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Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book
Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book
by Muriel L. Feelings
Illustration by Tom Feelings

Presents a word, with English translation, for each of the twenty-four letters in the Swahili alphabet. Brief explanation of each word introduces an East African custom.
Age: 5 Year-olds | Title: Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book  |  Author: Muriel L. Feelings  |  Publisher: Dial Books
Presents a word, with English translation, for each of the twenty-four letters in the Swahili alphabet. Brief explanation of each word introduces an East African custom.

An international twist on the traditional ABC book, this story focuses on the African language of Swahili. Unlike many alphabet books, this story is less about learning the alphabet and more about learning about life in Africa and Swahili vocabulary. Early elementary school children will be mesmerized by the exotic culture, especially the appearance of elephants, giraffes and lions. The charcoal-drawings help open their young eyes to a whole new world full of similarities, such as playing with friends and going to school, and stark contrasts, such as life in a small village and elaborate hair dressings.

With the combination of an unfamiliar setting and different language, this book presents a great opportunity to discuss new cultures with your child. At the beginning of the book there is a map of Africa and an introduction into the basics of the Swahili language, both of which are valuable learning tools for both you and your child. Kids will also love to follow your lead and say the Swahili words, especially fun ones like, "rafiki" for "friend" or "watoto" for children.

Reading this book to three-year-old Emily, a girl I babysit, was a rewarding experience. She eagerly repeated after me to learn the new words. She even asked me several times what the word for elephant was and then excitedly recited, "Tembo!" She also loved that the Swahili word for "Mama" is "Mama!"

--Abby

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