Makeda: The Queen of Sheba

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2022

Talking about this book? Use #WeNeedDiverseBooks #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


A beautiful Ethiopian princess must use courage, strength, and leadership to conquer a dangerous enemy set on destroying the wealthy Kingdom of Sheba.

Princess Makeda was born into a loving royal family but when her father, King Agabos, unexpectedly dies, the lives of Makeda and her mother, Queen Ismenie, are turned upside-down. Grief-stricken, yet angry for vengeance, Makeda must use her intelligence and resiliency to navigate a toxic, male-dominated hierarchy. With the odds stacked against her and her back against the wall, Makeda embarks on the deadliest mission of her life to restore honor and safety to the Kingdom of Sheba.

This African Fantasy Epic is beautifully written and illustrated for both grade school children as well as fans of afrocentric anime, comics, and graphic novels. If you like historical fiction with a powerful black female hero, then you will love this ancient tale of courage and redemption. Buy Makeda the Queen of Sheba today to experience her incredible journey from young princess to legendary African queen.

A beautiful Ethiopian princess must use courage, strength, and leadership to conquer a dangerous enemy set on destroying the wealthy Kingdom of Sheba.

Princess Makeda was born into a loving royal...

A Note From the Publisher

Conscious Culture Publishing, a black owned book publisher known for creating unique afrocentric narratives, will release a new picture book based on one of the world’s most mysterious African female leaders, The Queen of Sheba. Famously mentioned in the Bible, she traveled to Jerusalem to experience the wisdom of King Solomon, however this theme focuses on her challenging journey from princess to Queen. Illustrated using state-of-the-art animation software, author Marlon McKenney was inspired by the desire for his daughter to have strong skills in leadership.

CCP’s fourth picture book, MAKEDA: The Queen of Sheba, is about the struggle of a princess working to lead the kingdom after her father tragically dies. The story highlights her strength and courage as Princess Makeda navigates a toxic male-dominated hierarchy to avenge her father’s death. From child, to princess, to queen, Makeda’s journey is filled with lessons of resilience and redemption. Compiling research from history, scripture, and Ethiopian legend, Marlon’s vision focuses on core principles of leadership that Makeda follows to achieve success.

Conscious Culture Publishing, a black owned book publisher known for creating unique afrocentric narratives, will release a new picture book based on one of the world’s most mysterious African female...

Advance Praise

"McKenney is a brilliant illustrator, thought-provoking writer, empowering girls to be fierceness leaders trusting in their beliefs by sharing Laws of Leadership for all children. Beautifully written and illustrated by an African-American for kids throughout the world."

- New York Times Bestselling Author, Mary "Honey B" Morrison

"This book is for the young girls who are aspiring to lead this nation in the areas of science, technology, engineering, government, entrepreneurship and more. This rarely told narrative of an African princess is what young black children need today."

- Dawn Michelle Hardy: Award Winning Literary Agent

"McKenney is a brilliant illustrator, thought-provoking writer, empowering girls to be fierceness leaders trusting in their beliefs by sharing Laws of Leadership for all children. Beautifully written...

Marketing Plan

Crowd Fund:

Crowd Fund:

Available Editions

ISBN 9781736466605
PRICE $9.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)

Average rating from 79 members

Featured Reviews

Makeda: Queen of Sheba is based on the historical and religious figure of the same name. It follows Makeda from her childhood to her becoming the great queen of Sheba.

The graphic novel is highly enjoyable and portrays the vast beauties of Sheba so wonderfully. The art style is unique and as many reviewers already mentioned, it makes you feel as if you're in an animated movie ot a video game.

The language is simple and this would make an amazing bed time story for young children who need a hero in their life who is as brave, strong and wonderful as Makeda.

Makeda teaches children to not give up, to take responsibility for their actions and be a just and incredible leader.

5/5 stars, will recommend to everyone I meet.

Was this review helpful?

This is a beautiful book with unique 3D illustration. I loved seeing an awesome African princess showing strength in a fairytale setting.

The story surrounds Makeda becoming the queen of Sheba in a fairytale-like setting. The story also depicts the responsibilities that come with the status. Makeda is a strong but human character who shows strength, resiliency, and responsibility to her home.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about an amazing character and wants to see incredible visuals!

Was this review helpful?

NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

Absolutely fantastic and amazing. The art jumps out at you from the pages and the storyline plucks at all of the top 10 emotions.

There is much mystery surrounding the Queen of Sheba, great lover of King Solomon. This take explores her backstory. It is a must have for households everywhere and religious teaching institutions.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved the way author Marlon McKenney has presented the story of Queen Sheba in a beautiful way. Through the mastery of his writing style, narration and illustration, the author has made the character alive. I am happy and hopeful that this particular work will incourage young people especially girls to raise their voice against every kinds of injustice. I sincerely believe this work will encourage the African-american youths to be proud of their culture and explore the beauty and richness of African culture and tradition. Thank you for writing this brilliant story. I am looking forward to read more from the author.
Full 5 stars for the writing and illustration. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

Was this review helpful?

This was amazing I loved it the Art, the characters and the plot. The art was phenomenal and so good. This based off the actually legends of the king, queen and princess of Sheba. I highly recommend this to everyone and I will be getting a physical copy when its published.

Was this review helpful?

I was provided a free copy of this from @netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I spent three years in Ethiopia while in high school, so I was excited to see this one available!
This was a fun read. It was a mixture of real historical figures and Ethiopian legend. It is a great story about a strong girl who learns how to become a warrior and a Queen!
I loved the lesson that even though her first idea to defeat the beast didn't succeed, she didn't give up and ultimately (spoiler! 😉) was able to conquer the beast! The illustrations are gorgeous! This was a fun book!
It is scheduled to be published 6 September, so put it on your list of books to get soon!
#WeNeedDiverseBooks #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

This is an amazing graphic novel of a black princess coming into being a queen. How this is achieved is by following the 9 laws of leadership. A powerful message to guide young ones that they can see themselves in a book and that they are someone of importance as well.

Was this review helpful?

This was an exciting story for young readers all about how Makeda becomes the Queen of Sheba. It is a simple read for children and I liked that the author included a little note about the fact vs. fiction of the Queen of Sheba. I can see this book being a starting point for young historians wanting to learn more about important historical figures.

I did not give this book a perfect 5/5 rating because I found the computer rendered art a little bit strange.

I received a free copy from NetGalley and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A beautiful inspiring and inventive tale of the young future queen of Sheba. The story is about how the Ethiopian king Agabos at his deathbed after fighting a menacing enemy to his city, decided to appoint his strong and brave daughter, the princess Makeda, to succeed him and how the young Makeda with her courage fought and could slay the monster that killed her father and was terrorising her people to become the great queen of Sheba that we know.

The story is well written with 3D illustrations which is a first for me to read a book with this kind of art and I have to say that it was so well done that I really enjoyed it. A great story about family, respect, love, courage and so many other things that could inspire many readers and a beautiful way to learn more about the African history through fiction.

Was this review helpful?

I love love love this!!!
Wow what a beautiful story. The illustrations were just on point. Everything about it, glorious. The colors, the beauty, the bravery, so wonderful. Totally enjoyed it and I've recommended to my fellow book lovers. I wouldn't mind owning this in paperback at all. Where do I sign up for that?!! Brown skin girls doing the best, love to see it!!
Would love to see General Amari disgraced though, he needs it.

Was this review helpful?

I received an eARC copy from Conscious Culture Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Queen of Sheba has been an inspiration for many centuries to many artists. During the Italian Renaissance (talking about the period XIV-XVII century here), she appeared on the Florence Baptistery's bronze doors made by Lorenzo Ghiberti, in frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli in Pisa and the Raphael Loggie in the Vatican. Even earlier, in the XII century, sculptures of the Queen of Sheba were used to decorate great Gothic cathedrals such as Chartres, Rheims, Amiens, and Wells. Many movies and TV series were filmed about her, operas and ballets composed. She is also a part of Biblical narratives, mentioned in Christian scriptures, Coptic legends, Ethiopian national saga; Jewish literature and the Quran also share the story of the Queen of Sheba that has similarities with the Bible. Her story spreads through many centuries, many countries, many continents. 

The outstandingly written and illustrated storybook pictures Makeda and her becoming the Queen of Sheba. With her strength, faith, dedication, wits, and love for her people, Makeda managed to defeat the Serpent King, a terrible beast who killed her father, King Agabos, and brought mayhem to the kingdom and rise to be the queen and the protector of her nation. 

The 3D-feel illustrations, with their bright and bold colours, are a delight to look at; I simply know that many parents and children will love and read this mythical story countless times. This brave young black woman instils beliefs of courage, women's empowerment, equality, and anti-racism, and we need more of these inspiring stories.

Was this review helpful?

This book, aimed at a younger audience than I represent, was gorgeously-illustrated with a nice 3-D effect to the pictures - where the background, for example, was a little out of focus, drawing attention to the main elements of the scene.

I don't see that it has much to do with the actual queen of Sheba, who, if she exited, may have come from Saba in Yemen rather than Ethiopia, or perhaps from further south in Africa. The name 'Makeda' is from an ancient term meaning 'high official', and isn't an actual person's name, but it's a fun choice to go with.

Regardless, the author takes that mythology and runs with it in interesting and entertaining directions. It's definitely a strong-female character story and I'm all for those after reading - or trying to read - far too many young adult stories where the female author seems determined to neuter her main female character for reasons which escape me.

Makeda is the daughter of King Agabos and Queen Ismenie, and when he dies - too young - she is next in line. When her mother proves too upset to rule as a regent, Makeda is forced to step up, and she realizes that it's a tough job. She makes mistakes, but in the end she takes responsibility to fix the scary and deadly problem facing her queendom.

I loved the art and the story, and I enjoyed seeing a young woman refuse to take a back seat, and instead, take the reins. I fully commend this as a worthy read, and would definitely read more of this author's work.

Was this review helpful?

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Princess Makeda who was born into a loving royal family but when her father, King Agabos, unexpectedly dies, the lives of Makeda and her mother, Queen Ismenie, are turned upside-down.

From the rich illustrations to the story of grief, confidence, faltering and triumph this book is a great representation of the rich African diaspora that should be shared with all children. McKenney goes further into the story to lay the framework of Makeda's 9 Lays of Leadership which allows readers to see that leadership is not always about brute strength but respect, taking responsibility and other worth attributes.

I highly recommend this book for those guiding children grades elementary to middle school and beyond.

Was this review helpful?

I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

Makeda: The Queen of Sheba is a stunningly illustrated children's picture book about how Makeda became the Queen of Sheba.
This story is based on folklaw and this is the main story of how this brave girl became a Queen by avenging her fathers death.
The illustrations are superb and very lifelike. Although only a short story, it's one full of inspiration, courage, bravery and justice. I loved Makedas strength, resilience and honour and found the story enjoyable. Well worth a read for anyone at any age!

Was this review helpful?

This was a great read! Thank you Netgalley!

I love the art/illustration in this book so much and it just gave the book so much life.

I found the story very feminist! Where men failed and men diminished her efforts, Makeda shone and let everyone know that she wasn't to be underestimated.

She made mistakes and learnt from them along the way. I love the representation of family and society.

I highly recommend this.

Was this review helpful?

I requested this book because the art style drew me in. The artwork is a beautiful kind of art that can easily be visualized as an animated movie that would be truly stunning.
The story is also amazing! It is a children's story so it is a shorter story, but I could have read several more pages of it.
Makeda is a wonderful protagonist with flaws and everything. Her parents have their flaws and strengths in their own way. And the little flavoring of political intrigue is fun as well.
If you want to get kids into reading or introduce them to new stories, this is a wonderful story to do that with.
The authors notes are absolutely heartwarming as they talk about why they wanted to tell this story for their children.

Was this review helpful?

Tonight, I sat down with my daughter on my lap and read her this book. I love reading her books with diverse characters and positive representations of female leadership and power, this book fit the criteria perfectly. Makeda is a well rounded character that experiences both failure and success throughout the story, and, while the story is brief, the audience is given opportunity to see her grow.

The book is not only an entertaining story, but also creates opportunity for conversation, particularly in identifying where young readers exhibit "Makeda's Nine Laws of Leadership" or using the map at the beginning to get a better understanding of global geography (I am a high school teacher in Australia and I am constantly shocked that my students think Africa is one country and not a continent).

The illustrations in this book were fantastic, the characters were incredibly expressive and their joy, shock, pain, joy and sadness were evident in great detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and my daughter and I will certainly be revisiting Makeda and Sheba in story times to come.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

There are many stories about the Queen of Sheba and her relationship with King Solomon. I was expecting a retelling from that standpoint, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a retelling about the young life of Makeda and how she became queen. It was amazing to give young girls (and women like me) a glimpse into her young life, her relationship with her parents, and how she won the hearts and minds of her people. I really enjoyed to blending of mythology and history that was used to create this story. It was fast paced and had a lot of 'Black Girl Power'! Add to that the stunning and realistic illustrations, it really added to the story and led to my first 5-star rating for the year.

Was this review helpful?

This is an interesting take of the story of the Queen of Sheba. I believe that this would be the perfect graphic novel for tweens that were interested in African history but love graphic novels. Additionally, you can see how talented the author is not only in their writing but also in their illustrations. The illustrations looked so vivid and real and more like a picture than a "drawing". The one down side that I would say for this graphic novel is the amount of words on the page. (That is main reason why I'd recommend this book for a tween and not consider it a children's graphic novel.) Typically for me I have to prepare myself to read these types of graphic novels because I find I have to take more time to not only read but pay attention to the graphics as well. Overall though, I would recommend this graphic novel to anyone who was interested in reading it and I'm interested in reading the other graphic novels the author has published in this series.

I just reviewed Makeda: The Queen of Sheba by Marlon McKenney. #WeNeedDiverseBooks #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

An illustrated storybook, Makeda: The Queen of Sheba is a powerful novel that promotes women empowerment. I love how straightforward the plot was and I loved the lessons that you could pick out from the book. Little girls reading this novel will be inspired by Makeda's courage and intelligence and if they ever want to emulate her qualities, Makeda's 9 laws of leadership will serve as their guide ;)

Overall, this is a great book that empowers young girls to be strong women leaders!

Was this review helpful?

Wow this story is amazing.  I actually wish they has books this good when I was younger. My 9 year old read me this story and she gave it the 5 star rating as she thought it was wonder and I agree it was. The pictures in this book were the best quality I have ever seen in any book. The storyline was wonderful following the amazing story of a princess who had to save her lands from a wicked snake like creature. What I loved the most was that it is telling wonderful story from other cultures with I feel is very important. It is packed full of wonderful life skills/morals including believing in yourself, practice makes perfect and thinking before you act was just a few. This book should be in every school and library.  It will definitely be loved by all the children.  It is brilliant for girls and boys as the princess isn't a flowery one. We will definitely be looking out for more titles by this author and publishers.  I just can't recommend this book enough you will have to see it to believe it.
So much praise goes to the author and publishers for creating this stunning book for children to love and learn from.

The above review has already been placed on goodreads, waterstones, Google books, Barnes&noble, kobo, amazon UK and my blog

Under either of the following names ladyreading365, lady Reading365 or ladyc reading

Was this review helpful?

First of all : how badass Princess Makeda is!! I loved the illustrations and the story. The 9 laws of leadership placed in an incredible story is such a good way to teach and tell kids to believe in themselves without forgetting about the people they love most.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so dope. The graphics were beautiful and full of detail. Kudos to the graphic designer. I loved the message behind it. Makeda wanted to prove herself not only to herself, but to her father and her people by looking the serpent king.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: