Book review: Sidikiba’s Kora Lesson by Ryan Thomas Skinner (9781592982424)

This is the story of a young boy named Sidikiba who lives in a small town in West Africa.  He is the descendant of Jeli Mady Wuleng who, as Maude legend says, was a bard and storyteller who discovered the kora.  The kora is a harp played by the Maude people of West Africa. When Sidikiba finds his father’s gift of a new kora, he is told it is time to carry on the tradition to play for his people.   Sidikiba learns not only to be patient and to practice playing his kora every day, but he learns that he must honor and respect his elders as well as trust in his own abilities.

This is a children’s book full of wonderful illustrations created by the author, a glossary with pronunciations in the back for several highlighted African words throughout the text, and most importantly it has a CD by Sidiki Diabate (the author’s real-life inspiration for the book) who plays the kora.  Within the book are areas marked when to play the tracks from the CD to go along with the songs in the storyline.

A well-written and well- illustrated book that all cultures should read.  It is an inspiring and uplifting book that includes family, mystical secrets and most of all, music.

Thank you to Ryan Skinner and Bostick Communications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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