Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nelson Mandela” as Want to Read:
Nelson Mandela
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nelson Mandela

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  2,248 Ratings  ·  382 Reviews
In this picture book biography, award-winning author and illustrator Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, 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 by believing in equality for all people, no mat ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 2nd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published August 28th 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nelson Mandela, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nelson Mandela

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I just happened to have this out from the library on the day Nelson Mandela died. It was the perfect way to explain his life to my kids.
Patricia Tilton
Mar 08, 2013 Patricia Tilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rolihlahla played barefooted on the grassy hills of Qunu. He fought boys with sticks and shot birds with slingshots. The smartest Madiba child of thirteen, he was the only one chosen for school. His new teacher would not say his Xhosa name. She called him Nelson instead.”

Synopsis: Nelson was nine years old when his father passed. His mother sent him to live with a powerful tribal chief, where he could continue his studies. He learned stories from the elders about old Africa, where people lived
Jan 29, 2014 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a moving tribute to one of the most respected leaders of the twentieth century. The narrative is short and does not overwhelm the reader with details, but gives a concise account of Nelson Mandela's life, highlighting the most major and life-changing events. The author's note at the end offers a bit more detail, but this book is useful more for providing an inspiring message than as a reference book.

The illustrations are simply amazing and really capture the facial expressions and emoti
This is an amazing book! The illustrations are illustrious and tells the story of Mandela as a child and how he grew up to show character and courage in the midst of the chaotic norms that had been accepted in South Africa-apartheid. Nelson grows up to find his mate Winnie Mandela and takes a stand for his people, he goes to jail, but over time his fight is won because of his courage, bravery and values that he never gave up on. It's an extraordinary story that children will be engaged and curio ...more
A beautiful picture book biography of an important man. Kadir Nelson's paintings take readers into a foreign land and give them a unique view of the key events in Mandela's life.

The writing is strong and uses carefully chosen words to explain difficult concepts such as apartheid. The result is a moving book that can be shared with young children.

Following the story is a more detailed bio on Mandela and a bibliography. The only thing missing in this book for me was a glossary. There were a numbe
May 10, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspirational and impressive. I've come to expect nothing less of Kadir Nelson and this picture book biography of one of the most important leaders of our time does not disappoint. Highly recommended.
Feb 18, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-lit
We unintentionally paired this with Herd Boy. Reading the latter, it was cool to watch Malcolm recognize Mandela (traveling incognito in Herd Boy) as the main character from a book we had read two nights before. Putting it all together, that one.
As I've come to expect from Kadir Nelson, the illustrations are filled with a vibrancy and life that give the text a whole higher plane of functioning. Incredibly beautiful, powerful book.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Kadir Nelson doing what he does best. Highly, highly recommend this picture book biography on Nelson Mandela. Just beautiful.
Sue Conolly
Nov 15, 2015 Sue Conolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book today as a way of feeling positive about the world.

Both words and illustrations by Kadir Nelson were woven expertly throughout the book to create this story. Words are made easy to read in some places (white on dark background, dark on light background), and the author makes you work to read words in other places (the sign on the beach has letters that are large and prominent but the reader has to dig into the valley of the book to see the whole message, the dark words on the da
Relying on powerful words and visually stunning illustrations, Kadir Nelson traces events in the life of Nelson Mandela, called Rolihlahla as a child. He includes moments that will appeal to children; for instance, how his name was changed when he went to school, the loss of his father, and being sent far from home to study. Readers will be swept away by the young man's determination to make a change in South Africa, influenced by the words of his ancestors and the elders and his own innate sens ...more
Nicole Marzan
Nov 25, 2014 Nicole Marzan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson is a biography told in a narrative format. The story begins with Nelson as a young old boy playing "on the grassy hills of Qunu." The narrator says that Nelson was the smartest of all the Madiba children and was the only one chosen to go to school. When Nelson's father dies, he is sent to live with a "powerful chief" so he can continue his education. Nelson learns about what old Africa was like before their land was taken over by Europe. Nelson then studied to be a ...more
Stefanie Green
1.) An opening for the book (Fountas & Pinnell, 2006, p. 226)
2.) Identify the 2-3 opening moves that are incorporated in the opening

1. Nelson Mandela was born with the name Rolihlahla, which has an interesting meaning. The name Rolihlahla translates to "troublemaker." From his photo on the cover of this book, would you guess that this man is ornery and stirs up trouble? If not, how do you think disproved the meaning of his name and became one of the people in our study of influential figur
Dec 08, 2015 Annikka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Summarize the book:

This is a picture book that tells the life of Nelson Mandela. The book follows Nelson Mandela from the time he was 9 and sent away to attend school, the start of his fight against apartheid, to his time in prison, and finally to him becoming the first black president of South Africa.

Identify the characteristics from the text that support the specific genre:

The story of Nelson Mandela is a biography because it is the story of his life written by another person. The book is bea
Jan 28, 2013 Ann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It made me smile to see this book on my library's holding shelves with my name on it. I love Kadir Nelson's art and there was Nelson Mandela's big, beautiful face. However, the book was a disappointment. It's too simplistic and tells a tale that is more folklore than truth. Reading this book, you wouldn't know that the ANC was armed when Nelson Mandela was arrested. (I found this out when I worked with Amnesty International in college. I was distressed to learn that the world's most famous polit ...more
Nov 26, 2013 Alexandria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another beautifully illustrated book by Kadir Nelson, this is the biography of Nelson Mandela; a man who was determined to change South Africa by seeking equality for people of all color. Prior to reading this book I didn’t know much about him, so I was really looking forward to reading it and I’m so glad I did! The reader is taken through Nelson Mandela’s life from beginning to end, and boy was that a remarkable life. The illustrations along with the text are packed with so much power and emoti ...more
RLL22016 Phoebe
Sep 24, 2016 RLL22016 Phoebe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international
Nelson Mandela was a very good read. Even in this short picture book I could feel the experience of this young boy and the challenges of his life as he grew into a young man. Illustrator Kadir Nelson did an excellent job of bring the pictures to life. I felt like they jump off the page at you. He also, did a great job of translating the meanings of different Swahili words. I would recommend this International book to upper grades, not only to be read but to be used as a foundation for researchin ...more
I absolutely love the illustrations! Kadir Nelson does an incredible job illustrating books and evoking emotion. While I enjoyed the text, I was left wanting more. Particularly because my children have heard of him but know very little about him, I wanted more details about his life and what he accomplished. There is an author's note at the back that provided some more details, but I wanted a timeline and even more details.
Becki Iverson
Dec 11, 2016 Becki Iverson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have one word for this book: GORGEOUS. It seriously has the most beautiful illustrations I've ever seen in a children's book. The amazing, amazing paintings tell the story almost without words. Kids and grownups will be blown away by how beautiful this is. The story itself also stays true to Madiba's past; although a little oversimplified for my taste, it is a kid's book so they get away with it. This is a quick, beautiful read that is a wonderful story for any child.
Whitney Ward
Nelson Mandela is the inspiring story of how one man’s struggles and fight for equality in South Africa, brought a country together. Readers are captivated through beautiful illustrations and words about a young boy’s determination to change his country and his journey to eventually becoming a South African president who believes in equality for people of all colors.
Danish Gondal
Feb 09, 2015 Danish Gondal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
when you climb up a great hill you realize that there are many more hills to climb , life is a journey not a destination and in this journey we encounter great hurdles which needs to be overcome before we get to the goal ,never to give up,tenacity,determination and faith one can achieve great success in life .Wonderful biography
Aug 11, 2016 Pauline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daughter chose this book as one of her summer reading book report. I found it to be very well written that little kids can easly find out the facts and remember them. We have learned so much about Mandela through this book
Kadir Nelson's illustrations are always 5 stars, but the biography was only 3 because it just was too bare-boned for me. I wanted more.
A visually stunning testament to Nelson Mandela's life and work. Selected for the NY Times' Best Illustrated Books list.
Mar 12, 2013 June rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Africa and black history requests
Recommended to June by: Cap Choices
A beautifully illustrated picture book biography introducing Mandela and apartheid.
I Can't even. Kadir Nelson is a god.
Kwtay Calvin
Mar 21, 2017 Kwtay Calvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
“Nelson stood proudly with the wind at his back and spoke to a colorful sea of people.” The language is as vivid as the images. Author and illustrator Kadir Nelson wrote about the life of Nelson Mandela in a free verse in this touching picture book. Nelson detailed Mandela’s life from when he was a child through his journey of being chosen to lead South Africa. When Mandela was a child, his teacher began to call him Nelson. He wrote about how the European settlers came and took their South Afric ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Beautiful illustrations in a biography of Nelson Mandela.

The details at the end of the book give a much better sense of the timing of events than the actual book did, but the basics are covered in the main text.
Jennifer Mangler
Kadir Nelson's paintings are stunning and tell Mandela's story beautifully.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Coretta Scott Kin...: Nelson Mandela 1 2 Jul 23, 2015 08:37PM  
  • Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell (Christy Ottaviano Books)
  • Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
  • Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
  • Trombone Shorty
  • Becoming Babe Ruth
  • Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song
  • Barbed Wire Baseball
  • Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo
  • The Beatles Were Fab  (and They Were Funny)
  • Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
  • Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller
  • Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery
  • Noah Webster and His Words
  • Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children
  • Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
  • Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution
  • Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »