Cover image for From the heart of Africa : a book of wisdom / Eric Walters.
From the heart of Africa : a book of wisdom / Eric Walters.
Publication Information:
[Toronto, Ontario, Canada] : Tundra, 2018.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Presents a collection of aphorisms from the African continent, including words of wisdom from the Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan, and Kikuyu cultures.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
398.996 WAL Book Junior Collection
398.996 WAL Book Junior Collection

On Order



Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life's issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist.

In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu- all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread.

This book is a celebration of art, of community and of our common history.

Author Notes

A former social worker and elementary school teacher, ERIC WALTERS wrote his first novel, Stand Your Ground , in 1993. Since then he has written more than ninety books for children and young adults that together have won over a hundred awards. In 2014, Eric was named to the Order of Canada, one of Canada's highest honors. In conjunction with his writing, Eric talks to tens of thousands of students in schools and libraries across the country each year. He also founded and runs the Creation of Hope (, an organization dedicated to providing care for orphans in the rural Mbooni district in Kenya. Eric has three grown children. He lives with his wife in Guelph, Ontario.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

More than a dozen artists offer strikingly varied interpretations of 15 aphorisms sourced from across the African continent. "Africa is where we all started our journey on this planet," writes Walters in an introduction. "It's from this home that we began and then fanned out across the world." Each saying appears in large bold type, labeled with its region or people of origin and a brief explanation. Many images hew to the language of the phrases-South African artist Toby Newsome pictures a woman in a headscarf carefully dipping her toe into a river ("No one tests the depth of the water with both feet")-while others take bigger stylistic leaps. Working in a brash comic-book style, Sindiso "R!OT" Nyoni, based in Johannesburg, shows a black female astronaut beaming at readers from outer space ("Traveling is learning"). It's easy to imagine this book being used in classrooms, with students suggesting their own interpretations of these aphorisms and inventing their own. A portion of Walters's royalties will be donated to Creation of Hope, a Kenyan organization he cofounded that offers a variety of aid to orphans in that country. Ages 6-9. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.