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African writers for nine year old daughter

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Initial post: 6 Apr 2010 21:40:12 BDT
My daughter is 9 yrs old and loves reading. The pace of her reading has stepped up as she has gotten older.
She loves the Jacqueline Wilson books but I want to expose her to african writers as well as western writers.
I would appreciate a few recommendations.

Posted on 6 Apr 2010 22:29:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Apr 2010 23:03:39 BDT
i'm going to suggest a book by a black american writer of the harlem renaissance - Zora Neale Hurston - and the book is called "spunk".
its about a young girl in a poor southern town and her life and adventures.
the language is a joy and if should doesnt enjoy it now that she is nine she and you will love it in maybe a year or so.
i will also add the books of Rosa Guy, a jamaican writer, who is a kind of forerunner of jacqueline wilson but much warmer and has a real understanding of child/parent relationships. Rosa Guy isnt fashionable in schools these days but in my view the wilson fad has got a little bit out of hand to the detriment of classy authors like Rosa Guy.

Posted on 7 Apr 2010 20:09:16 BDT
Kyallu says:
Try An African Nights entertainment by Cyprian Ekwensi. I read it a very (VERY) long time ago but I think the language should not be beyond her particularly if she is a voracious reader! Faraway home is a wonderful book by Jane Kurtz who is not African but grew up in Ethiopia which is evocatively described in the book. You could also try for more recommendations.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2010 20:36:09 BDT
Thanks, Kyallu. I shall look up both recommendations.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2010 20:38:44 BDT
Thanks, Mr Hume. I shall check up on both authors.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2010 20:40:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2010 20:53:20 BDT
gilly8 says:
Hopefully I won't offend anyone here, BUT, I often see blogs on "what can I get for my daughter to read, it must be BY a woman writer and WITH a strong woman lead character"...paraphrasing.....I'm a woman, a feminist, etc, but that drives me crazy! And ditto kids being encouraged to read only (or mostly) books by/about their own ethnic group.

Yes, it good to know about one's history but right now you (and I) and your daughter are living in the Western culture, with all the history of that culture and the Christian religion (even if we are not believers) in our mindset and our background.

Has she read Alex Haley's "Roots"? It is of course set in the US and is the story of a multi-generational Black family, starting with the first of them to be stolen from Africa, and brought to the American south. It was a HUGE smash hit, and the TV mini-series, which came out in the 1970's, was one of the all time most watched shows by ALL Americans ever. .

However, Haley was later accused of a lot of plagarism, which the other author was able to prove---entire sections taken from his previously written books. Another "emperor's new clothes" sort of thing, was that at the end of the story Halley himself journeys to Africa to try to find the tribe his ancestor was stolen from. He is guided to a certain tribe, who in a very emotional scene, "sing" their history, and low and behold, the name of Halley's ancestor is there! Later on, tribe members said they arranged it all for pay.

That doesn't take anything away from the horrible situation of the Africans in Europe and the U.S....but, a good thing to inculcate in your daughter would be to take things that seem too good to be true w/ a grain of salt....not just buy into them.

You probably aren't interested---or I may be making a wrong assumption---in Alex McCall Smith's series set in Africa, even though he, a white man and a Scot, lived there much of his life and is highly aquainted with the culture. That, in a nutshell, is a problem w/ "the author has to be: Black, Female, native American....or whatever the PC thing may be.
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall Smith---first book in the African series, I think.Alexander Mccall Smith, 10 Books, RRP 73.90 (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Tears of the Giraffe, Morality for Beautiful Girls, The Kalahari Typing School for Men, The Full Cupboard of Life, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies...) (Alexander Mccall ... ( a collection of the African series).

In the search boxes above: I entered "books" in the left one and "Native African writers for children" in the right; and got many pages w/ nothing to do with any of the words in the (clunky, I know) search question. Eventually however I did get to many pages of "Junior African Writers" books, which by the covers of the books do appear to be about African themed stories, but depending on how precocious a reader your child is, they may be too "young" for her:


You can also go over to the U.S. Amazon: and look up the same types of subjects. Of course most books will related to pre- and post-slavery, the Civil rights movement and so on, nevertheless, may have some books of interest for her. Anyway, good luck and hopefully I didn't sound too harsh....I just think, as mentioned before, if there are books about the Irish or the Vikings or the Japanese, I'd encourage to read because after all, it is more and more "one world" and the more understanding a child has of it, the better.

Posted on 19 Apr 2010 16:29:42 BDT
@gilly8 - although a good suggestion, I fear Roots might be slightly heavy going for a nine year old!

if she hasn't already come across them, Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses Trilogy are extremely good - engaging reading for the target audience (11+) and generally highly recommended reading on school curriculums. it will give her exposure to racial issues but from a different perspective!

Noughts & Crosses: Book 1 (Part1 of Noughts & Crosses Trilogy)

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2010 23:37:51 BDT
@Bubblegum - many thanks for your recommendation. I have already started checking out Malorie Blackman's books.

@gilly8 - the books by Alexander McCall Smith are some of the books I am already considering.
I would rather not get into discussions on race in this forum as its not relevant to my request.
I am just a father trying to buy books for his daughter to read and enjoy.

Posted on 20 Apr 2010 15:47:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2010 15:49:19 BDT
Miura Anjin says:
If you can find them, the retelling of Ngoni folktales by Geraldene Elliott are absolutely wonderful and entranced me growing up in Malawi. I managed to find "The Long Grass Whispers", "Where the Leopard Passes" and another (can't remember) for my kids by searching secondhand bookshops online.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012 17:27:36 GMT
Galuppi says:
You may already be aware of Chinua Achebe's Chike and the River (1966), written for Nigerian children.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012 17:29:26 GMT
Galuppi says:
You may already be aware of Chinua Achebe's Chike and the River (1966), written for Nigerian children.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012 17:53:45 GMT
Thanks, Mak. I will take a look at this title.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012 19:42:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2012 21:14:20 GMT
monica says:
A. AKINYELE, I searched for books on this site by entering 'African folk tales', as I thought those might be most likely to please a 9-year-old, and came up with quite a few results. One that looks especially appealing, with some wonderful illustrations, is Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales. In fact, after having looked inside it, I'm thinking of putting it on my wish list.

Most of the fiction I read is from non-English-speaking countries, so I think it's great that you're trying to introduce your daughter to translated literature--God knows that not nearly enough adults consider reading foreign fiction.

gilly8, if you'd not been so eager to get on your soap box you might have taken the time to read OP, in which it's clear that Mr Ankele has not been confining his daughter's reading to one continent--and how absurd to think that one must read books produced by a particular 'mindset', whatever that is--and that he wasn't asking for literary scandals involving people of African descent. I'm a person of French descent living in Ireland: Had I asked a similar question, would you have jumped on me for taking my daughter out of Irish-speaking Roman Catholic 'mindset' by requesting children's books translated from French and then reminded me of the Dreyfus scandal?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2012 00:29:34 GMT
Bob Cremers says:
If factual books are an optiion, try Tim Butcher

Posted on 3 Feb 2012 17:15:35 GMT
C Allen says:
Have you looked at The White Giraffe series by Lauren St John - my son started reading them when he was nearly 8 and really enjoyed them.

Posted on 18 Feb 2012 18:44:22 GMT
Omar says:
She may like Coming To Astoria. Not African, but Middle Eastern. It's about the first four years after my family moved us from the Middle East to New York and covers my experiences from ages seven to eleven.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Mar 2012 16:56:45 GMT
I am annoyed by the first part of what you said, purely because you seem to have missed the point what 'pay'? The tribes were self sufficient. You HAVE offended me, just like I know native americans at a time were also slave owners I know every SOB who are the descendants of the guilty parties try to avoid, erase and reverse blame.
I am disappointed by your comments.
Your reply to ShandaT_Weisman's post:
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)

Posted on 13 Mar 2012 19:14:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Mar 2012 19:15:25 GMT
I read Call of the Wild; when I was about her age, that got me hooked on reading. Now at the age of 63 I'm writing books myself.

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 08:57:28 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
Mr Akinyele: You don't say a lot about the type of books your daughter likes at the moment, apart from Jacqueline Wilson, but it is great that you are encouraging her to read widely and to include African authors.
This one is a young adult, coming of age story rather than a children's book, but you might want to take a look at it.
Nervous Conditions
The language is not beyond an articulate nine-year-old, but some of the issues raised might be. I will assume that you will be able to talk to her about them if anything confuses or worries her.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2012 09:19:51 BDT
Hi Val, Thanks for your suggestion. I have added the book to my queue in amazon.
My daughter is now 11. She reads Jacqui Wilson, Rick Roirdan( The Percy Jackson Series), Juila Golding(The Cat Royal Series), Lauren St John(Leopard, Giraffe, Elephant and the other one)
and any other new author I think will interest her. She loves adventure stories and she is a fast reader. Once I realise she likes an author, I get her the entire series while searching for new authors. I am considering the number 1 ladies detective agancy by Alexander McCall Smith as I think she will love them. There are over 12 books in the series. I am also looking at the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
To everyone who has made a suggestion, I am grateful. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2012 20:26:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2012 20:28:11 BDT
monica says:
Your mentioning McCall Smith's book reminded me ofCollins Modern Classics - Harriet the Spy. The only reservation at all I'd have in recommending it for her is that it takes place in New York and I can't remember whether it's so American as to present difficulties to a British reader . . . it's a classic, though. And Harriet is 11 years old, I notice.

Posted on 20 Apr 2012 10:02:39 BDT
H. Gangata says:
You could this book a try. It is very good for children of a school going age.

The Fattened Lions on the Educational Odyssey


Posted on 6 May 2012 13:53:22 BDT
Lynette Fox says:
Your daughter is probably a little old for these now but I remember them as delightful books for children by the I think Ghanaian writer Meshak Asare - Sosu's Call and The Magic Goat - lovely illustrations too.

Posted on 7 May 2012 17:53:02 BDT
Freda says:
She could try the Lionboy / The Chase / The Truth Trilogy by Zizou Corder (Puffin Books) ( - the hero is an anglo/ghanaian child, who can speak to cats, and travels the world including to Morocco and West Africa. It's written by a English mother (ok, me) and anglo/ghanaian daughter team.
Also try the books by Sam Osman - Quicksilver

Good luck, and sorry for recommending my own book . . . . -

Posted on 21 May 2012 16:27:14 BDT
easytiger says:
My nine yr old african daughter's two favourite books are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mr Stink. Can you dig that?
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