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Akata Witchby Nnedi Okorafor
Do you believe magic is confined to European witches and wizards? Welcome to Africa! When her family moves to Nigeria, Sunny learns she is one of the magical Leopard people with abilities and responsibilities that she never imagined.
"Young-adult fiction is influential; women and men often act out stories they read as teens. But try finding feminism in popular fantasies such as Stephenie Meyers' Twilight, or communities of color in Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter series. Nnedi Okorafor's books are a welcome contrast. The author of several award winning fantasies for young people and an acclaimed novel about rape, Okorafor writes strong heroines making magical journeys of discovery through culturally diverse landscapes." Nisi Shawl, Ms. Magazine (Read the entire Ms. Magazine review)
Synopses & Reviews
Read Nnedi Okorafor's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing-she is a "free agent," with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
"Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People — witches — and insist that she is, too. Soon Sunny discovers her spirit face ('It was her, but it felt as if it had its own separate identity, too. Her spirit face was the sun, all shiny gold and glowing with pointy rays'). Eventually, the three and an American boy named Sasha visit the dangerous, magical city of Leopard Knocks and learn from their mentors in witchcraft that they must destroy Black Hat Otokoto, a monstrous serial killer and powerful witch. Although a bit slow getting started, this tale is filled with marvels and is sure to appeal to teens whose interest in fantasy goes beyond dwarves and fairies. Ages 12 — up. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Nnedi Okorafor was born in America to Nigerian parents, and visits Africa frequently. Her many awards include the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. She and her daughter live in Olympia Fields, Illinois.
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