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Children’s Africana Book Awards

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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


7 Books Honored in 2017


Best Book: Young Children

Gizo-Gizo: A Tale from the Zongo Lagoon 2016
by Emily Williamson



Publication Date:
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 36
ISBN13: 9789988860325
Imprint: African Books Collective
Publisher: African Books Collective
Parent Company: African Books Collective

Book Description: 

In Hausa culture, you always begin telling a story in the same way: The storyteller says, “Ga ta nan ga ta nanku!” “I am about to begin!” And the children respond, “Tazo Mujita!” “We are all ears!”

Using story as the primary learning, teaching and engagement tool, the Zongo Story Project strives to elevate proficiencies in oral, written, and visual forms of literacy; promote the knowledge building of local history, local culture and local contemporary concerns; and lay the crucial foundation for the acquisition of vital twenty-first century critical thinking skills. The conceptual framework for this project originated out of a larger, community-based initiative called the Zongo Water Project, whose mission is to use water as a way to improve the quality of life for the Zongo.

Working closely with local teachers, Emily Williamson carried out a series of educational workshops at the Hassaniyya Quranic School in the summers of 2012, 2013, and 2014 to teach students about local water and environmental concerns. Employing the story as the foundational element, Emily engaged students in dialogue, shared readings, performances, writing exercises, and visual art, culminating in community drama performances and original folktales. The illustrations and text of this book grew directly out of the work produced in these workshops.




Best Book: Young Children

The Storyteller
by Evan Turk



Publication Date:
List Price: $18.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 48
ISBN13: 9781481435185
Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation

Book Description: 
From Ezra Jack Keats 2015 New Illustrator Honor recipient Evan Turk comes his debut work as author-illustrator: an original folktale that celebrates the power of stories and storytelling.

Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the Kingdom of Morocco formed at the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains of cool, refreshing water to quench the thirst of the desert, and storytellers to bring the people together.

But as the kingdom grew, the people forgot the dangers of the desert, and they forgot about the storytellers, too. All but one young boy, who came to the Great Square for a drink and found something that quenched his thirst even better: wonderful stories. As he listened to the last storyteller recount the Endless Drought, and the Glorious Blue Water Bird, he discovered the power of a tale well told.

Acclaimed illustrator Evan Turk has created a stunning multidimensional story within a story that will captivate the imagination and inspire a new generation of young storytellers.


Best Book: Older Readers

Amagama Enkululeko! Words for Freedom
by Equal Education and Zakes Mda



Publication Date:
List Price: $30.00 (store prices may vary)
Format: Paperback
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 258
ISBN13: 9781928346357
Imprint: Cover2Cover Books
Publisher: Cover2Cover Books
Parent Company: Cover2Cover Books

Book Description: 
Amagama Enkululeko! Words for Freedom: Writing Life Under Apartheid is an anthology of short fiction, poetry, narrative journalism and extracts from novels and memoirs which frames local literature as a lens through which to engage with South Africa’s past. With a foreword by Zakes Mda, and a mixture of famous and seemingly forgotten struggle writers, this anthology of poetry and prose opens a window onto the ways ordinary, everyday life was shaped by the forces of history.


Honor Book: Older Readers

Aluta
by Adwoa Badoe



Publication Date:
List Price: $16.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 192
ISBN13: 9781554988167
Imprint: Groundwood Books
Publisher: Anansi Press
Parent Company: Anansi Press

Book Description: 
For eighteen-year-old Charlotte, university life is better than she’d ever dreamed — a sophisticated and generous roommate, the camaraderie of dorm living, parties, clubs and boyfriends. Most of all, Charlotte is exposed to new ideas, and in 1981 Ghana, this may be the most exciting and most dangerous — adventure of all.

At first Charlotte basks in her wonderful new freedom, especially being out of the watchful eye of her controlling and opinionated father. She suddenly finds herself with no shortage of male attention, including her charismatic political science professor, fellow student activist Banahene, and Asare, a wealthy oil broker who invites Charlotte to travel with him and showers her with expensive gifts, including a coveted passport.
But Ghana is fraught with a history of conflict. And in the middle of her freshman year, the government is overthrown, and three judges are abducted and murdered. As political forces try to mobilize students to advance their own agendas, Charlotte is drawn into the world of student politics. She’s good at it, she’s impassioned, and she’s in love with Banahene. “The struggle continues! Aluta! Aluta continua!” she shouts, rallying the crowd with the slogan of the oppressed. But her love of the spotlight puts her in the public eye. And when Asare entrusts her with a mysterious package of documents, she suddenly realizes she may be in real danger.

But it’s too late. As she is on her way to a meeting, Charlotte is picked up by national security, and her worst nightmares come true. And in the end, she must make a difficult and complicated decision about whether to leave her education, and her beloved Ghana, behind.

A heartfelt story told with uncompromising honesty, about what happens when youthful idealism meets the harsh realities of power.
A heartfelt story told with uncompromising honesty, about what happens when youthful idealism meets the harsh realities of power.


Honor Book: Older Readers

The Bitter Side of Sweet
by Tara Sullivan



Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 320
ISBN13: 9780399173073
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC

Book Description: 
For fans of Linda Sue Park and A Long Way Gone, two young boys must escape a life of slavery in modern-day Ivory Coast

Fifteen-year-old Amadou counts the things that matter. For two years what has mattered are the number of cacao pods he and his younger brother, Seydou, can chop down in a day. This number is very important. The higher the number the safer they are because the bosses won’t beat them. The higher the number the closer they are to paying off their debt and returning home to Moke and Auntie. Maybe. The problem is Amadou doesn’t know how much he and Seydou owe, and the bosses won’t tell him. The boys only wanted to make some money during the dry season to help their impoverished family. Instead they were tricked into forced labor on a plantation in the Ivory Coast; they spend day after day living on little food and harvesting beans in the hot sun—dangerous, backbreaking work. With no hope of escape, all they can do is try their best to stay alive—until Khadija comes into their lives.

She’s the first girl who’s ever come to camp, and she’s a wild thing. She fights bravely every day, attempting escape again and again, reminding Amadou what it means to be free. But finally, the bosses break her, and what happens next to the brother he has always tried to protect almost breaks Amadou. The old impulse to run is suddenly awakened. The three band together as family and try just once more to escape.

Tara Sullivan, the award-winning author of the astounding Golden Boy, delivers another powerful, riveting, and moving tale of children fighting to make a difference and be counted. Inspired by true-to-life events happening right now, The Bitter Side of Sweet is an exquisitely written tour de force not to be missed.


Honor Book: Older Readers

The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye
by Manu Herbstein



Publication Date:
List Price: $12.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Paperback
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 256
ISBN13: 9789988233044
Imprint: Manu Herbstein
Publisher: Manu Herbstein
Parent Company: Manu Herbstein

Book Description: 
Sargrenti is the name by which Major General Sir Garnet Wolseley, KCMG (1833 1913) is still known in the West African state of Ghana. Kofi Gyan, the 15-year old boy who spits in Sargrenti’s eye, is the nephew of the chief of Elmina, a town on the Atlantic coast of Ghana. On Christmas Day, 1871, Kofi’s godfather gives him a diary as a Christmas present and charges him with the task of keeping a personal record of the momentous events through which they are living. This novel is a transcription of Kofi’s diary. Elmina town has a long-standing relationship with the Castelo de S o Jorge da Mina, known today as Elmina Castle, built by the Portuguese in 1482 and captured from them by the Dutch in 1637. In April, 1872, the Dutch hand over the unprofitable castle to the British. The people of Elmina have not been consulted and resist the change. On June 13, 1873 British forces punish them by bombarding the town and destroying it. (It has never been rebuilt. The flat open ground where it once stood serves as a constant reminder of the savage power of Imperial Britain.) After the destruction of Elmina, Kofi moves to his mother’s family home in nearby Cape Coast, seat of the British colonial government, where Sargrenti is preparing to march inland and attack the independent Asante state. There Melton Prior, war artist of the London weekly news magazine, The Illustrated London News, offers Kofi a job as his assistant. This gives the lad an opportunity to observe at close quarters not only Prior but also the other war correspondents, Henry Morton Stanley and G. A. Henty. Kofi witnesses and experiences the trauma of a brutal war, a run-up to the formal colonialism which would be realized ten years later at the 1885 Berlin conference, where European powers drew lines on the map of Africa, dividing the territory up amongst themselves. On February 6, 1874, Sargrenti’s troops loot the palace of the Asante king, Kofi Karikari, and then blow up the stone building and set the city of Kumase on fire, razing it to the ground. Kofi’s story culminates in his angry response to the British auction of their loot in Cape Coast Castle. The loot includes the solid gold mask shown on the front cover of the novel. That mask continues to reside in the Wallace Collection in London. The invasion of Asante met with the enthusiastic approval of the British public, which elevated Wolseley to the status of a national hero. All the war correspondents and several military officers hastened to cash in on public sentiment by publishing books telling the story of their victory. In all of these, without exception, the coastal Fante feature as feckless and cowardly and the Asante as ruthless savages. The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye tells the story of these momentous events for the first time from an African point of view. It is told with irony and with occasional flashes of humor. The novel is illustrated with scans of seventy engravings first published in The Illustrated London News. This book won a Burt Award for African Literature which included the donation by the Ghana Book Trust of 3000 copies to school libraries in Ghana. In 2016, at the annual conference of the African Literature Association held in Atlanta, GA, it received the ALA’s Creative Book of the Year Award. Prof. Kwesi Kwaa Prah writes:“The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s War takes history out of the recesses of memory and obscurity, and expresses it in vivid and dazzling light.” The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye is a story for adults of all ages, both young adults and those no longer so young.


Notable: Older Readers

The World Beneath: A Novel
by Janice Warman



Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 176
ISBN13: 9780763678562
Imprint: Candlewick Press
Publisher: Walker Books
Parent Company: Walker Books

Book Description: 

At the height of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, a boy must face life decisions that test what he believes—and call for no turning back.

South Africa, 1976. Joshua lives with his mother in the maid’s room, in the backyard of their wealthy white employers’ house in the city by the sea. He doesn’t quite understand the events going on around him. But when he rescues a stranger and riots begin to sweep the country, Joshua has to face the world beneath—the world deep inside him—to make heartbreaking choices that will change his life forever. Genuine and quietly unflinching, this beautifully nuanced novel from a veteran journalist captures a child’s-eye view of the struggle that shaped a nation and riveted the world.







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Printed: September 23, 2017, 3:55 am
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