5 Books for Mandela Day

After the many celebrations held for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday in 2008, The Nelson Mandela Foundation and other organizations were motivated to campaign for a day that would recognize Mandela’s service and contributions to humanity. At one of the celebrations, a concert, Mandela said, “it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”

On November 10, 2009, the United Nations adopted a resolution to establish Nelson Mandela International Day or Mandela Day. A portion of the resolution states that the United Nations General Assembly:

“recogniz[es]…Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, as a humanitarian, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities.”

Mandela Day is July 18th, the same day of his birth, and much like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it is acknowledged as a day of service and goodwill. Mandela called education a “powerful weapon,” and reading about his life and legacy promotes education and literacy. Reading to someone—a child, an elderly person, or a struggling reader—fosters kindness. Happy Reading!




“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Mandela: From the Life of the South African Statesman – Floyd Cooper

Mandela: From the Life of the South African Statesman – Floyd Cooper
From his childhood in the South African countryside, to his election as the first black president in South Africa's history, Nelson Mandela's extraordinary life is a story of courage, persistence, hope, and belief.

Nelson Mandela – Kadir Nelson

Nelson Mandela – Kadir Nelson
In this picture book biography, award-winning author and illustrator Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela, a global icon, in poignant free verse and glorious illustrations. It is the story of a young boy's determination to change South Africa, and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for all people, no matter the color of their skin.
Sources & Additional Reading: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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