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A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation

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As Nelson Mandela lived and worked under the unjust system of apartheid, his desire for freedom grew.  South Africa separated people by races, oppressing the country’s non-white citizens with abusive laws and cruel restrictions. Every day filled Mandela with grief and anger. But he also had hope—hope for a nation that belonged to everyone who lived in it.   From his work w As Nelson Mandela lived and worked under the unjust system of apartheid, his desire for freedom grew.  South Africa separated people by races, oppressing the country’s non-white citizens with abusive laws and cruel restrictions. Every day filled Mandela with grief and anger. But he also had hope—hope for a nation that belonged to everyone who lived in it.   From his work with the African National Congress, to his imprisonment on Robben Island, to his extraordinary rise to the presidency, Nelson Mandela was a rallying force against injustice. This stirring biography explores Mandela’s long fight for equality and the courage that propelled him through decades of struggle. Illustrated in the bold, bright colors of South Africa, A Plan for the People captures the spirit of a leader beloved around the world.  


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As Nelson Mandela lived and worked under the unjust system of apartheid, his desire for freedom grew.  South Africa separated people by races, oppressing the country’s non-white citizens with abusive laws and cruel restrictions. Every day filled Mandela with grief and anger. But he also had hope—hope for a nation that belonged to everyone who lived in it.   From his work w As Nelson Mandela lived and worked under the unjust system of apartheid, his desire for freedom grew.  South Africa separated people by races, oppressing the country’s non-white citizens with abusive laws and cruel restrictions. Every day filled Mandela with grief and anger. But he also had hope—hope for a nation that belonged to everyone who lived in it.   From his work with the African National Congress, to his imprisonment on Robben Island, to his extraordinary rise to the presidency, Nelson Mandela was a rallying force against injustice. This stirring biography explores Mandela’s long fight for equality and the courage that propelled him through decades of struggle. Illustrated in the bold, bright colors of South Africa, A Plan for the People captures the spirit of a leader beloved around the world.  

49 review for A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    An outstanding picture book biography of the South African leader handsomely illustrated by Charly Palmer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a solid addition to your biography collection, and it is accompanied by extensive back matter. Don't skip the author's note. This is a solid addition to your biography collection, and it is accompanied by extensive back matter. Don't skip the author's note.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This picture book biography about Nelson Mandela is a 3.5 for me, close to a 4. What particularly impressed me about it is how it covers his time in prison much more extensively than the other children's books about him have. There is a strong thread woven throughout the account that speaks to the notion of change. While he could have become embittered and ready to use violence against the oppressors of his people, instead, Mandela chose to educate himself and others and work for change in peace This picture book biography about Nelson Mandela is a 3.5 for me, close to a 4. What particularly impressed me about it is how it covers his time in prison much more extensively than the other children's books about him have. There is a strong thread woven throughout the account that speaks to the notion of change. While he could have become embittered and ready to use violence against the oppressors of his people, instead, Mandela chose to educate himself and others and work for change in peaceful ways. For someone to emerge from 27 years of imprisonment still filled with hope is almost impossible to believe. The author covers Mandela's determination to fight against apartheid in South Africa and his involvement with the African National Congress, which had a plan to insure that all South Africans would be equal citizens, treated with respect and fairness and given suffrage. Once he was identified as one of the leaders in the movement, Mandela was arrested along with others, and given limited access to the outside world with only four letters, two sent and two received, allowed each year. He and his fellow prisoners studied and tried to raise the awareness of the prison guards, believing that "education might free them of the hateful apartheid beliefs they'd been taught. Perhaps one by one they could learn to respect people of all colors" (unpaged). Through study and conversations with some of the guards, Mandela came to understand them and their fears as well as helping them see his point of view. As outside pressure prompted his release from prison, Mandela embraced his freedom but also quickly worked to defuse tensions on both sides, showing true leadership. The illustrations, created with acrylics, are stunning, remarkably capturing the essence of this peaceful warrior for justice who seems never to have lost faith that his plans for equity would come to fruition. Those images are filled with lively swirls of color that are just as impressive as those in the illustrations in The Teachers March! also illustrated by Charly Palmer, who illustrated this book. Readers won't want to miss the Author's Note and the Illustrator's Note for their personal connections to this story. Given that there is so much division in the United States as well as other countries, Nelson Mandela's story is particularly relevant right now. This is a fine book to add to a biography collection or one devoted to the civil rights movement or how one person can make changes in the world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    This picture book biography of the great Nelson Mandela explores his adult life as first an attorney and then a prisoner and then president. Mandela defended people against the unjust White laws of apartheid that drove dark-skinned South Africans into impoverished communities and took away their rights. He joined the African National Congress, helping draft their Freedom Charter. Mandela was a leader in the fight for justice, soon arrested as an activist, tried and sent to Robben Island. Mandela This picture book biography of the great Nelson Mandela explores his adult life as first an attorney and then a prisoner and then president. Mandela defended people against the unjust White laws of apartheid that drove dark-skinned South Africans into impoverished communities and took away their rights. He joined the African National Congress, helping draft their Freedom Charter. Mandela was a leader in the fight for justice, soon arrested as an activist, tried and sent to Robben Island. Mandela was placed in a small, cold cell and separated from those he loved, allowed just one visitor in his first year and only two letters sent and received. But Mandela and others created ways to communicate and continue to learn. He saw ways to open the hearts of the guards in the prison, learning about their history as well as his own. Along the way, they gained more freedoms in the prison, eventually getting released as international pressure mounted. Mandela was elected President and formed a new multiracial government with new freedoms for everyone. McDivitt shares in her Author’s Note that she was born in South Africa as a white person. Her background gives her an interesting lens of understanding from which to write a biography of Nelson Mandela. She does so with a real depth, allowing Mandela’s decades in prison to form a lot of the book and also focusing on the injustice of apartheid and its ramifications on its victims. Throughout her prose, she uses vivid imagery from South Africa that help readers better understand the impact and power of Mandela. Palmer’s art beautifully captures Mandela throughout his adult life. From the days in prison to connecting with fellow prisoners and guards to eventually donning his signature vibrant tunics as President. The illustrations show the injustice of apartheid, the horrors of the prison, and the rise of Mandela as a world leader. An important look at Mandela’s life and work. Appropriate for ages 7-10.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janie Reinart

    Lindsey McDivitt weaves the life story of Nelson Mandela together with heart and lyrical language. “A natural leader, he drew people in—like wildlife to water in the dry Karoo.” Nelson Mandela was unjustly imprisoned for twenty-seven years for fighting peacefully against apartheid. He was alone and “ached to see his wife and five children.” “To the guards, the prisoners looked as lazy as lions in the shade.” In this must read biography, the author explains that Mandela believed race should not Lindsey McDivitt weaves the life story of Nelson Mandela together with heart and lyrical language. “A natural leader, he drew people in—like wildlife to water in the dry Karoo.” Nelson Mandela was unjustly imprisoned for twenty-seven years for fighting peacefully against apartheid. He was alone and “ached to see his wife and five children.” “To the guards, the prisoners looked as lazy as lions in the shade.” In this must read biography, the author explains that Mandela believed race should not divide people. In prison, Mandela prepared himself to be a leader for all South Africans and became a beloved Father of a new country and a hero to the world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellon

    An inspiring book about an inspiring person! This book is FULL of information about Mandela. It ends up being a bit too much for a picture book I think. The beginning of the book is such an information dump that I was not really enjoying it. It really picked up though but I still think there was way too much in this book. Excellent illustrations, especially the two page spread of Mandela's big smile. An inspiring book about an inspiring person! This book is FULL of information about Mandela. It ends up being a bit too much for a picture book I think. The beginning of the book is such an information dump that I was not really enjoying it. It really picked up though but I still think there was way too much in this book. Excellent illustrations, especially the two page spread of Mandela's big smile.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Kahn

    This picture book biography went into greater detail than most and the illustrations were bold and powerful. Definitely adding this to my sixth grade picture book biography unit

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol Ekster

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jovany Agathe

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katy Punch

  11. 4 out of 5

    Claudette

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kerri Hall

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annese

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caralen

  18. 4 out of 5

    Effie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Keri

  20. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

  21. 5 out of 5

    Quintina

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nadia Salomon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Noonan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steph

  28. 4 out of 5

    molliekay

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amber Wood

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ann Magee

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Gomez

  32. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  33. 5 out of 5

    Mary Hamer

  34. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  35. 4 out of 5

    Sage Brinton

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  37. 4 out of 5

    Christie

  38. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Boquist

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Kniola

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  41. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  42. 4 out of 5

    Sara Dempster

  43. 4 out of 5

    Alcey

  44. 5 out of 5

    Karlie

  45. 5 out of 5

    Christa

  46. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

  47. 5 out of 5

    Nicholl

  48. 5 out of 5

    Rachaelita

  49. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

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