Ifeoma Onyefulu was brought up in a traditional village in Eastern Nigeria. After completing a business management course, she trained as a photographer, contributing to a number of magazines. Ifeoma's highly acclaimed children's books are renowned for countering negative images of Africa by celebrating its traditional village life. Her work has been admired at many exhibitions. A is for Africa, her first book, was chosen as one of Child Education's Best Information Books and Junior Education's Best Books. She has twice won the Children's Africana Book Award: Best Book for Young Children in the USA for Here Comes Our Bride! in 2005 and for Ikenna Goes to Nigeria in 2008.
``This alphabet is based on my own favorite images of the Africa I know,'' writes Onyefulu, a member of the Igbo tribe who grew up in Nigeria and now lives in London. And though her penetrating photos were taken in her native country, she notes that the traditions and spirit she hopes to convey are common to ``all the peoples of this vast, friendly, colorful continent.'' The beautifully composed color photos, arranged alphabetically by subject, feature objects or practices representing various facets of African customs and culture: ``B is for the Beads a girl may wear on her head, ears or neck''; ``R is for River. Africans believe many rivers are sacred.'' Emphasized throughout are individuals' affection and concern for one another (``E is the embrace we give our loved ones''; ``K is for Kola nuts offered to guests to show warmth and friendship''; ``S is for Shaking hands''). A talented photographer, Onyefulu affords her audience an incisive, sophisticated view of her homeland's rich heritage. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)