More about Liberia
Many of the books about Liberia are written for an adult audience and deal candidly with issues in Liberian history; review these before sharing with young readers. Items written for a juvenile audience are marked with an asterisk.
Non-Fiction Books and Films
- Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen. 2009. This Child Will be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President. New York: Harper.
- Disney, Abigail E., and Gini Reticker. 2008. Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Sausalito, CA: Distributed by Roco Films Educational.
- Cooper, Helene. 2008. The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Olukoju, Ayodeji. 2006. Culture and customs of Liberia*. Culture and Customs of Africa. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
- Ellis, Stephen. 1999. The Mask of Anarchy: the Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War. New York: New York University Press.
- Walker, Alice. 1982. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
- Zemser, Amy Bronwen. 1998. Beyond the Mango Tree*. New York: Greenwillow Books.
- Banks, Russell. 2004. The Darling. New York: HarperCollins.
- Wikipedia article
- Official website of the Liberian government
- Liberian Observer (Newspaper)
- Liberian Online (News, Discussions, Etc.)
- Shelby Grossman’s blog (Grossman blogs extensively about Liberian and West African issues).
- Scarlett Lion (Mostly features photography from Liberia and other West African nations)
More about Black Mambas and Other Snakes
- Wallach, V. 2009. Black Mambas. Mankato, Minn: Capstone Press.
- Mattison, Christopher. 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
- Klein, Adam G. 2006. Black Mambas. Checkerboard animal library. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub.
- Wikipedia article
- Video of a Black Mamba from National Geographic‘s YouTube channel
- 10 Steps for Surviving a Snakebite (from BBC Knowledge magazine)
Other References in the Novel
The idea of a Kaseng is a genuine folk belief of rural people in Liberia. I use the Kpelle term and Phonetic spelling used by George Schwab in Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland. I have also seen in spelled kaaseng, and Schwab himself provides alternate terms. There is a great more nuance to the belief than Linus fully understands or than is represented in my novel.
The game the boys play is a fictional game based on real books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Role playing games were very popular with the American kids in Liberia, and most were explicitly or tacitly based on popular books. I played Dungeon & Dragons, based on the Lord of the Rings series; The Call of Cthulhu, based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, and Top Secret, based on the James Bond books by Ian Fleming. As far as I know, there was no game based on Burroughs’ work, but there should have been.
The first two Pellucidar books are now in the public domain:
Most of the songs Linus hears in the book are by Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, who had spent time in Africa and was very popular in Liberia in the early 1980s. Every person I knew in Liberia finds Cliff’s music inseparable from their memories of Monrovia, particularly “Reggae Night” (which is not featured in Mamba Point because it was not released until 1983). The songs Linus hears are among Cliff’s best known songs, including:
- “You Can Get It If You Really Want It” (Cliff covered this early ska hit by Desmond Dekker)
- “Many Rivers to Cross”
- “No Woman, No Cry” (Cliff covered this Bob Marley classic)
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