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Top 5 children’s books set in Africa, chosen by Efua Traoré

The Nigerian-German children’s author and short story writer selects five books that bring the African continent to vivid life

1 Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini 

An absolutely adorable picture book with a mischievous giant chicken, a funny wood spirit, the famous Nigerian New Yam festival and beautiful masquerades.  

2 Jummy at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka 

Tales of Nigerian childhood light up this vibrant boarding school story. I was thrown back into my childhood by the fun, chants, midnight feasts and adventures. A joyful book about friendship, being loyal and fighting for what is right.  

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3 Children of the Benin Kingdom by Dinah Orji 

As a child who once lived in Benin city, I was fascinated by stories of the ancient Benin Kingdom. This insightful historical tale takes you on a thrilling journey to the 12th century, plunging you into culture, traditions and daily life of the ancient civilisation.  

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4 Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tola Okogwu 

The House of Shells by Efua Traoré is out now (Chicken House, £7.99)

This fantasy series set in a brilliant evocation of futuristic Nigeria tells the story of a girl who discovers superpowers in her afro hair. An empowering, action-filled story with lovable characters, fun friends and dark family secrets.  

5 Africa Amazing Africa by Atinuke, illustrated by Mouni Feddag 

I was delighted to discover this gorgeously illustrated book. Finally, instructive and enjoyable non-fiction for kids that does justice to the vivid diversity of Africa. This book picks out little special things in each country. Every page is a celebration.  

You can buy The House of Shells from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member.You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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