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Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595
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Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595

(The Royal Diaries)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,309 ratings  ·  147 reviews
In 1595, Nzingha is the strong, intelligent daughter of the Ngola (leader) of the Mbundu people of Ndongo (in modern-day Angola), loyal to her people and willing to fight for them. Unfortunately, because she is a girl, her brother is the favored child, in training to become the next Ngola, even though he is whiny, stupid, and slow (according to Nzingha). But Ajala, a respe ...more
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Scholastic
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Asteropê I do not have access to the book to see the text, but I'm going to take a guess and say because he drew the maps? …moreI do not have access to the book to see the text, but I'm going to take a guess and say because he drew the maps? (less)

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Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book so much, I read it very fast like for couple of hours only or so, but I am sure I will keep it in my bookshelf, in case I'll have children I want them to know about the life of this remarkable woman.

I am not Angolan but curently I live in Luanda, and the busiest street here is named Gingha (or, Nzingha). I took me sometime to understand that Nzingha was an Angolan queen, who fought for her kingdom against colonialist (portuguese) and slavery. I was amazed to hear that story f
Andrea Cox
This book is a great glimpse at African culture during the late 1500s. The idea of a warrior princess/queen is fascinating, and I think the author handled the telling of Nzingha’s story quite well. I especially appreciated the in-depth historical note that followed the fictionalized story. It got me even more interested in learning more about this Matamban warrior queen.

Rating: 4 stars
Reasons: African culture/rituals that include spiritual readings and sacrifices to ancestors (sacrificing spoken
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was really excited to read this book since it's not common to find YA historical books set in Africa.

The book started off well enough, but it was far too short for the story it wanted to tell. Like, ridiculously short. Stories can be told in few pages, and well, but this didn't work at all. I enjoyed reading more about the actual history about Nzingha than the made up history in the diary.

(view spoiler)
This book introduces the reader to Queen Nzingha, but ends after her early life. I was expecting the diary entries to cover more of her later life which was the period when this queen accomplished most in her conflict with the Portuguese. Still, it is a useful introduction.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting to read about such a fascinating woman. Nzingha is a strong, intelligent leader. This particular story also offers insight into the history of the invading Portuguese and the slave trade they ran from Africa to Brazil. Chilling to read about that.

The brief history of Nzingha portrayed here is interesting—she was an amazing leader who lived into her 80’s leading her armies to battle with her life-long loyal sisters and denouncing the slave trade—but I wanted more about her later life.
Sep 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
Nzingha, Warrior Queen of Matamba, by Patrick Mckissasck, is just one of the many book series, in The Royal Diaries. Nzingha is a princess, who lives in Angola; Africa in 1595, her only wish is to hunt with her father, before she marries. She is only thirteen, but is very mature for her age. This book was written based on a true person, some of the characters names are false, but their existence is true. The book is mostly her life and written as a journal of what is going on in her life. It is ...more
Jocelyne Jam
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Maria
Cover Story: Anogla's Next Top Model
BFF Charm: Eventually
Swoonworthy Scale: 1
Talky Talk: Brevity is the Soul of Wit
Bonus Factor: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Colonial African History
Anti-Bonus Factor: Smallville Syndrome
Relationship Status: Comrades-in-Arms

Read the full book report here.
May 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some good info in here about Nzingha and her life in the 1590s in Africa. It was interesting to read about her culture and how African "royalty" is formed under the chief, the Ngola. However, it didn't bother me so much that I didn't like this book overall, because it's so extremely short. It also reveals a twist that is then taken back almost immediately. This one's good for the cultural and historical info, but lacking for a compelling story in the fiction department. ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 8th-grade
Another pre-read for J's 8th grade year. This one is a quick, light read focusing on the early teenage years of Nzingha. It does a decent job of introducing the young woman and evoking the world she lived in. I did find myself wanting more of the story - she only becomes queen in the epilogue. ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
So, like, not to make everything about race or whatever but....why the black princesses’ book gotta be so short????

I was so psyched to read this book and learn about Nzingha but the story part of the book is only like 90 pages! I get it that we don’t have a ton of information and resources to pull from to build an accurate account of history, but, HELLO, it’s historical FICTION. Why didn’t they play up the romance? Or describe her toiling away under Mbandi’s rule?? There was a ton of potential
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who want to see more African historical fiction
This book was very cool and feminist. I usually try to give a better description, but this is the truth. My main qualm is how short it is, as it is the shortest in the entire series. I don't know much about African culture, and while I did enjoy what I saw here, I still found that it could have been longer.

Nzinga managed to save her entire nation from the slave-abducting Portuguese. We need to have more of a focus on her role in history, and just stop ignoring her right now.

The Royal Diaries wa
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I borrowed this from the library becuase of fond memories of reading other books from this series a number of yours ago as a tween. This book lvied up to those memories and was a fun ascape back into those years, and I recommend it to anyone just arriving at them. The only thing I'd say, is that the book and it's epilogue made a focus of Nzingha being against slavery, when in fact, she was merely against slavery as practised by europeans, not that of her own people. And as commendable as her lif ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Nzingha is an incredibly intriguing leader. She is best known for the account where she was insulted by the Protugese by not being provided a chair. She didn't let that stop her. She just had a servant bend over as a chair so she could look the governor in the eye and get the respect she deserved. Her story is just COOL! She was pretty bad ass! She was a great leader and warrior, the people loved her and she was able to resist the Portugese slave drive. The one big disappointment was how short t ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wish I'd been given the opportunity to learn about Angola's Queen Nzingha when I was a young girl doing my world history studies in school. Of course, American education never includes such teachings; but this book is one of many that parents can use to teach their young children at home. It's an easy, informative read about a courageous female warrior who resisted the slave trade and made her mark in this world. ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I adore this series and this book was one of the better ones in the series. A very interesting look into life in pre-colonial Africa. I enjoyed the description of customs and traditions and really felt a sense of time and place. I would highly recommend this book.
This was my least favorite Royal Diaries book so far. The story ended so abruptly; it seemed like the author just got tired of writing the book so she stopped.
Montana Crossman
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good series for middle-school aged students. historical Fiction which is not entirely accurate, but could be a gateway to a fascination with a person or time period.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was very short and went very quick compared to other royal diaries books. I’m assuming because there isn’t too much information on Nzingha. For an adult, it’s a good overview of what it was like to be living during the time of the slave trade in Africa. And introduces us to a very important leader during that time that I had previously known nothing about. For kids it’s probably even better. Let them know who this important woman is without too many details that might bore them and cau ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This is probably my least favorite of the "royal diaries series" simply because the life of Nizingha is much more interesting than they make it out to be in this book. Nizingha is the daughter of the leader of the Mbundu people of Ndongo in modern day Angola. She's a fierce warrior, but because she's female and the daughter of the second wife of the King, her brother is more highly favored than her. My problem with this "diary" is the fact that it only contains one major exciting event, while th ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: afri-centric
Reading it for my kid's book club. The end is somewhat abrupt, but understood due to the nature of how the information was compiled. I think that it is written well enough to inspire a thirst for more knowledge about Nzingha. My hope is that my children will inspired to discover more about Africa and African people. More than anything, I am inspired by stories of rebellion against European colonization of Africa, as well as those that give a glimpse into the background of how people of African d ...more
Young Adult Historical Vault
An interesting and well-crafted book, but would have benefited greatly from being maybe 50 pages longer. There simply aren't enough pages to get through everything brought up! It's an interesting time period with an interesting protagonist and interesting plot, and there's a real lack of fiction in this era/place, but could have been so much better if there was MORE.

For my full review including spoilers, check out Young Adult Historical Vault.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Boo! I was excited to read historical fiction about people that are not white but this is really just a pathetic attempt. The story itself is a mere 90 pages, the rest is historical notes and photos.

My biggest issue is that the author just barely brushes up against the idea that the slavery the people of Angola practice is different than the chattel slavery of the Portuguese but this is never really explained, not even in the notes.
Myra Benedict
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nzingha a warrior a girl of her words and a princess that wants good for her people .Nzingha always ready to face her problems but soon she is captured betrayed by her people what will she do ?....what will happen? A princess diary really fun because of the facts about her and information about her very good book well written .👸🏾
Interesting, engaging, and all together far too short! The diary skips whole months to reach the climax, only to let the epilogue explain how much more there was to Nzingha's story. Perhaps McKissack or her editor felt the story needed to focus on Nzingha's childhood only in order to engage with the target demographic of this series? ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series
I loved these books as an adolescent, I collected them all, I read and re-read them. I went on to be a history major and librarian and I think that it is in no small part due to books like these that made history feel alive to young women in a way that many/most of the books at the time did not.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story about a Nzingha, strong princess first daughter of Kiluanji, she lives in Africa. she was powerful, free and unafraid to fight for her beloved home. She protects her people and her country!!
Heather Forensky
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Though it is fictional and based on a historic character, I am still not well versed in African Folklore or mythology that makes up most of the culture and religion. However, this was an interesting look into their customs and heritage.
Roslyn K
The conceit of this book - the Portuguese priest that Nzingha's father captured has been secretly educating her and her sisters and told her she should start a diary - is very weak. Nzingha shows so much contempt and mistrust for the priest that it doesn't make any sense for her to start this diary at his suggestion. It makes more sense for her to throw the book in the river to spite him, given her attitude to him. But that wouldn't give an excuse to add Nzingha to the Royal Diaries series so ob ...more
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Patricia C. McKissack was the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of The Dark-Thirty and Porch Lies an ALA Notable Book. She collaborated with Jerry Pinkney on Goin' Someplace Special (Coretta Scott King Award winner) and Mirandy and Brother Wind (Coretta Scott King Award winner and Caldecott Honor Book). ...more

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