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Las Bellas Hijas de Mu...
John Steptoe
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Las Bellas Hijas de Mufaro

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  19,775 ratings  ·  970 reviews
This African tale evokes the Cinderella story in its portrayal of two sisters, spiteful Manyara and considerate Nyasha, and the young king who is searching for a bride. Steptoe has illustrated this modern fable with stunning paintings that glow with beauty, warmth, and internal vision of the land and people of his ancestors.
Paperback, with CD, 32 pages
Published November 30th 1998 by Live Oak Media (first published March 31st 1986)
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Nicole I purchased this book along with other for a great deal at They have an entire online children's bookstore dedicated to black c…moreI purchased this book along with other for a great deal at They have an entire online children's bookstore dedicated to black children. Yet, their message is unite all, starting with self. The site saved me tons of money. Wanted to share :).(less)
Amber This is a fairly popular book. Check your local library or Amazon.
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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This is a Fantastic Fairytale from Africa. There are 2 daughters of a chief that are both very beautiful. One daughter is kind and beautiful on the inside and one daughter would rather be Queen and have people serve her. She is unkind to the other sister. The kind sister tends a beautiful garden and befriends a snake in the garden and sings to it. They are summoned to the great city so the king may choose a wife. The unkind sister sneaks out at night and encounters several people along the way a ...more
May 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes folklore
John Steptoe's absolutely brilliant Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is basically an African take on the globally-known and ever popular Cinderella folklore theme (both narrative and illustrations are outstanding in every way and their lovely and evocative marriage, their delightful combination, turn Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters into truly a shining and glistening gem of a picture book, and not only for children, but actually for anyone interested in and appreciative of global folk and fairy tales). ...more
Lisa Vegan
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
“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
Zequoia Hyche
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: past-treasures
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.

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
Antoinette Scully
I remember having thins book as a child and bought it for my own daughters a few years ago. I've read it many times, and love that something I cherished could be passed on to them, teaching a great lesson in being kind to others, including your own sister.
Lisa  Skripps
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
Elizabeth Westlund
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is loosely based on the traditional Cinderella story, and elements of that can be seen throughout the story. It begins with two sisters, Manyara who is selfish and cruel and Nyasha who is clever and kind. Mufaro never saw the difference in personality in his two daughters, but Manyara continually mistreated her sister and others, much like the evil step-sisters in Cinderella. When the King asked to see the sisters, they were put through a series of character tests al ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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 book was also selected as one of the books for the August 2016- Caldecott Honor discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Child
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traditional
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
Crystal Marcos
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I like retellings of folk tales and this one was good. An African cinderella story with the moral that niceness is rewarded in the end. I liked the way the story included kindness to animals and those in a weaker position than yourself. I didn't like the way that when Nyasha's sister was unkind to her she knew she mustn't bother her father about this. I think it's really important for children to always feel comfortable telling their parents if something has happened to them they don't like. The ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Avid Booker
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was about 10 at my school and it was a beautiful story about beauty not always being on the outside, but the inside, and that being a good person was better than being beautiful.

I've always kept this story in my heart and I think it's a great reendition of Cinderella for little black girls and even other races.

Give it a try.
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
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
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Children's Fairy Tales
Reviewed for THC Reviews
As a new grandmother, I’ve been searching for more diverse children’s books to add to my library, and I ran across Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters at the library sale a while back. I bought it and I’m so glad I did. It’s a lovely Cinderella-esque story of a man named Mufaro who lives in an African village and has two beautiful daughters, Manyara and Nyasha. Manyara is selfish and cruel, while Nyasha is always sweet and kind to humans and animals alike. One day, a messenger a
Adam Glasser
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elm-572
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Name: Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Genre: Fairy Tale/Folk Lore
Version: African culture

Cinderella: Nyasha
Magical element/"fairy godmother": A magical snake
Glass Slipper: -
The ball: A celebration to choose a bride for the king
Message: The importance of kindness towards everyone, regardless of their appearance.


Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steptoe died tragically at age 38 of AIDS. This is his most acclaimed book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything from the lush paintings to the exquisite prose. All children ( and teens and adults) should experience the lessons contained in the text. Teachers take note, this book is a wonderful choice for a lesson on character education. Caldecott award winner.
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I remember enjoying this book as a child. It was such a fantastic tale with good lessons in it, and the artwork is absolutely gorgeous. We need more books like this. Thinking about this book makes me so nostalgic that now I want to buy a copy for myself to read again some 20 years later. Absolutely fantastic book, would recommend, A+++
Rep: African setting and cast.

This was a great children’s book about how being good and selfless is what counts in the end. This might be a cliche lesson but it shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed. The art is beautiful and so is the story.
Inspired by a story in George McCall Theal's 1895 collection, Kaffir Folk Tales (apologies everyone, I did not name the book), John Steptoe's 1987 picture-book, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, was awarded a Caldecott Honor (as well as being chosen as a Reading Rainbow selection), and it is not difficult to see why! The gorgeous illustrations capture the beauty of Mufaro's village, and the surrounding countryside, the majesty of the King's great city, and the very different dispositions of Mufa ...more
Phil Jensen
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous illustrations and a quality folk tale.
Although I had forgotten the story, I remembered the title and the cover art from when I was little and was happy to rediscover it!
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The illustrations are beautiful. The heroine is modeled on author/illustrator John Steptoe's daughter Bweela Steptoe.
Taneika Miliam
I enjoyed reading this book. It’s based on an African culture. After reading this book, I decided to choose a text –to text concept because It reminded me of the book Cinderella. I would incorporate this story in my classroom by using a vienn diagraph to compare and contrast two different versions of this story. I would also ask open ended question to have the children think to get appropriate responses.
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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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