Tag Archives: juba and the fireball

30 Tips for Writing Delightful Children’s Books Day 3


Let’s talk about genres. Children’s books have been divided into so many genres and categories that it is so hard to keep up. But here are the major ones.

NB: This post features children’s books by Nigerian authors.


Picture Books

Heavily illustrated; ages 3 – 8; 100 – 1000 words

Greatest Animal in the Jungle by Sope Martins

Juba and the Fireball by Yejide Kilanko

Mayowa and the Masquerades by Lola Shoneyin

Early Chapter Books

Illustrated; ages 4/5 – 8; 1000 – 3000 words

Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

Feyi Fay and the Mysterious Madam Koi Koi by Simisayo Brownstone

Chapter books

Few Illustrations; ages 6 – 9; 5000 – 20,000 words

Mafoya and the Finish Line by Ayo Oyeku

No 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

Middle Grade:

Rarely illustrated; ages 8 – 12; 25,000 – 50,000

A-Files by Victoria Afe Inegbedion

Akata Witch/What Sunny Saw in the Flames by Nnedi Okoroafor

Mirror on the Wall by Jesutofunmi Fekoya

Young Adult

Almost never illustrated; ages 13+ ; 40,000 – 100,000 words

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Other genres:

Concept Books

Diary of a Toddler by Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi

A Fun ABC by Sade Fadipe


Mouth Almighty by Salihah Agbaje

Graphic Novels

Anike Eleko by Sandra Joubeaud and Alaba Onajin


1897: Okiojo’s Chronicles Series


My Nigeria, Peoples, Places and Culture by Constance Omawumi Kola-Lawal

Social Justice Books

Eno’s Story by Ayodele Olofintuade

The Red Transistor Radio by Fatima Akilu



Ginika’s Adventures by Nnenna Ochiche

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


Illesanmi Twins Series. Book #1 Mystery at Ebenezer Lodge by Dunni Olatunde

Half Hour Hara Series. Book #1 The Case of the Broken Eggs by Ugo Anidi

Science Fiction

Zahra the Windseeker by Nnedi Okoroafor


Folktales are Forever by Efe Farinre


Idia of the Benin kingdom by Ekiuwa Aire

Please note: This list is by no means exhaustive!

  1. Action: Get a library subscription

Try Bookworm Café. This outfit specializes only in children’s books and its Director is a children’s literature connoisseur.

Try ZODML, Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries too!


Be like me, buy every single book on this list … AND MORE 😊

2. Read.

Read 2 to 3 books in each genre to determine which one appeals to you😊

Then when you find your niche, read as many books as possible in that genre. Good luck!

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*post on nonfiction coming soon

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Juba and the Fireball

Title: Juba and the Fireball

Author: Yejide Kilanko

Publisher: Narrative Landscape Press; Ayoka Books

Number of pages: 35

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 4 – 8

Available here: https://narrativelandscape.com/product/juba-and-the-fireball/ ; https://www.konga.com/product/juba-and-the-fireball-by-yejide-kilanko-5096161; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Juba-Fireball-Yejide-Kilanko/dp/1999292073 

Price: N2000, N2000; 9GBP


‘Anger burns like fire. If you don’t control the flames, they will consume you.’

Juba has a terrible temper. He constantly gets in fights, breaks precious things and makes his mum sad. Will he learn to overcome his anger or will it consume him?

Juba and the Fireball is a warm and delightful tale about a little boy’s struggle with anger, personified as a fireball that lives in his stomach.


UP: I absolutely loved the illustration of the fireball. I was thrilled to pieces by the stories Juba’s dad told him and the way he told them and the relationship between his parents. Kilanko has a way with emotions. Again, as she did with “There Is An Elephant In My Wardrobe”, Kilanko breaks down a difficult emotion that many children struggle with and proposes a successful and mindful way of dealing with it. She also helps parents understand what children go through when they are consumed by anger. Her dialogue is realistic. I found myself laughing on the first page at the exchange between Juba and his mother. They could have been my son and I. J

Juba’s father is one of the highlights of this book for me. One of my favourite lines from the book was his:

“When people give us the gift of their forgiveness,

we honour it with changed behaviour”

He reminds me very much of my grandfather. He is a sage and he doles out nuggets of wisdom through proverbs and stories. This book also features the story within a story structure and several poetic devices which make it lyrical. The alliterative ‘s’ sound is a common feature throughout the book. It is definitely a must-read for children. More and more books which discuss negative emotions and how to overcome them must be made for children. Kilanko does a great service to humanity with her books.  

DOWN: None


4 stars


  1. Ask your child to tell you three things they can do to calm down when they are angry. Brainstorm some good ideas: reading, exercising, counting breaths, singing, etc.


  1. Help your child cope with anger: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/children-and-young-adults/advice-for-parents/help-your-child-with-anger-issues/

CHALLENGE: Juba and the Fireball


  1. Write a short story about a time when you were ngry and how you overcame it. (100 words)

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, July 2nd  2021 

Next Book of the Week:

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

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photo credit: narrativelandscape press

The Secret of the Purple Lake

Title: The Secret of the Purple Lake

Author: Yaba Badoe

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press, 2017

Number of pages: 122

Type of Book: Short stories, fiction, adventure, myths and legend.

Genre: Middle Grade

Age: 8 – 12

Buy it here: The Bookworm Café; https://cassavarepublic.biz/product/the-secret-of-the-purple-lake/ ; https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Purple-Lake-Yaba-Badoe/dp/1911115316   

Price: N1800, N1500; $3.99


The Secret of the Purple Lake is a collection of five interwoven, wildly adventurous stories set in the roaring seas and disappearing castles of Africa and Europe (think Ghana, Spain) and featuring characters with mythical origins and magical powers. It begins with the story of Ajuba, a young girl in Ghana who must undertake a perilous journey under the sea to recover her dead father’s bones and bring them home.


UP: This was a very exciting read for me for many reasons. First of all, I am a fan of stories with magic and adventure. Two, I had never read a short story collection quite like it. The craft element I found really appealing was the weaving together of several stories and this was not done in the form of parallel stories but using stories that happened through the span of two centuries. The major highlight was trying to discover how the stories were linked. Other highlights included the story of the fish-man, a scary creature with the body of a man and the head of a fish, Imoro the magic elephant, the walrus prince and of course, the Eagle-Queen. The characters are immediately likeable or totally despicable. I also absolutely loved the use of lyrical language.

‘Flying within the clouds is like dancing on vapour and gliding above them feels like kissing the Sun.’”

DOWN:  When I picked it up, I assumed it was a middle grade adventure (that is, one story and not a collection of stories) so when I started reading the first story, I felt cheated many times because I felt the writer was in a hurry and therefore wasted the opportunity to clearly describe things to me in a way that would make me connect more to her story. By the time I got to the end of the first story I was a bit puzzled, I felt like I had just read the outline of a middle grade adventure rather than a full-fledged short story.


🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟


  1. Watch the author read from the book here:

CHALLENGE: The Secret of the Purple Lake


  1. Write three interwoven stories.  (500 words each)

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, June 27th 2021.

Next Book of the Week:


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