Top five YA books from Africa

Hey world,

Throughout my blog posts, I have realized something; I’m incredibly selfish! Although all my blog posts differed in terms of content, they all related to one topic; MY books. And yeah I know, this is my website so it would make sense that I write about my work. But it makes it seem that I spend all my time on my books, which is far from the case (contrary to popular belief, authors do in fact, go outside once in awhile). Like most authors, I’m a reader before a writer. Whether it be books, comics, news articles, billboards, reading is the innate thing that powers the creative juices in our brain to make our own stories. And in this day and age, they are more than plenty of material to get inspired from.

With that being said, here is my top ten coming of age YA books from my home continent, AFRICA.

DISCLAIMER: This is obviously my opinion so don’t get testy in the comments. But feel free to dish your own list.

5. Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Ok, I’m kinda cheating with this one since it isn’t from an Africa author. But the main reason why I included this book is that unlike the rest of the entry, Red Pencil is based on the real events that transpired the life of 12 year old Amira. A young girl native to the Darfur region in Sudan. What I loved about this book beyond the incredible story of Amira, is the hidden message about the less talked about consequences of conflicts.

4. Lucky Fish by Reviva Schermbrucker

They are TONS of stories revolving around the apartheid era in South Africa. One of the more famous ones being Born a Crime by comedian Trevor Noah. But this tale about 13 year old Stephen coping with his parents convictions brings not only to light the fight for freedom, but exemplifies the concept of maintaining a social movement.

3. Lucky Simelane by Robin Malan

This is another story set in South Africa. It’s main themes however, pertain towards self-identity and finding one’s purpose. The main character, like his namesake is noticeably unique and his mission to find who he truly is sparks a wider debate on what makes south africans who they are. As I was reading it, I realized a lot of parallels between the journey of Lucky and that of Khadir, the main character of my series and although and it showed me how two characters with different origins can have the same concerns and inevitably partake on similar journeys.

2. Now Is The Time For Running by Michael Williams

This one was going to be my number one, but I ended for number two mainly due to the fact that the top spot affected me more on a personal level. But this book, man it was a ride. The story of two brothers from Zimbabwe fleeing their home from invading soldiers. Where the younger of the two having to take the protector role in this tale of survival and human compassion. The thrill of awaiting what happens in the next page cannot be properly described but must experienced

1. Golden boy by Tara Sullivan

This book man. Although this list is filled with those seeking to find themselves in a confusing world, the story of Habo, an young boy that goes through intense ostracization and heinous acts of retribution simply due to his condition of albinism. The story hits deep on the consequences of hate and societal judgements on individuals who don’t “fit in”. But what makes it more special is that it brings those themes and places them in an African contexts in a way that we as a Africans can look at our own culture and ask the same daring questions the book puts out. Out of all the books on the list this the one that made me ponder the most on my cultural identity and to open my mind towards ideas I would never had considered before. Which is why this makes the top of the list.

Well, these are top five coming of age YA books set in Africa. I chose this genre as it is the same genre my series Raw Kingdom is in. And you can pick up the prelude on Amazon today.

Until next time,

Y. Daher

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