Over the next couple weeks, I will be reading Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor with the McLicious lady over at comp lit and mediaphilia. Earlier this month, Hannah challenged me to take a step out of my sci-fi and fantasy comfort zone and nibble on something different. Some discussion and haggling later, we settled on Okorafor’s 2011 J/YA fantasy-meets-magic-realism novel about American-born Sunny, a twelve-year-old whose family has moved back to Nigeria. Already facing the triple outsider jeopardy for being the new kid, an American, and albino, Sunny discovers that she might also be part of a secret society of people with latent magic powers. Oh, and there’s a killer on the loose, and Sunny has just seen the end of the world in a candle flame.
The last time I read a children’s book was circa January 2008, my freshman year of college. Over that bitter winter break, I read (and fell in love with) Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. After that, I was up to my ears in Modernist literature and 19th century Russian philosophy, with nary a moment to spare for anything unrelated.
As I was about to graduate, I discovered that a professor in my favorite department – Slavic Studies – was about to release a children’s book of her own in January 2012. Intriguing! How would this professor, with myriad scholarly articles to her name, transition to children’s literature? Naturally, I had to find out for myself. Continue reading