...more
Apr 28, 2011 Pamela rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers with children
Shelves: children-reads
"Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale" by John Steptoe was really great...this story is about Mufaro who has two beautiful daughters that he adores and wants them both to be presented to the king while he's looking for a queen. One of his daughters, Nyasha, is not only beautiful, but she is very kind and considerate of other's feelings while his other daughter, Manyara, is beautiful as well but her mean and selfish streak causes her to be very undesirable.
Reading this tale to my daughte
Tahmina Alam
Sep 15, 2012 Tahmina Alam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Primary School children
Recommended to Tahmina by: Year 5 student
Book review: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale.

This African tale tells a story of two opposite sisters from a small family, living in one of the many rural areas in Africa. Whilst Mufaro’s daughters were both beautiful in appearance, their inner beauty could not be more different. Locals complemented Nyasha’s kind, graceful and responsible qualities. On the contrary, Manyara was a very temperamental, rude and malicious person, especially to her sister whom she was very jealous of. Ny
Mufaro's Beeautiful Daughters is a very-nicely illsutrated picture book that teaches a very importmant moral. From the beginning of the story, the one sister, Manyara, is very rude and selfish, and ignores others. On the other hand, her sister, Nyasha, is a sweet, compassionate, and caring girl. When their Father, Mufaro, tells the girl they will soon depart on a journey to see which girl the King would choose to marry, Manyara becomes cocky and gives attitude towards Nyasha when she see says, " ...more
This is a great book that relates to the literacy topic Stories from other cultures and stories that raise an issue / dilemma. It is set in an African village. The King is looking for a Queen and Mufaro believes that the King should meet his two beautiful daughters. The two sisters are polar opposites to each other. Nyasha is kind and caring whereas Manyara is bad-tempered and rude. In order to figure out which sister will be best suited as Queen, the King transforms himself into a garden snake, ...more
Rachael LaRochelle
Mufaros Daughters by John Steptoe

This book is an African folklore story about two sisters Mufaro is the younger kinder sister. Her older sister tells her one day that when she is queen she is going to love having her little sister live with her servant. Mufaro does not understand why her sister is so unhappy and mean to her. Nyasha tells her it is because she is favored, or Nyasha thought so anyway, by their father. Mufaro keeps a garden where one day a garden snake comes to visit that sh
This is such a fantastic "Cinderella Story" that teaches the importance of kindness towards everyone, regardless of their appearance, not just because of the potential rewards (snakes are probably not all kings), but because you are no better than them. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed, it is obvious why it received a Caldecott honor; I loved that Steptol reflects African culture in a beautiful way, rather than depicting it as dirty or "third world" as we are so accustomed to seeing. T ...more
Emma Walker
I read this book before introducing the topic of 'stories from another culture' to a class of year 5 children. This story, based in Zimbabwe, follows two sisters Manyara and Nyasha who both want to be chosen as the King's wife.

The two sisters are very different characters, with Nyasha being presented as loving, caring and kind, whereas her sister Manyara is rather mean, jealous and inconsiderate. The story, like many of its kind, considered the morals that an individual should have, and ultimat
Ciara Alamillo
This book takes place a long time ago in a certain village in Africa. Mufaro is a father of two daughters named, Manyara and Nyasha which in their village are considered very beautiful. Manyara is very mean to her sister Nyasha because they entire village views Nyasha as the most kind hearted person in the village and Manyara does not like this one bit. One day, the king of the land calls out to all the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land to appear in front of him and for one
This was one of my favorite books as a young child, distinctly because it was my first cultural book with African characters. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters tells the story of two sisters Nyasha and Manyara. Both sisters are very beautiful, but very different in character. Nyasha is very kind hearted and Manyara is very mean tempered and envious of her sister. When a messenger delivers news that the King is looking for a wife, Manyara is determined to be Queen and devises a plan to be the first on ...more
This story teaches a lesson in kindness. Mufaro (meaning “happy man” in Shona) is a king who has two beautiful daughters one named Manyara, meaning “ashamed”, who is a mean spirited princess while the other named Nyasha meaning “mercy”, is kind towards everyone even her mean sister. I was glad to read a folk/ fairytale of a different culture this one being formed from the African culture. The images in the book reflected the events in text but they showed what the text didn’t and couldn’t descri ...more
Shelley larson
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is an African fairy tale. Mufaro has two daughters: Nyasha and Manyara. Nyasha is nice and beautiful, but Manyara is selfish and mean. Nyasha takes care of a garden and is friends with a snake she names Nyoka. The king decides to have a party to find his wife. Manyara sneaks out of the village in the middle of the night to make sure she reaches the kind first, and on the way she ignores a hungry little boy and an old woman. Nyasha, on the other hand, gives the boy fo ...more
Inspired by an African folktale, this story relays the virtue of kindness to its readers. Two sisters who have little in common outside of their shared beauty live with their father in a small village. One sister is bad tempered while the other is kind, a fact they both hide from their adoring father. An invitation from the king to bring forth "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land" brings these differences to light. The story takes place against a beautiful Zimbabwean backdrop ali ...more
Rashanda Ravenel
The illustrations look like a beautiful painting, with everything true to scale and detailed. This would be a great book for introducing the terms protagonist and antagonist to a class. I would also use the book to discuss the power of showing kindness to each other.
Salma Khatun
This is a tale about the two daughters of Mufaro. Both daughters are beautiful and whilst Nyasha is kind and considerate, Manyara is selfish, vain and bad tempered. When the young King decided to take a wife Manyara set out as she was certain she would be chosen. However the young King was won over by Nyasha who was beautiful inside and outside, unlike her sister. This is a great book to use in key stage two, in particularly philosophy lessons where discussions can be based on personality traits ...more
Kristen Herzog
Read the book but also watched the Reading Rainbow movie edition. Was surprised by how different the video was from the book. There were many sentences left out of the movie. :(
Dec 06, 2014 Leah added it
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is an African tale about two very different daughters, who are both beautiful. Manyara, the mean one, and Nyasha, the kind one, are both preparing to meet the prince for possible marriage. Manyara decides to sneak ahead of her sister to meet the prince first. On her journey, she sees a younger boy and an old man, who both are in need of assistance, but she blatantly ignores them. Nyasha takes the same journey, but helps out the two people. Who will be prince choose t ...more
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale is a Cinderella story with a twist. The story follows Manyara and Nyasha who are daughters of Mufaro who lived in a small village in Africa. Once it is heard that The Great King is choosing a wife, Mufaro wants his daughters to go to the king, and for one to be chosen. The books words and pictures give a strong cultural vibe to the reader. Both daughters go on a journey to the king, the journey is a test of morals and character as both sister's encou ...more
"Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale" by John Steptoe is a fairy tale that resembles the "Cinderella" fairy tale that many people may be familiar with. This story focuses on two sisters, Manyara and Nyasha and their relationship. Manyara was jealous, greedy, and always picked on Nyasha when they were alone together. She always dreamed of being Queen and expected Nyasha to be her servant. Nyasha on the other hand, was pleasant and kind to everyone. She never complained about her sister' ...more
Swear Ahmed
I have always loved the book Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. This book falls into the folklore genre and received the Caldecott Honor (1988), and a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrator (1988). The book is best suited for children ages 6-8 but I think older children would enjoy it as well.
I love the story line and the characters in this book. The differences between Nyasha and Manyara make us love Nyasha and her gentle soul. Her sister is not so pleasant at all. In fact she
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John Steptoe was an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books from New York City. He began working on his first children's book, Stevie, while still a teenager and achieved great success during his tragically short career, encouraging the advancement of African American culture by producing work about the African American experience that children could appreciate. Recipient of two C ...more
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