Holly Littlefield. Colors of Ghana. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, Inc, 1999. 24 pp. $19.93 (library), ISBN 978-1-57505-354-7; $5.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-57505-374-5.
Reviewed by Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah (O'Neill Library, Boston College)
Published on H-AfrTeach (January, 2000)
Colors of Ghana
More than the title reveals, Colors of Ghana is a delightful introduction to a plethora of facts about Ghana. The book starts with a solid introduction about the country: flora and fauna, borders, population, ancient and modern history, and languages. It then goes on to enlighten the reader using ten colors: gold, white, orange, gray, green, black, tan, blue, brown, and silver. Each color is used to introduce various cultural, geographical, historical, and other aspects of Ghana. Gold represents the Golden Stool, the symbol of prowess and freedom of the Asante people. White symbolizes various traditional ceremonies, such as babies' naming rites. Orange, the background of the Kyeretiwe kente cloth is presented in the most fascinating manner. The grim slave walls in Elmina are designated by the color gray, while land and wildlife are portrayed by green. Black stands for the black star in the middle of the Ghanaian flag. Tan is the color of traditional drums used for various ceremonies, as well as conveying messages before the advent of telecommunication devices. Blue represents the waters of the Volta Lake, the source of electricity, irrigation and fish life in Ghana. Brown denotes the color of cacao pods that have become roasted in the sun. Finally, silver exemplifies the web of Ananse the spider, the clever character that spans many tales in Ghana and the African Diaspora.
Each section of the books begins with a pronunciation guide that facilitates the utterance of the color in question. Crisply clean illustrations adorn each section, adding meaning and better understanding of the various ideas presented.
This book is extraordinary in the sense that within a few pages, the reader is introduced to a vast repertoire of Ghanaian history, culture, and other factual pieces of information. Littlefield does an excellent job of weaving suspenseful stories around each color. Both children and adults will find Colors of Ghana a delightful companion.
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Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah. Review of Littlefield, Holly, Colors of Ghana.
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