Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor
, 240 pages. Viking (Penguin), AUG 2020. $17
Language: PG (13 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (mild)
BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE
AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE
Nnamdi’s father was the chief of police in their small Nigerian town, until the day he was murdered. Nnamdi is sure that is was the Chief of Chief, the local head of all that is bad, but as a young boy, there is little he can do. Then one night he meets his father’s spirit, who gifts him with an Ikenga, an Igbo symbol of power. Through the Ikenga, Nnamdi seems to have the power to bring bad luck to the Chief’s lackeys. But even has Nnamdi helps his town, he also feels out of control – he may not yet be old enough to wield the full power of the Ikenga.
Nnamdi’s desperation to help his mother, avenge his father’s death, and loose the hold of the thieves on his town will resonate with readers who like magical realism and against-all-odds main characters.Okorafor brings a small part of Nigerian mythology to life and introduces readers to the present-day culture of the region at the same time. As a librarian, I think it is time for me to update my world mythology books, as with the proliferation of new books based on a wide variety of world mythology should spur a resurgence in kids wanting to learn more.
Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS