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Weston Woods
For 50 years Weston Woods Studios has been the principal innovator in the translation of picture books into the audiovisual media. Our adaptations are faithful reflections of classic children's picture books designed to motivate beginning, struggling, reluctant and limited English language proficient readers to WANT to read.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters Discussion Guide

In a small African village lives a man named Mufaro and his two beautiful daughters, Manyara and Nyasha. Manyara, an ill-tempered girl, is jealous of Nyasha and vows to one day be queen and have Nyasha as her servant. Nyasha, on the other hand, is a gentle girl who works hard and is kind to animals and people alike. When the king orders that all the beautiful daughters appear so that he might select a queen, Manyara's selfish ways are revealed. Nyasha is chosen as queen and Manyara becomes a servant in the queen's household.


  • Children will learn about African culture.
  • Children will explore relationships between people.
  • Children will investigate the outcomes of both positive and negative behaviors.

Before Reading Activities

Share the book Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters with the children. Locate the continent of Africa on a map. Talk about the climate, vegetation and animal life.


  • What can you tell from the illustrations about how the people of this small African village lived?
  • How does life in this village seem different from ours?
  • What would you like most/least about living in a village like this?

Ask children if they have ever heard languages other than their own spoken. Give them the opportunity to share with the class other languages that they may know. Then emphasize that language is only one difference that may exist between people of different cultures.

Explore the relationship between Manyara and Nyasha. Ask children to describe the way Manyara felt about her sister.


  • Why was Manyara jealous of her sister?
  • What could Manyara do about her feelings?

Encourage children to discuss feelings of jealousy and anger that they may have had toward siblings or others. Also have children share with everyone the things they may have done to resolve these feelings.


  • Why do you think Nyasha was chosen as queen?
  • What kind of queen do you think Nyasha will be?
  • What kind of queen would Manyara have been if she had been chosen instead?
  • How do you think Manyara felt about being a servant to Nyasha?
  • What do you think might have happened to Manyara if she had behaved differently?

After Reading Activities

Supply children with a variety of materials (construction paper, markers, cardboard, etc.) that they can use to create an African village. Then have children write their own stories about life in the village. You may want to help them by offering a story starter such as: A visitor to a small African village was so surprised when she saw....

After children have written their stories, encourage them to share the stories with everyone. Display stories on a bulletin board near the village.

Have children dramatize the story of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. Supply simple props including white sheets for clothing, a stick to represent a staff, a long length of rope to represent a crown. Later ask children to describe how it felt to take on the personalities of the different characters.


Video Progams available from Weston Woods include:

The Most Wonderful Egg in the World , by Helme Heine

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, by John Steptoe

To Order:

For Public libraries sales call 800-243-5020 / For School Library sales call 800-621-1115.

This guide may be photocopied for free distribution without restriction.

Copyright 2008 Weston Woods.

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    Beauty Queens

    Beauty Queens

    by Libba Bray

    The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

    What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

    Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.


    Libba Bray is the author of the 2010 Printz Award winning Going Bovine, and the acclaimed Gemma Doyle trilogy. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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    Beauty Queens - Audio

    Beauty Queens - Audio

    by Bray, Libba

    From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

    Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"- like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.


    Libba Bray is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle trilogy, comprised of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, their son, and two cats. Visit her at

    * 2012 ALA "Top Ten" Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.

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