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 ))