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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Adore Aya!

((  Written By:  Nani Hapa )) may be well into my twenties, but that doesn't mean that I still don't have a special place in my heart for a good girly soap opera of a story, and Aya written by Marguerite Abouet (who was born and raised in the Ivory Coast) and illustrated by Clément Oubrerie doesn't disappoint.

Aya tells the story of the studious and clear-sighted nineteen-year-old Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their colorful relatives and neighbors who live in the Ivory Coast in the 1970s. It's a breezy and wryly funny account of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City. Filled with universal stories about love, life, family and friendship, Aya is the book I wish I had to read when I was in my teens ... instead I read Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club (nothing wrong with that).

Besides sharing beautiful stories and illustrations, the Aya book series also offers a peek into Ivorian (and more generally Africa) culture, complete with recipes, glossaries, and wardrobe instructions for turning one’s pagne (a brightly colored fabric) into a skirt, headwrap or baby carrier.

If you can get over the fact that it is illustrated (first, it would be going too far to call it a comic book, it's really a graphic novel ... ahem; second, how many times can you support a story about a black female animated protagonist?), I highly recommend this fun and entertaining read! And bonus points—if you know a female African teen, this is a fun book to read with her (I know I'm definitely the coolest of the older female cousins for sharing this book with my younger cousins ;)).

((  Photo Credits:  Book Cover Art  ))


pesa_tu said...

I think francophone africa was miles ahead of us anglophones(literarywise in the 70s+early 80s). Remembering reading a teen magazine Balafon? based somewhere in francophone africa and feeling it was the best.

Maybe its something to do with french appreciation of the literary cultures.

Riziki said...

I can't contain my excitement about this series and ordered a copy from Amazon today. Nani, I also read the babysitters club when I was growing up LOL!

eva said...

this series is known in France. c'est mignon. nani, what else are you reading?

Dede said...

I too wish I had a book like this when I was younger, but at least I can share it with my daughters. Maendelo!

MIMI Magazine said...

It's Nani Hapa ... Riziki, you won't be disappointed with Aya. Eva, I've been pretty bad with keeping up with new books. The last book that I read before this was Coconut ( which was a LONG time ago. The book is good, but it's not great (does that make sense?). Right now I'm in the middle of reading Aisha Tyler's Swerve, which is very funny so far. I'll do a blog post about it when I finish it!

Aw, Dede, you made my day with your comment!

Luv ya all!

islandgirl said...

aw, this is so cute. love to see something so positive.