Music and dance are important parts of many cultures around the world. My philosophy is “explore music, explore the world.” I discovered the book, Lord of the Dance, through Kid World Citizen. They are doing an amazing series exploring the world through books! So I decided to join in and explore some art, music, and dance from Côte d’Ivoire.
Lord of the Dance is written and illustrated by Véronique Tadjo who is from Côte d’Ivoire, a West African country. Ms. Tadjo learned about the Senufo people and their culture while teaching.
This book is illustrated in the style of Senufo art. However, the traditional art used brown vegetable ink. Children can notice many different patterns in the art throughout the book. (It would be fun to do an art project of a mask or animal with different patterns drawn on the body. Maybe use a paper plate like they did on First Palette)
Lord of the Dance is great for thinking about how we can lose sight of the simpler things in life. The Mask is around from the beginning of time and is important in shaping the culture. It represents the spirit of the people and their traditions. Those traditions provide an anchor and a compass to navigate life.
Of course, I like this book because it touches on the role of music and dance in the Senufo culture. Specifically, the drums used for celebration and mourning. As a music teacher, I found the book great for getting children involved in making sound. There is a “Tom-tom-tom-tom-tom” refrain. I would have children repeat it back to me and drum on their knees or the floor. You could have children make their own drums, too!
Lord of the Dance is a unique poem and the illustrations offer a wonderful view into the Senufo culture. Véronique provides further explanation of the Mask and the Senufo people at the end of the book. I came up with many music activities based around Lord of the Dance. This is would be a great book to use to begin exploring West Africa.
This post on children’s books about West Africa is part of a series from Kid World Citizen, gathering reviews of children’s books about the countries of Africa. Be sure to check out all the wonderful books and reviews!