TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Tracey Baptiste

Tracey Baptiste on African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

In this post, we feature author Tracey Baptiste, whose previous acclaimed titles include The Jumbies, a Junior Library Guild selection. You can hear her speak about her recent nonfiction title, African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!


Tracey Baptiste and the cover of African Icons

African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

  • Written by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson
  • Published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Workman Publishing
  • Release date: October 19, 2021

Meet some of the remarkable African kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who changed the world. Black history begins thousands of years ago with the many cultures and people of the African continent. Through portraits of ten heroic figures, author Tracey Baptiste takes readers on a journey across Africa to meet some of the great leaders and thinkers whose vision built a continent and shaped the world.

From African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History, written by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson

The best place to start examining the early history of Africa is by looking at the land itself.

Read a longer excerpt from African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History, written by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson.
An interior image from African Icons, written by Tracey Baptiste and illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson, showing a portrait of Amanieras, "warrior, diplomat, queen."

Explore African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

Listen to Tracey Baptiste talking with TeachingBooks about creating African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.


Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Tracey Baptiste.

Imagination Activity with Tracey Baptiste

Imagine your character is walking toward you holding a closed box. They hand the box to you. Write about what you find inside.


Finish This Sentence . . . with Tracey Baptiste

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Tracey Baptiste’s response.

“A surprising thing that helps me work is…”

A surprising thing that helps me work is creating a playlist. I can’t listen to music while I work, but creating a playlist of songs that relate to scenes that I’m writing can help me to think about the book while I’m doing other things, like the dishes or driving. The songs don’t have to perfectly match up to the scenes either. It could be that there’s just one phrase in the song that reminds me of the scene, or the mood of the music matches the scene even if the lyrics don’t.

“I hope that my book encourages young people to think about…”

I hope that my book might encourage readers to think about how histories can leave off important people and events. Historians focus on what’s important to them, not necessarily on the whole picture. So I hope this shows readers that whatever they find out about history, there’s always more to the story.


More Connections to Tracey Baptiste and African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History


Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of Tracey Baptiste, Hillary D. Wilson, and Workman Publishing and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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