*Books that include characters or people with Akan Day Names, (i.e. given by parents according to the day of the week on which the child is born).
Amanor, Vivian. Princess Abena and the Magic Plant.
Summary: A Ghanaian king’s only son is deathly ill. A maid in his palace knows of a possible cure and seeks to bring back a magical plant from a different, powerful kingdom. K-3
Angelou, Maya. Kofi and His Magic.
Summary: “Meet Kofi, a seven-year-old West African boy who learns how to weave by wiggling strings tied to his toes, “a little like riding a bicycle.” This is how he and his friends create the beautifully colored Kente cloth for which his town, Bonwire, is famous throughout the world. Kofi is not only a weaver, though; he is also a magician. By closing his eyes and opening his mind he calls on the magic of travel, visiting many places such as the Ashanti capital and northern Ghana; his school; the ocean; and a festival—a Durbar—where women priests and wise men draped in rich Kente and gold parade throughout the village. Maya Angelou’s lively, lyrical story tells of an engaging young boy whose imagination and streak of adventure are as wide as the ocean, and Margaret Courtney-Clarke’s vivid photographs capture daily life within and outside the community. Together, Angelou and Courtney-Clarke weave their story and photographs as deftly as Kofi and his friends do their beautiful Kente cloth.” Publisher. K-3
Christian, Angela. Akosua’s Gift..
Summary: Akosua, a young Ghanaian potter, makes a special gift for her sister’s wedding. To order: http://www.osuchildrenslibraryfund.ca/publications/book-order-form/. K-3
Perkins, Useni Eugene, Kwame Nkrumah’s Midnight Speech for Independence..
Summary: An introduction to the first African Prime Minster of Ghana and the concept of Pan Africanism. Kwame Nkrumah was a skilled orator and activist who was educated in Ghana and the United States. Nkrumah’s experience in America helped him understand how similar the plight of Africans and African Americans were. He returned to Ghana and used his words to communicate a pride in his country’s people and the belief that Africans can and should govern themselves. He worked with the United Gold Coast Convention to promote the message of sovereignty for Africans. Eventually his passion for independence pushed him to break away from the UGCC and form the Convention People’s Party. Nkrumah’s popularity as a speaker came to the notice of British politicians who then incarcerated him. Nevertheless, he continued to inspire the Ghanaian people and Ghana gained its independence from British rule in 1957. Perkins skillfully presents this story in an easily understood format. Freeman’s illustrations are a combination of a mixed media images and a deep color palette that lends a solemnity to the book. The illustrations also employ several sizing techniques to heighten the atmospheric quality of the story. For example, the Ghanaian flag is larger than the British flag, which points to Ghana’s independence and the importance of this occasion. K-6
Selasi, Taiye, Anansi and the Golden Pot.
Summary:”Kweku has grown up hearing stories about the mischievous spider Anansi. He is given the nickname Anansi by his father because of his similarly cheeky ways. On a holiday to visit his beloved Grandma in Ghana, Anansi the spider and Anansi the boy meet, and discover a magical pot that can be filled with whatever they want. Anansi fills it again and again with his favorite red-red stew, and eats so much that he feels sick. Will he learn to share this wonderful gift?”–Provided by publisher. K-3
Walker, Tricia Elam.. Nana Akua Goes to School.
Summary: Zura is worried about how her classmates will react to her Ghanaian Nana’s tattoos on Grandparents Day, but Nana finds a way to show how special and meaningful they are. K-3
Yabouza, Adrienne, The magic doll : a children’s book inspired by African art.
Summary: “In a small village in West Africa, a young girl explains the special way she was born. Her mother had difficulty getting pregnant, so she seeks help in the form of a doll which she treats like a human baby, carrying it on her back and covering it with kisses. Months go by and finally the woman’s belly begins to grow! This . . . story explores the Akua-Ba fertility figures of the Akan people of Ghana, while also depicting the deep love a mother has for her children”–OCLC. K-3
Soper, Dorothy Brown, We Are Akan : Our People and Our Kingdom in the Rainforest Ghana, 1807.
Summary:We are Akan is a beautifully told work of historical fiction about the Akan people of Ghana’s powerful Asante Kingdom. Set in 1807, the plot revolves around the lives and activities of three young boys aged 10-13. Kwame and Kwaku are members of the Akan elite while Baako is ‘odonko’- enslaved by Kwame’s father who is chief….Includes over 90 (copyright-free) drawings and include images of chiefs, the palace, and important artifacts….Especially useful for teachers. Elementary
Getz, Trevor R. Abina and the important men : a graphic history.
Summary: “Based on an 1876 court transcript and told in comic-book format, this book tells the story of a West African woman named Abina Mansah, who was wrongfully enslaved, escaped to British-controlled territory, and then took her former master to court.”–provided by publisher. Secondary
Hansen, Joyce. The Captive.
Summary: The carefree existence of narrator Kofi, the 12-year-old son of a West African Ashanti chief, is shattered when the family’s slave sells him to a slave trader in 1788. Recaptured after a brief escape, Kofi ends up in chains on a slaver bound for Boston. After a harrowing journey, during which most of the captives–children all–and much of the crew die, Kofi and his ailing friend Joseph are included in the bargain when Master Browne buys an English cabin boy’s contract for indentured servitude. Taken to Salem, Kofi learns to speak English (and to read, until Browne stops his wife’s teaching). The three boys labor from before dawn till after dark six days a week, enduring their Puritan master’s floggings and torturous hours of prayer. They run away during the election celebrations, when the “white men who have money and property vote for a new government to tax them and tell them what to do.” Pursued by Browne, they are taken in by Paul Cuffe, a historical African American Quaker sea captain, who argues successfully in court for the release of the two slaves to his care. Hansen’s ( The Gift-Giver ; Home Boy ) thoughtfully researched and eye-opening story offers a deeply moving, Afrocentric perspective on the brutal inequities of American life in the nation’s earliest, perhaps most idealistic years–and now. Ages 10-up.Publishers Weekly. Secondary
Herbstein, Manu Akosua and Osman.
Summary: Akosua Annan is a confident and fiercely intelligent student at a posh girls’ school in Cape Coast, Ghana. There she comes under the influence of a charismatic feminist teacher. Osman Said’s background is very different. Upon the death of his parents, a police sergeant and an unschooled market trader, immigrants to Accra from the North, he is adopted by a retired school teacher, Hajia Zainab. After a spell as an apprentice in an auto workshop, he returns to school. There, finding the teaching inadequate, he becomes an avid reader and educates himself. Akosua and Osman are thrown together by chance in the course of a school visit to the slave dungeon at Cape Coast Castle. Their paths cross again as finalists in the national school debating competition where the subject is “The problem of poverty in Ghana is insoluble.” They meet for the third time as students at the University of Ghana and as we leave them, it looks as if their relationship might develop into something permanent. Secondary
Herbstein, Manu, The Boy Who Spat in Sargrenti’s Eye.
Summary: 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. Secondary
Wolo, Mamle. The Kaya Girl.
Summary: “Fourteen-year-olds Abena and Faiza, girls from vastly different social worlds, cross paths in hectic Makola Market in Accra, Ghana, and forge a beautiful bond that changes the path of each of their lives”–. Secondary
Curated by Brenda Randolph. Africa Access 9/9/2022