Arts/Culture

Book Review — Threads of Me: Kente for Show and Tell by Erica Asante

The book Threads of Me: Kente for Show and Tell written by Erica Asante is a children’s book about culture. It was illustrated by Chengetai Lerato Masalethulini and designed by Cha Consul. The book will be published in October, 2022.

The author uses the symbolism of Ghana’s Kente cloth to emphasize the importance of storytelling and its interwoven connection with culture, in many shades of colour that teaches children the value of historical identity.

The Kente cloth, which is indigenous to Ghana, is a significant stylistic attire because every element of its attractive design serves as a means of expression.

Each of the cloth’s colour and patterns as represented in the book has a symbolic meaning: gold denotes prestige and tranquilly, yellow denotes fertility, green denotes rejuvenation, blue denotes a pure spirit and harmony, red denotes passion, and black denotes kinship with the dead and spiritual awareness.

In her interview with theafricandream.net, Erica expressed that the book will “highlight the value of storytelling, cultural legacy, diversity, intergenerational bonds, and family traditions.”

According to Erica, “whoever you are, wherever you come from, be proud! Embrace, celebrate, and share your culture with all those around you. You will realize that we are much more alike than we are different.”

“And in our differences, there are so many things to learn, teach, and share with each other. This is what Threads of Me: Kente for Show and Tell is all about,” she added.

Summary

When class teacher Mr. Washington asks the class to bring in something for show and tell that represents who they are and where they come from, Ama rushes home to get ideas from Nana.

Nana reaches into the vast collection of her stories and retells Ama the story of Kente, a handwoven fabric once reserved only for the royalty of the Asante Kingdom in Ghana.

©Erica Asante

In the book Ama learns and shares her rich Ghanaian culture and family heritage with her class.

“Children will fall in love with the vibrant illustrations and be intrigued by the new things they learn from this beautiful story,” Erica said to theafricandream.net in a chat from her base in the United States.

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