I find that the book is a good introduction to the study of the history of the West African kingdoms. However, it does not give much more than that; little is told about the daily lives of the people, which is what really interests me about any period in history. In addition, I found that the book focuses a bit too much on the mythology, which, let's face it, sounds strange to modern American children, reinforcing the notion that Africans are primitive. The book also does not give enough pictures of what anything or anyone from the kingdoms looked like, forcing the reader to imagine the visuals, which are bound to look more like modern cartoon depictions of Africa than the actual kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay.
That being said, if you have children who are interested in learning a little bit about African history, this book is a good start. It gives bits of information that you don't get in your history classes, even those that teach world history. I learned about these kingdoms way back in the 7th grade, but even then I did not learn that there were Europeans who went to African universities in the Middle Ages, which is quite a switch from today's world. That little fact is powerful, because it forces the question of what happened to Africa that resulted in the widespread poverty, disease, malnutrition, and war we hear about so much in the news today.
Since I am not African-American and do not know many people who are, I am unable to judge with any certainty whether the book is good for enhancing the self-esteem of African-American children (which seems to be one of the purposes of this book). However, I can say that the book is a good introduction to West African history for anyone, regardless of race or age.