All posts by Ugo Anidi

About Ugo Anidi

I am a children’s literature enthusiast • Mad about all types of books for children. • Writer of stories for the 4-10 age group. • Mother of 3 voracious readers (listeners really)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole In The Sky

Title: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in The Sky

Author: Kwame Mbalia

Publisher:  Rick Riordan Presents

Number of pages: 528

Type of Book: Middle Grade, African, African Folktales, African American, Mythology.

Age: 8 – 12

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Strong-Punches-Hole-Novel/dp/1368042414/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Price: $ 8.99

MY SUMMARY

Seventh grader Tristan Strong is down in the dumps. He has just lost his best friend as well as his very first boxing match. His parents send him off to Alabama to spend a month with his grandparents to cool off. There, he literally punches a hole in the sky and falls through earth into another dimension and the adventure of a lifetime!

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: The world building, the setting and the characters particularly, the folktale heroes, Anansi!!!!, the 10” tall doll baby Gum Baby, the iron monsters, the haunted bone ships and the burning sea! I loved them! It’s an adventure story with some of my favourite Ms: magic and mythology. The specificity Mbalia uses to describe the setting is out of this world! The worldbuilding was extraordinary and I feel like this book is a good mentor text for writers on the subject of setting.

DOWN: A lot of description slowed the action down. Because life is what it is, the actual highlight of the novel was also its undoing. Oh my!!! The description was just too much. I feel like I was buried under a mountain of details. I have been trying to read this book for 8 weeks but I still haven’t made it halfway. It is unbelievably putdownable, in fact, 1 of 2 things happens each time I pick it up: I come up with something more interesting to do or I fall asleep. In summary, I still haven’t finished reading it but at this point, I honestly cannot. go. on. This will be the first time I am consciously abandoning a book halfway, I am sad and I really struggled to avoid this but …

RATING

🌟 🌟 🌟

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt (Chapter 1) here: https://www.readriordan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Tristan-Strong-Hole-in-Sky_pp1-33.pdf

CHALLENGE: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in The Sky

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Write a 300-word essay on any African God.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8 – 12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.*

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 15th 2021.

Next Book of the Week:

DADA ADE AND THE GOOD HAIR FAIRY by Vennessa Scholtz

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

*open to US residents only

Storystorm 2021 Registration is OPEN!

Story storm 2021!!! Yippee!!

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Every year when Storystorm rolls around, I like to pick a theme for this registration post.

This year’s theme will come as no surprise…

WE FINALLY MADE IT THROUGH 2020!

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Welcome to STORYSTORM 2021!

Four years ago I changed the name and month of my annual writing challenge, from Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) to STORYSTORM. Why? Answer’s here.

Although this challenge begun as a picture book writer’s event, any writer interested in brainstorming new story ideas in January is invited to join the STORYSTORM challenge of 30 ideas in 31 days. Any genre, any style; student, amateur, hobbyist, aspiring author or seasoned professional.

How does STORYSTORM work? It’s simple…

  • Register.
  • Read the daily posts on this blog, beginning January 1st.
  • Write down one (or more) story idea daily.
  • At the end of January if you have at least 30 new…

View original post 370 more words

Idia of the Benin Kingdom

Title: Idia of the Benin Kingdom

Author: Ekiuwa Aire; Illustrator: Alina Shabelnyk

Publisher: Our Ancestories

Number of pages: 40

Type of Book: Picture book, Fiction with elements of Non-Fiction

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: ;  https://our-ancestories.com/product/idia-of-the-benin-kingdom-childrens-book/ ; https://www.amazon.com/Idia-Benin-Kingdom-Ekiuwa-Aire/dp/1777117925/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Price: $17.99; $13.99

MY SUMMARY

Idia was an ordinary little girl who had an extraordinary dream about a brave female warrior with magical healing powers. Curious, she begged her father to teach her how to be a warrior and her mother to teach her the art of magic and medicine. Little did she know that she would become the brave warrior in her dream as well as the first Queen mother of the ancient Benin Kingdom. Read this story of perseverance and courage to learn about the history of one of Africa’s most illustrious queens.  

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I have read quite a bit on Queen Idia as I mentioned in an earlier post but I have never read a book about her childhood so I absolutely loved this one. The author used sprinkles of rhyme and repetition and lots of lyrical language to make this picture book a great read. Blending fact and fiction, she described the life – particularly the childhood – of Queen Idia with some detail and quite a bit of flair.  

One of my favourite paragraphs:

People buzzed with excitement in the center of the village. The Oba (King) was there. Hands slapped drums. Fires were started to cook the feast. Idia adjusted her beads and greeted all her friends.

The illustrations blew my mind. They are vibrant, detailed, apt, evocative and sublimely different from the norm, they truly gave life to the words and made the book shine!

I also loved the use of Edo words. The icing on the cake was the historical factsheet at the end of the book. I loved everything about this book and I would highly recommend it for lovers of Edo culture and their children. 😀

DOWN: None.

RATING

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read it for free via Kindle Unlimited.
  2. Register with http://eepurl.com/g8iB-D to receive a free digital copy of the Idia of the Benin Kingdom coloring and book.
  3. Watch a video trailer here:
  1. For more information about the book, visit https://our-ancestories.com/product/idia-of-the-benin-kingdom-childrens-book/

CHALLENGE: Idia of the Benin Kingdom

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw a warrior queen (4 – 6 year olds)
  2. Find four words which can be used to describe Idia in the crossword puzzle below (7 – 8 year olds)
QUEENMOTHERDX
VNOHGONDSAMAO
KSARESBENGENN
HBGRAYWKBLUCN
IHEALERTIONET
ODSJAAGKNRSRS
OCNKLEWALKSNA
LXSWARRIORPLF

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 13th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY by Kwame Mbalia

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

photo credit: amazon.com

The Greatest Animal in the Jungle

Title: The Greatest Animal in the Jungle

Author: Sope Martins

Publisher:  Farafina Tuuti

Number of pages: 28

Type of Book: Fiction, African, Folktale

Genre: Picture Book

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: https://farafinabooks.com/book?b=2029

Price: N1,000.

MY SUMMARY

Afuwe nearly gets eaten by an owl on his birthday!!! Naturally, he’s terrified and decides he doesn’t like being small. So when Tortoise gives him a magical birthday present which grants 5 wishes, his ultimate wish is to be the greatest animal in the jungle so he can be all powerful.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: It’s funny and action packed, 2 of my favourite ingredients in any book. Afuwe is such a lovable character and he is so relatable. Sope Martins is great with words and imagery. Afuwe’s fear when the owl chases him is so palpable. With a few words, Martins draws readers in, sucking us into Afuwe’s world so that we sweat with Afuwe in the beginning, and laugh with him at the end and she does this with less than 1000 words!

My kids love it!! B3 tries to read it every night. We laughed and laughed at Afuwe antics and I am sad because I really cannot share the joy this book gave us without putting up lots and lots of spoilers. Take it from us, this is a GREAT BOOK to give as a Christmas present!!

DOWN:  None

RATING

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

CHALLENGE: The Greatest Animal in the Jungle

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. The greatest animal in the jungle is the …
  2. Give 5 reasons for your answer.  

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 6th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

IDIA OF THE BENIN KINGDOM by Ekiuwa Aire

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Adventures of Obi and Titi: Queen Idia’s Mask

Title: The Adventures of Obi and Titi: Queen Idia’s Mask

Author: O. T Begho

Publisher:  Evolution Media

Number of pages: 120

Type of Book: Fiction, adventure, African

Genre: Chapter Book

Age: 8 – 12

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Obi-Titi-Queen-Idias/dp/0955496640

Price: $9.99

MY SUMMARY

This book is the fourth in a chapter book series about Ancient Africa. In this book, Obi and Titi must warn Queen Kehinde that she is in imminent danger but their plans are continuously thwarted by assassins. With the help of a masked rider who turns out to be a young girl named Idia (named after Queen Idia) and her mask which helps her see a few minutes into the future, Obi and the Titi must overcome the tyrant Ezomo and a giant man-eating spider to get to the Queen.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I struggled to find the highlights of this book because I was a bit offended by the disservice to Queen Idia. It was well-written and easy to read. It had some humourous bits and it does give a bit of insight into life in Ancient Yoruba land. It has all the makings of a good adventure series and would have been much better if it had left the African part out of it, rather than giving ambiguous information. It features a mini vocabulary list and another list of African facts.

DOWN: I struggled to get to the end of this book because I don’t know how to abandon a book halfway. I had bought this with the hope of adding to my research library on Queen Idia but I was sorely disappointed. First of all, Queen Idia was mentioned in about 8 out of 120 pages and the mask was a piece of wood with magical powers. I also feel like the facts were mixed up. Young readers will not be able to tell which bits of the story were fiction and which were nonfiction and the academic in me found that really stressful. There was a lot of telling and not enough showing but I guess I was particularly annoyed because I have a great deal of respect for Queen Idia and what the pendant mask represents and this book just basically trampled all over her. Matters came to a head when I found grammatical errors.

RATING

⭐️ ⭐️

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt here: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Obi-Titi-Queen-Idias/dp/0955496640 (use the Look Inside function)

CHALLENGE: The Adventures of Obi and Titi: Queen Idia’s Mask

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Write a 500-word essay on Queen Idia and the pendant mask.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8 – 12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 29th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

THE GREATEST ANIMAL IN THE JUNGLE by Sope Martins

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Beasts Made of Night

Title: Beasts Made of Night

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

Publisher:  Razorbill

Number of pages: 295

Type of Book: Fiction, adventure, fantasy

Genre: Young Adult

Age: 13+

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Beasts-Made-Night-Tochi-Onyebuchi/dp/0448493918/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Price: $9.99

MY SUMMARY

Taj is the most talented aki in Kos, the best sin-eater in a town where sins are murderous beasts – inisisa – that make sinners sick until they’re drawn out from their bodies by mages and eaten by akis, where sin beasts leave tattoos on the bodies of the aki and drive them to madness before they get to adulthood, where the aki are treated as outcasts in spite of the fact that people depend on them to live, where even the royals depend on the aki they despise to maintain the premium placed on purity. When Taj eats the King’s sin, he becomes involved in a sinister plot that changes his life and threatens to destroy all he holds dear.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: This book is a masterpiece. It packs a mean punch with adventure, magic, humour, tragedy, light romance, great pacing, world building and imagery, the use of sensory language, the use of Igbo 😀 , a pseudo Nigerian setting, all in one story. It is YA fantasy at its best. Compared to most books in the same genre, it is short and sweet. I got it because it came highly recommended as mentor text for a novel I’m working on. I love it because it didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, it surpassed expectations.

Tochi is gifted with writing amazing scenes. This gift is pronounced in the action scenes in the book. He uses sensory language and amazing pacing to create scenes which suck you in and make you feel like they’re unfolding right before your eyes. I cannot rave fully about this book without giving spoilers. Spoiler alert: The arashi’s appearance was nothing short of MAGNIFICENT! I had goosebumps! I put the book down, shouted, picked it up and continued reading. 😀

Then the ending, oh my God, the ending!!! It ended with a cliff hanger. He got me!

Finally, the absolute best part of all of this: There’s more to come! Crown of Thunder, the sequel is available online.  

Here’s a paragraph where we’re introduced to our very first sin-beast:

I don’t even hear the doors close behind me, because the sin-beast rears up and roars in my face. I stare up at a massive lion, one of the biggest I’ve seen. The inisisa is formed of shadows so dark that it seems to suck all the light out of the room, even taking the glow from the daga in my hand. Its claws, inky tendrils of black, click against the floor tiles as it settles back on its enormous haunches. Sin made into living, breathing flesh by dark magic.

DOWN: It had a bit of the sagging middle syndrome. There was a brief lull in the story somewhere in the middle (or should I say the beginning of the middle😀 where I found myself struggling to avoid skipping whole paragraphs. I eventually understood why that section was necessary but it was much slower than the other sections of the book.

RATING

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/545186/beasts-made-of-night-by-tochi-onyebuchi/9780448493916/excerpt

CHALLENGE: Beasts Made of Night 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Read the excerpt using the link above, then read the excerpt of Children of Blood and Bone in this post and compare the literary devices used by both writers.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 13+ age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 22nd 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

THE ADVENTURES OF OBI AND TITI: QUEEN IDIA’S MASK by O. T Begho

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Flashback Four: The Pompeii Disaster

Title: Flashback Four: The Pompeii Disaster 

Author: Dan Gutman

Publisher: Harper Collins

Number of pages: 235

Type of Book: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Historical, Adventure

Genre: Middle Grade (MG)

Age: 8 – 12

Buy it here: Twitter/Instagram: @Bookwormcafeng; https://www.amazon.com/Flashback-Four-3-Pompeii-Disaster/dp/0062374451/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=flashback+four+pompeii&qid=1604955382&sr=8-1

Price: N1500; $7.50

MY SUMMARY

In part three of the Flashback Four series, the four tweens travel back in time to AD 79 to take pictures of one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius aka, the day a huge volcano erupted and buried the Roman city of Pompeii in volcanic ash. What seems like a simple mission – dash into Pompeii, find a good spot, take a picture of the volcano, and dash back into the time machine to modern day New York – goes awry when the flashback 4 are kidnapped. The girls become slaves in a laundromat and the boys become gladiators in one of the first amphitheaters ever built, fighting hardened criminals and wild animals. They have one hour to escape captivity and make it out of Pompeii or become part of ancient history. Read the book to find out how it all plays out.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: This book was a first for me because it is a book of fiction with elements of nonfiction and I loved the blend of fiction and non-fiction. I loved the narrator’s voice, it was fun and cheeky and he spoke directly to the reader making it even more interesting. Finally, I love that I learnt a thousand and one things. I learnt about Pliny the Younger, the city of Pompeii and volcanoes. The book features a whole section on making a DIY volcano at home! Perfect science experiment for these homeschooling days!

I guess the ultimate highlight is that to celebrate my birthday and my love for history (it bothers on obsession really) my sister and I visited the Getty Villa in Malibu, California last year. The villa is a recreation of the Villa dei Papiri, one of the ancient Roman country homes destroyed during the Pompeii disaster. It was like walking through a time machine. It was really easy to imagine some of the scenes in this book because of the villa.

DOWN: Gosh, the book was about 50 pages too long and incredible slow-paced. These made it book very putdownable! When I read reviews of the series I was shocked to see words like ‘action-packed’, ‘fast-paced’. Ah! I was really confused. I mean, there was some action and a few cliff hangers but fast-paced? No! Long story short, it took 10 whole days to read the book and even at that, it was a struggle. (I read 500-page books in 2 days!) If I didn’t have to read it as mentor text and for the blog as well, I may never have finished reading the book. But hey, thumbs up for the nonfiction elements, they were out of this world. Check the trivia section out for some of the mind rocking ones.

RATING

* * * *

TRIVIA

  1. Romans used urine to wash their clothes. Yup, they soaked the clothes in tubs filled with old urine and had slaves step in them.
  2. The average male during the Roman Empire stood about five feet tall, i.e. the height of an average 13-year-old boy.

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Make a Volcano using the instructions on pages 50 – 54.

CHALLENGE: Flashback Four: The Pompeii Disaster 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Read Pliny the Younger’s letters on the Pompeii Disaster and write a short story about the disaster.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8 – 12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 15th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Good Egg

Title: The Good Egg

Author: Jory John; Illustrator: Pete Oswald

Publisher: HarperCollins

Number of pages: 40

Type of Book: Picture book, Fiction

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Egg-Jory-John/dp/B0817JDTLL/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Price: $9.75

MY SUMMARY

This is a funny and insightful tale about the importance of self-care and taking things easy. The verrrrrry good egg likes for everything and everyone to be perfect. She (I liked to think of the egg as female, just because I am partial to female characters😀 ) is always ready to help anyone and everyone, she specifically says ‘… if you need any help whatsoever, I’m your egg.’ She also cleans up after her housemates who she describes as ‘not-good’ eggs because they ignore bedtime, throw tantrums, cry for no reason and eat sugary cereals (typical toddlers). Of course, she’s really exhausted every night and eventually, she starts cracking up, literally. Read the book to find out how the good egg deals with the problem of being ‘too good’

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: It tickled my funny bone, I loved it. The word play was hilarious: ‘Egg was cracking up’, ‘egg’s head felt scrambled’, names of the other eggs: Meg, Sheldon, Frank😀 The illustrations were particularly funny and charming. The eggs were really cute and expressive. I really loved the good egg’s huge round frames. I loved the page where the egg was sick and took IV fluids labelled ‘yolk’❤️ I think Pete Oswald did a fantastic job with the illustrations. In fact, the two, John and Oswald make a perfect match. They have worked together on several great books: The Couch Potato, The Bad Seed. (Check them out too)

I loved the universal themes of the book: It’s OK to not be perfect; we need to be as good to ourselves as we are to others; we need to take things easy and we need to take time off to cool off when things get too much.

Finally, I love that even though it’s a book for kids (a picture book) it really is wonderful for adults as well.

DOWN: None.

RATING

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Watch a read-aloud video here:

CHALLENGE: The Good Egg

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw an angry egg, a happy egg and a sad egg (4 – 6 year olds)
  • Find four things the good egg did to ‘relax’ in the crossword puzzle below (7 – 8 year olds)
ZDCYPAINTGJBX
VNOHGONDSAMNO
KSARESBENGEDN
HBGRAYWKBLUAN
IMEDITATIONET
ODSJAAGKNRSRS
OCNKLEWALKSNA
LXSBAELPGUPLF

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 25th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

QUEEN IDIA OF BENIN by 234 Express

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

photo credit: amazon.com

Too Small Tola

Title: Too Small Tola


Author: Atinuke

Publisher: Walker Books

Number of pages: 96

Type of Book: Fiction; African; Contemporary

Age: 7+

Available here: @thebookwormcafebookstore on Instagram; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Small-Tola-Atinuke/dp/1406388912/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=too+small+tola&qid=1602613660&sr=8-1

Price: N2000; GBP 5.29

MY SUMMARY
This is a book of 3 stories which feature tiny Tola who lives in the slums of Lagos with her grandmother and siblings. In all 3 stories, where she battles with power outage, lack of water, helping Abdul the tailor and going shopping at the famous Mile 12 Market, Tola shows her family and friends that even though she’s small, she’s mighty.


THUMBS UP AND DOWN
UP: I absolutely absolutely loved the illustrations by Onyinye Iwu. They were the major highlight. Vibrant and apt, they complemented the story perfectly and brought the characters to life. They would have been even more wonderful if they were coloured.

The stories were delightful. I loved the fact they give readers a sneak peak into life in Lagos, especially, the hustle and bustle of daily life. I loved the reference to kerosene lanterns, battling with electricity, fetching water with jerry cans and of course, the famous Mile12 Market. I particularly liked the bit about Tola’s Grandma’s earrings which were left to her by her own grandmother (Tola’s great great grandmother). It made me smile.

One line that made me laugh was the description of one of Tola’s neighbours: ‘ … as tough as stockfish.’ 😀

DOWN: The stories were a bit flat, in the sense that they lacked ‘engaging’ conflict. Basically, the book is quite ‘putdownable’ and may not win the fight against TVs and tablets.

In a few places, the book reads like it was written by a non-Nigerian. Phrases like ‘Okada taxi’ irked me.

RATING
🌟 🌟 🌟

CHALLENGE: TOO SMALL TOLA
CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Describe your street using all your five senses. (7 – 9 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 7 – 9 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book. Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, October 18th 2020.


Next Book of the Week:

THE GOOD EGG by Jory John

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sulwe

Title: Sulwe 

Author: Lupita Nyong’o Illustrator: Vashti Harrison

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 48

Type of Book: Fiction; African, Magical Realism, Folktale 

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it herehttps://rhbooks.com.ng/product/sulwe-by-lupita-nyongo-and-vashti-harrison/https://www.amazon.com/Sulwe-Lupita-Nyongo/dp/1534425365

Price: N4000; $11.78

MY SUMMARY

Little Sulwe’s skin is as dark as midnight. She is the darkest member of her family and the darkest child in school. This makes her very sad. Slew desperately wants to be bright and beautiful like her sister Mich, whose skin is the colour of high noon. She wants to be light-skinned so she’ll be loved and accepted and make new friends.

So, Sulwe tries to lighten her skin. She eats bright foods, tries to rub her skin off, and even applies her mum’s makeup but nothing works. Poor Sulwe stays sad until one night, she goes on a magical journey that shows her that she’s beautiful, just the way she is. 

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP:The art. I am a lover of Vashti Harrison’s art and as usual, she outdid herself. She brought Sulwe to life with vibrant illustrations. 

I love the story-within-a-story structure. The folktale within the story adds a magical element to the story and makes it even more entertaining.

I like that there are so many teaching opportunities in this story. My kids and I had a whole discussion about the way God answers prayers; because they wanted to know why God didn’t answer Sulwe’s prayer.  

I love the premise of the story. In Lupita’s words, “Sulwe holds up a mirror for dark-skinned children.” I love that Sulwe’s story deals with the universal human need to be loved and accepted while staying true to one’s self in a very child-friendly manner. 

It’s a heartwarming story, it builds confidence and it’s quite entertaining. I loved every bit of it, my boys loved it too. We’ve read it countless times and we highly recommend it. 

DOWN: None.

RATING

* * * * *

TRIVIA

  1. Sulwe is Academy Award-Winning Actress, Lupita Nyongo’s, debut children’s book. 
  2. Like Sulwe, Lupita was teased and taunted in school because of her dark skin. 

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt here: https://www.amazon.com/Sulwe-Lupita-Nyongo/dp/1534425365  (Click on the look inside feature on the amazon website)
  2. Download some fun exercises here: https://d28hgpri8am2if.cloudfront.net/tagged_assets/5367491/9781534425361_cg_sulwe%20curriculum%20guide.pdf

CHALLENGE: Sulwe

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

Read the excerpt and answer the questions below:

  1. List 4 things Sulwe did to become light-skinned (4 – 6 year olds)
  2. Write a 100-word essay. Topic: What does real beauty mean to you? (7 – 8 year olds)

OR

3. Sulwe wants to be light-skinned, so that she can make friends like her light-skinned sister. If Sulwe were your sister, what advice would you give her? (7 – 8 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, October 4th2020.

Next Book of the Week:

TOO SMALL TOLA by Atinuke

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.