Not just entertainment! An Opportunity for Cultural Growth

Summary:

Aya (19) lives in Yopougon, Ivory Coast during the 1970s. She is a motivated student who wants to get into medical school. Readers follows Aya's interaction with her family, men, and friends Bintou and Adjoua. Her friends experiences create the subplots. They are typical teens with different priorities. They are busy going out dancing, looking for men and marriage with the dream of starting a family. Bintou attempts to tie down the wealthy Moussa, but Adjoua becomes pregnant with his child. There is a shotgun wedding. Eight months later, when the baby is born, the girls and their families are surprised that the child doesn't resemble his father. That is the cliffhanger which ends the novel.


Young Adult Reader (20):
I liked this book more than I expected. The content and the perspectives it explores are unique and interesting. The illustrations are colorful, very pleasing, and really help immerse you in the setting. It also has fun language that mixes in colloquial slang used in the Ivory Coast.

I don't often like graphic novels because they feel like quick reads for entertainment or to pass the time. But Aya is different. I really liked the book. Yes, I felt entertained, but I also was learning about life in a different country and a new-to-me culture. The only thing I didn't like is what I think about graphic novels in general. They can be a little brief in their storytelling. That isn't bad, but it was disappointing. I feel as though there is a lot to explore in this one.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers will enjoy this introduction to the Ivory Coast and its culture. That the book is set in the 1970s will melt away, as peer pressure, working hard for your goals, and the push-and-pull of friendship are universal, timeless themes.

Content Awareness Factors:

The text contains profanity and sexual situations. Sex, pregnancy and abortion are discussed but the content is not graphic.


Type of Book:
This is a young adult graphic novel that introduces readers to life as a teen in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Educational Themes:

Readers unfamiliar with Africa or the Ivory Coast may be inspired to learn more. The story is set in the 1970s, but the themes are timeless and universal. The story may present an opportunity to talk about peer pressure, choices, risks/rewards, etc.

It could be interesting to explore what has (and hasn't) changed with regard to teen experiences and social norms in the last 50 years.

Reading Level:
2.1
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
16 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Volunteer. Reviewer age: 20
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. It is very interesting and is about a subject that not often explored: teenage life in West Africa from a female's perspective.

Title Aya
About

Aya, Book 1

Author Marguerite Abouet
Publisher Drawn and Quarterly © 2007
Illustrators Clément Oubrerie
ISBN 9781894937900
Material Hard Cover
Cost $6.66
Genres Historical Fiction, Coming Of Age, Comics | Graphic Novels, History - 1960s & 1970s, Social Issues, Africa | African People

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