Children’s Africana Book Awards

Bocas LogoThe Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) are presented annually to the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S. The awards were created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa. The awards are presented in two categories: Young Children and Older Readers.

Also check out The Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) Festival


11 Books Honored in 2018

Best Book: Young Children (South Africa)

Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song
by Kathryn Erskine, Illustrated by Charly Palmer



Publication Date:
List Price: $18.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: x48
ISBN13: 9780374303013
Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Younger Readers (BYR)
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck

Book Description: 
Miriam Makeba, a Grammy Award winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid?a brutal system of segregation similar to American Jim Crow laws. Mama Africa, as they called her, raised her voice to help combat these injustices at jazz clubs in Johannesburg; in exile, at a rally beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and before the United Nations. Set defiantly in the present tense, this biography offers readers an intimate view of Makeba’s fight for equality. Kathryn Erskine’s call-and-response style text and Charly Palmer’s bold illustrations come together in a raw, riveting duet of protest song and praise poem. A testament to how a single voice helped to shake up the world?and can continue to do so.

Best Book: New Adults (Cameroon)

Behold the Dreamers: A Novel
by Imbolo Mbue



Publication Date:
List Price: $28.00 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: x400
ISBN13: 9780812998481
Imprint: Knopf
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC

Book Description: 

Imbolo Mbue’s The Longings of Jende Jonga one of two books to earn $1 Million+ advances at the Frankfurt Book Fair read more; “Frankfurt Book Fair 2014: Two Debuts Draw Seven Figures”

For fans of Americanah and The Lowland comes a debut novel about an immigrant couple striving to get ahead as the Great Recession hits home. With profound empathy, keen insight, and sly wit, Imbolo Mbue has written a compulsively readable story about marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at their summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ facades.

Then the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Desperate to keep Jende’s job, which grows more tenuous by the day, the Jongas try to protect the Edwardses from certain truths, even as their own marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Advance praise for Behold the Dreamers

“A beautiful novel about one African couple starting a new life in a new land, Behold the Dreamers will teach you as much about the promise and pitfalls of life in the United States as about the immigrants who come here in search of the so-called American dream.”—Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Enrique’s Journey



Best Book: Young Children (Ghana)

Grandma’s List
by Portia Dery



Publication Date:
List Price: $4.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Kindle eBook
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: x16
Imprint: African Bureau Stories
Publisher: African Bureau Stories
Parent Company: African Bureau Stories

Book Description: 

Fatima is determined to save the day. She wants to help Grandma with her to do list so that everyone will realize that she is a big girl now! But the errands don’t go exactly as expected…Fatima, what have you done?



Best Book: Older Readers (South Africa)

When Morning Comes
by Arushi Raina



Publication Date:
List Price: $18.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Library Binding
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: x232
ISBN13: 9781896580692
Imprint: Tradewind Books
Publisher: Tradewind Books
Parent Company: Tradewind Books

Book Description: 
Zanele is skipping school and secretly plotting against the apartheid government. The police can’t know. Her mother and sister can’t know.Her best friend Thabo, schoolboy turned gang member, can tell she’s up to something. But he has troubles of his own—a deal gone wrong and some powerful enemies.Across the bridge, in the wealthy white suburbs, Jack plans to spend his last days in Johannesburg burning miles on his beat-up Mustang—until he meets a girl with an unforgettable face from the simmering black township—Soweto.Working in her father’s shop, Meena finds a packet of banned pamphlets. They lead to a mysterious black girl with a secret, a dangerous gangster with an expensive taste in clothes, and an engaging white boy who drives a battered red car.A series of chance meetings changes everything.A chain of events is set in motion—a failed plot, a murdered teacher, and a secret movement of students that has spread across the township. And the students will rise.

Best Book: Young Children (Nigeria)

Baby Goes to Market
by Atinuke



Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: x32
ISBN13: 9780763695705
Imprint: Candlewick Press
Publisher: Walker Books
Parent Company: Walker Books

Book Description: 
Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers.

Market is very crowded.
Mama is very busy.
Baby is very curious.
When Baby and Mama go to the market, Baby is so adorable that the banana seller gives him six bananas. Baby eats one and puts five in the basket, but Mama doesn’t notice. As Mama and Baby wend their way through the stalls, cheeky Baby collects five oranges, four biscuits, three ears of sweet corn, two pieces of coconut . . . until Mama notices that her basket is getting very heavy! Poor Baby, she thinks, he must be very hungry by now! Rhythmic language, visual humor, and a bounty of delectable food make this a tale that is sure to whet little appetites for story time.

Honor Book: Young Children (Kenya)

The Wooden Camel
by Wanuri Kahiu



    Publication Date:
    List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Hardcover
    Classification: Children’s
    Page Count: x32
    ISBN13: 9781911373124
    Imprint: Lantana Publishing
    Publisher: Lantana Publishing
    Parent Company: Lantana Publishing

    Book Description: 
    Etabo dreams of being a camel racer. One day he might even beat his older brother when they race. But with the price of water rising, Etabo’s father must sell the camels, and his siblings must find work. What will Etabo do now? From acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Italian illustrator Manuela Adreani, this story of love and hope centers on the inspiring Turkana people of northwest Kenya. Told with gentleness and humor, it is a universal story about keeping one’s dreams alive.

    Honor Book: Young Children (Uganda)

    Sleep Well, Siba and Saba
    by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl



    Publication Date:
    List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Hardcover
    Classification: Children’s
    ISBN13: 9781911373094
    Imprint: Lantana Publishing
    Publisher: Lantana Publishing
    Parent Company: Lantana Publishing

    Book Description: 
    Forgetful sisters Siba and Saba are always losing something. Each night, they dream about the things they have lost that day. But one night, their dreams begin to reveal something entirely unexpected . . . .

    Honor Book: Older Readers (Nigeria)

    Akata Warrior
    by Nnedi Okorafor



    Publication Date:
    List Price: $18.99 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Hardcover
    Classification: Fiction
    Page Count: x496
    ISBN13: 9780670785612
    Imprint: Viking Books for Young Readers
    Publisher: Penguin Random House
    Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC

    Book Description: 
    The long-awaited sequel to the genre-breaking Akata Witch by multiple award-winner Nnedi Okorafor!

    “The most imaginative, gripping, enchanting fantasy novels I have ever read!” —Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Speak

    A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

    Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

    Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

    Honor Book: Older Readers (Ghana)

    Solo
    by Kwame Alexander



    Publication Date:
    List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Hardcover
    Classification: Children’s
    Page Count: x464
    ISBN13: 9780310761839
    Imprint: Blink Young Adult Books
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Parent Company: News Corporation

    Book Description: 

    From award-winning and New York Times and AALBC.com bestselling author Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, comes Solo, a YA novel written in poetic verse. Solo tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, who knows the life of a rock star isn’t really about the glitz and glamour. All the new cars and money in the world can’t make up for the scathing tabloid covers or the fact that his father is struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback and regain his former fame. Haunted by memories of his mother—who died when Blade was nine—and the ruin his father's washed-up legacy and life have brought to the family, Blade is left to figure out life on his own. But, he's not all alone: He's got the friendship of a jazz-musician mentor, Robert; the secret love of a girlfriend, Chapel; and his music. All may not be well in the Morrison home, but things are looking up for Blade, until he discovers a deeply protected family secret—one that further threatens his relationship with his family and has him questioning his own identity. Thrown into a tailspin, Blade decides the only way he will understand his past and begin his future is to find out the truth behind the music and himself. He soon sets out on a journey that will change everything he thought to be true. His quest lands him in Ghana, stuck in a village just shy of where answers to the secret can be found. There, Blade discovers a friendship he couldn't have imagined, a people founded in family and community, and a reconciliation he never expected.

    With his signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, Kwame Alexander explores what it means to finally come home.

    Solo features a stunning dust jacket with embossing and gloss.

    AALBC.com’s Founder, Troy Johnson says, “Get your copy today!”



    Notable Book: Older Readers (Uganda)

    Soldier Boy
    by Keely Hutton



      Publication Date:
      List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
      Format: Hardcover
      Classification: Children’s
      Page Count: x336
      ISBN13: 9780374305635
      Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Younger Readers (BYR)
      Publisher: Macmillan
      Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck

      Book Description: 
      An unforgettable novel based on the life of Ricky Richard Anywar, who at age fourteen was forced to fight as a soldier in the guerrilla army of notorious Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony

      Soldier Boy begins with the story of Ricky Richard Anywar, abducted in 1989 to fight with Joseph Kony’s rebel army in the Ugandan civil war (one of Africa’s longest running conflicts). Ricky is trained, armed, and forced to fight government soldiers alongside his brutal kidnappers, but never stops dreaming of escape. The story continues twenty years later, with a fictionalized character named Samuel, a boy deathly afraid of trusting anyone ever again. Samuel is representative of the thousands of child soldiers Ricky eventually helped rehabilitate as founder of the internationally acclaimed charity Friends of Orphans. Working closely with Ricky himself, debut author Keely Hutton has written an eye-opening book about a boy’s unbreakable spirit and indomitable courage in the face of unimaginable horror.This title has Common Core connections.

      Notable Book: Older Readers (Senegal)

      One Shadow on the Wall
      by Leah Henderson



      Publication Date:
      List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
      Format: Hardcover
      Classification: Children’s
      Page Count: x448
      ISBN13: 9781481462952
      Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
      Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
      Parent Company: CBS Corporation

      Book Description: 
      An orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

      Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined. With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?

      One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.