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Check It Out: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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This is Kristina Yezdimer from the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.  

Today I’m going to recommend the spellbinding young adult fantasy novel Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. Marketed as the Nigerian Harry Potter, this book has several things in common with the boy wizard but has its own unique magical world based on African folklore. 12-year old Sunny, a black girl with albinism, is always an outsider. Raised in the United States by Nigerian parents, she didn’t fit in. When her family returns to Nigeria, she is called Akata, a derogatory term for an American of African heritage, and also a witch because of superstitions about her lack of skin pigment. Even her parents give her fewer freedoms than her two brothers because she is a girl, especially with a serial child killer nicknamed Black Hat in the local news.   

Sunny’s life takes on a new purpose after she sees a vision of the end of the world in a candle flame.  Strange neighbors help her to see that she is a Leopard Person, a magical being, who has a spirit face and innate powers. She is welcomed into the local magical community of Leopard Knocks, assigned a magic teacher and given twice weekly lessons with three other kids who soon become her best friends. Sunny develops her abilities and explores a new world where knowledge is valued more than material possessions and disabilities shape special magical talents. Sunny and her friends are being prepared to face a great challenge: to find and defeat Black Hat, who is a Leopard Person gone bad, and might bring about end times like Sunny’s vision.

Find Akata Witch, its sequel, Akata Warrior, and more books about finding the hidden power that lies within you at the Sioux City Public Library.   

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.