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If you're a fan of superhero stories in general, or Marvel stories in particular, check out Ikenga. This middle grade fantasy brings a fresh twist to the hero story that makes it fun and interesting. Nnamdi is the son of a police chief in a small city outside of Nigeria. When his father is murdered, Nnamdi will do anything to find the killer, but he's just a kid. What can he really do? The sudden appearance of a mysterious, ancient statue that gives Nnamdi the powers of a superhero changes everything. But, is this new power good or bad? Nnamdi will have to rely on the things his father taught him and his own heart (plus, a lot of help from his best friend) to figure it out.— Nicole
Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“This is a story that deals with heavy issues through the lens of a 12-year-old boy who lost his father and now seeks justice, superhero style. Preteens often get stuck between books that are too kiddy or too adult; without making it too ‘old’ for them, this walks the fine line of what someone this age is thinking and prepared to learn about. I love the respect Nnedi Okorafor gives kids by putting deep issues and thoughts into her books.”
— Kate Larson, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Nnedi Okorafor's acclaimed first novel for middle grade readers introduces a boy who can access super powers with the help of the magical Ikenga.
Nnamdi's father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers?
Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria.
About the Author
Nnedi Okorafor is the daughter of Nigerian-born (Igbo) parents. She grew up in the Chicago area, with frequent trips back to Nigeria. There she absorbed the history and mythology that infuse her works of science fiction and fantasy. She has received the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy Award, and the Locus Award for her work, and her fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. Ms. Okorafor holds a PhD in English. She lives with her daughter in the suburbs of Chicago.