Mansa Musa

Burns Harcourt Children's Books 2001

Title: Mansa Musa Author: Khephra Burns Illustrator: Leo and Diane Dillon
Publisher: San Diego; Gulliver Books Harcourt Inc.

Genre: Historical Fiction Level: Intermediate/Upper Number of pages: 51 Pub. Date: 2001


This is the story of Kankan Musa a young Malian boy who is kidnapped and brought across the savannah. There he is bought and freed by Tariq al-Aya who shows him how to survive in the desert and helps Kankan on his rode to discover himself. After many years journeying, Kankan comes across a city buried in the sand and discovers the truth about his ancestry. He returns to his homeland to find his brother is Mansa, the leader, of the great Mali nation. Eventually Kankan replaces his brother and becomes Mansa Musa.


This book is a historical period piece that follows Kankan as he travels around Africa during the early 14th century. The reader learns about the customs, civilizations and people of the time. This book is based on research and the main character actually lived but the author makes much of the story.


When I read this book, I read it out loud to my roommate. I then asked her a few simple questions about her opinion of the book.

  1. What was your favorite part of the book?

Where he goes into the underground palace and discovers himself.

  1. What was the main idea of the story?

Self Discovery

  1. If you could change one thing about the story what would it be? Why?

I feel like it’s the combination of a storybook and a chapter book. But it was too long to really enjoy the beautiful illustrations.

I agree with her answers.


During: Have students research the facts behind this book using the resources in suggested in the back of the book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s