Grandad Mandela
Grandad Mandela
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Grandad Mandela

Two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother 15 questions about the man they remember as Grandad, and the world remembers as Nelson Mandela, the global icon of peace and forgiveness who spent 27 years in prison. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and realise that they can continue his legacy in the world today. Seen through a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by his great-grandchildren and daughter, this amazing story is told as never before to celebrate what would have been Nelson’s Mandela 100th birthday.


Sean Qualls has illustrated a number of highly acclaimed books for children, including Giant Steps to Change The World by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis-Lee, Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and her son Slade, and Before John Was a Jazz Giant, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor. His work has received two Blue Ribbon citations from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Weight 550 g
Dimensions 29.5 × 24 mm


No. of Pages




Publication Year



South Africa


Ambassador Zindzi Mandela,

Sean Qualls,

Zazi Mandela,

Ziwelene Mandela


Lincoln Children's Books


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Editorial Review

Among the numerous picture books about Nelson Mandela, this title, published to honor the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth, is the first to have been created by his family members. Here, a dialogue between Mandela’s young great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene, and their grandmother, Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, introduces South Africa’s recent history and the family’s role in toppling apartheid. In a child’s direct, simple language, the questions range from specific moments in history (“Why did Grandad go to jail?”) to challenging, philosophical definitions (“What is justice?”). A few lines read with understandable, hyperbolic notes of family pride (“Winnie Mandela was born... amongst the Pondo people, who produced the best warriors in history”), though younger readers may need help grasping the meaning of a final reference to volunteering. The intimacy created by the family voices and connections is profoundly moving, and Qualls’s dynamic paper-collage compositions of the Mandelas, as well as supporters of all colors, reinforce the sense of a final, unifying concept: “Ubuntu... means I am because we all are.” Ages 4–7 ~ Publisher Weekly