Okorafor, Nnedi. 2011. AKATA WITCH. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780670011964. [Suggested Grade Levels 6-8]
Twelve-year-old Sunny was born in the United States but her family has returned to Nigeria where she is treated as an outcast. Not only is she from the United States, but she is an albino who is mercilessly teased by the other children and is not allowed to join them in their soccer games as she must stay out of the sun. Things change when she discovers that she is one of the Leopard People, a secret group who can perform magic. She and her three new “friends” and fellow students are assigned mentors and given an assignment that could cost them their lives-- to find and stop a serial killer who murders children. This compelling read is an exciting blend of realism, fantasy, magic, and excitement as Sunny and her new friends face doubt and danger. Sunny’s age make this an appropriate middle school selection that can also be enjoyed by older readers.
Use this book as part of a social studies unit on myths of Africa. “Pull out” the myth, legend, and folklore in the novel and have students rewrite these tales and illustrate them as picture books.
Other books based on myth, legend, and folklore:
Barnhill, Kelly. THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK. ISBN 9780316056700
Farmer, Nancy. SEA OF TROLLS. ISBN 9780689867460
McKinley, Robin. PEGASUS. ISBN 9780399246777
By Janet Hilbun