Lending Library: High School

Abina and the important men: A graphic history

Author: Getz, R. Trevor and Clarke, Liz (2016)
Type: Graphic novel
Illustrations: Some
Description: Abina and the Important Men is a compelling and powerfully illustrated “graphic history” based on an 1876 court transcript of a West African woman named Abina, who was wrongfully enslaved and took her case to court. The book is a micro-history that does much more than simply depict an event in the past; it uses the power of illustration to convey important themes in world history and to reveal the processes by which history is made. Following the graphic history in Part I, Parts II-V provide detailed historical context for the story, a reading guide that reconstructs and deconstructs the methods used to interpret the story, and strategies for using Abina in various classroom settings. ©Author

A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier

Author: Beah, Ishmael (2007)
Type: Autobiography
Description: This memoir offers an inside view of how lives are transformed when war sweeps through a country. Beah was living an ordinary life in a loving community with no personal knowledge of armed conflict. The only wars he knew of were those he heard about on the BBC, read of in books or saw in movies like Rambo. When war found Beah, he was traveling to a nearby community to perform rap music in a talent show. He and the other members of his group were abducted and forced to fight alongside other young teens in the government’s army. Beah details the difficult situation that the child soldiers face when released from the army, their homes destroyed and family members dead or missing. At fifteen Beah was selected to represent the children of Sierra Leone at a United Nations conference on children in conflicted countries. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Aya of Yop City

Oubrerie, M. Abouet; Oubrerie (Author), Clement (illus.); Dascher, Helge (Translator)

Type: Graphic novel
Illustrations: Yes
Description: Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the studious and clear-sighted Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It’s a breezy and wryly funny account of the desire for joy and freedom, and of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City. An unpretentious and gently humorous story of an Africa we rarely see-spirited, hopeful, and resilient–Aya won the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Clément Oubrerie’s warm colors and energetic, playful lines connect expressively with Marguerite Abouet’s vibrant writing.  © Africa Access

Baking cakes in Kigali

Author: Parkin, Gaile (2010)
Type: Novel
Description: Set in an international apartment complex in Rwanda, heroine Angel Tungararza has moved from Tanzania with her husband, Pius, who’s taken a job at the local university; before long, she develops a reputation as a masterful baker and a sagacious friend. Though haunted by the deaths of her grown daughter and son, Angel plunges back into motherhood, caring for her five grandchildren, tending to Pius, baking cakes and dispensing advice. Meanwhile, the sour undercurrents of AIDS and genocide play quiet but instrumental parts in shaping Angel’s world. © Africa Access

Black Dove White Raven

Author: Wein, Elizabeth (2015)
Type: Novel
Description: Emilia and Teo’s lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo’s mother died immediately, but Em’s survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother’s wishes-in a place where he won’t be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won’t be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.© Author

Global health narratives: A reader for youth

Mendhall, Emily (Editor), Hannah Adams (Illustrator), Kate Winskell (Foreword)

Description: A young boy suffering from epilepsy in Nepal seeks treatment from traditional healers and western medicine. A young girl in a Tijuana slum observes the role pollution plays in the health of her community. A teenager in Atlanta is the only member of his family not infected with HIV and is learning to deal with the stigma of the disease.

This collection of unique narratives told from the perspectives of young people from around the world serves as a valuable educational tool, providing youth with a context for understanding global health, not just in a physiological sense, but from psychological and sociological perspectives as well. Representing six geographical regions and twenty-three countries, these stories address chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy; infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid; and mental and behavioral health issues such as depression, eating disorders, and smoking cessation. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Mountains beyond mountains

Author: Kidder, Tracy and adapted for young people by Michael French

Description: An adaption of the adult book of the same name (published in 2002) looks at Dr. Paul Farmer’s work providing health care for impoverished people in Haiti and other parts of the world. Farmer’s work, rooted in compassion, is fascinating from scientific, social, and ethical perspectives.  Treating patients there, he realized the need for systems to address global inequities in health care. It’s not enough to treat diseases like multi-drug-resistant TB while ignoring the poverty and other conditions that contribute to them. Troubling, challenging, thorny questions and arguments for and against different courses of action are part of his work with patients and with policy alike. The scope of his impact extends from the lives of the people he’s treated to those affected by policies he’s helped develop. It may also extend to young readers moved by his fierce commitment to preserving health and human dignity. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Segu: A Novel

Author: Conde, Maryse (1998)
Type: Historical novel
Illustrations: Maps, family tree
Description: Segu follows the life of Dousika Traore, the king’s most trusted advisor, and his four sons, whose fates embody the forces tearing at the fabric of the nation. There is Tiekoro, who renounces his people’s religion and embraces Islam; Siga, who defends tradition, but becomes a merchant; Naba, who is kidnapped by slave traders; and Malobali, who becomes a mercenary and halfhearted Christian.

Based on actual events, Segu transports the reader to a fascinating time in history, capturing the earthy spirituality, religious fervor, and violent nature of a people and a growing nation trying to cope with jihads, national rivalries, racism, amid the vagaries of commerce.  © Africa Access

The sacred door and other stories

Author: Makuchi (2008)
Description: Makuchi shares the oral narratives from her childhood in Cameroon, infusing them with riddles, songs, proverbs, myths and legends. The 33 tales in this book cover universal themes, but acknowledge the differences between human cultures.

Things fall apart

Author: Chinua Achebe (1958)
Type: Novel
Description: Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.  © Africa Access

To my children’s children

Author: Sindiwe Magona (2006)
Type: Autobiography
Description: This is powerful and widely acclaimed autobiography that provides a vivid, personal snapshot of what it was like to grow up under apartheid in South Africa. Her life exemplifies the challenges and defeats as well as the power of personal courage and determination as this book introduces readers to her early years as a child, and later as a student, a teacher, a domestic worker and a single mother.  © Africa Access

Unbowed: A Memoir

Author: Wangari Maathai (2007)
Type: Autobiography
Description: In Unbowed, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage. When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, she began a vital poor people’s environmental movement, focused on the empowerment of women that soon spread across Africa. Persevering through run-ins with the Kenyan government and personal losses, and jailed and beaten on numerous occasions, Maathai continued to fight tirelessly to save Kenya’s forests and to restore democracy to her beloved country. Infused with her unique luminosity of spirit, Wangari Maathai’s remarkable story of courage, faith, and the power of persistence is destined to inspire generations to come.  © Africa Access

What is the what?

Author: Eggers, Dave (2007)
Type: Fictionalized biography
Description: The heartrending but remarkable story of one of Sudan’s Lost Boys. It is a somewhat fictionalized version of the life of a real lost boy, Valentino Achak Deng. He eventually made it to the U.S., finding that the U.S. offered its own obstacles and problems for immigrants.

Yoruba girl dancing

Author: Bedford, Simi (1991)
Type: Young-adult novel
Description: This book is a coming-of-age story about Remi whose life growing up in Nigeria is a celebration of love and family, eccentricity and old ritual. She feels confident in her privilege and grounded in the heart of her culture. But when she turns six, as if by some awful spell, she is sent away to a boarding school in England where she must learn to navigate her race and culture among strangers and figure out who she really is.  © Africa Access