Every so often, a fantasy book comes along that reminds you exactly why you fell in love with fantasy in the first place. For us at Penguin Teen HQ right now, that book is Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: a heart-pounding tale of magic and mystery that’s been called “the Nigerian Harry Potter.” Even though Akata Witch came out a few years ago, it recently came out in paperback – just in time for the sequel Akata Warrior, which came out this October. And we’re not alone in loving this spectacular book: some of Nnedi Okorafor‘s biggest fans include John Green, Neil Gaiman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Rick Riordan and more. Can’t believe you haven’t it yet? Read on to get the whole scoop on your next favorite fantasy!
About Akata Witch
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
About Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled, “Weapons of Mass Creation”, The New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning”.
Nnedi’s books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for Best Novel), Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel), Kabu Kabu (A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner).
Aaaand Nnedi’s novel Who Fears Death has been optioned by HBO and is in development as a TV series with George RR Martin as executive producer!
Why readers absolutely love Akata Witch:
3 recommended reads from my vacation! 1. AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor. While reading it, my fitbit thought I was exercising bc of my pulse.
— John Green (@johngreen) July 12, 2016
It’s a certified page-turner.
Reading Akata Witch by @Nnedi Okorafor. Fascinating MG fantasy based on Nigerian myth & folklore. More complete report later.
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) April 26, 2013
Okorafor’s world based on Nigerian myth and folklore is enchanting.
Day 20 and a pretty cover for #tdffeb17! One of my favorite books, Akata Witch by @nnediokorafor ❤ Also one of my favorite covers. When I read this for the first time I spotted it in the library and 100% picked it up because of the cover. I ended up sucked into the world instantly and couldn’t put it down until I had finished. #akatawitch #nnediokorafor #bookstagram #bookchallenge
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You get so invested in Sunny’s life you absolutely cannot put the book down.
It’s a beautiful addition to diverse fantasy.
This book was fabulous! Finished it very quickly. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, it is the story of Sunny finding magic, a whole new world and friends. The novel takes place in Nigeria, following Sunny as she navigates the Leopard society, a magical society that coexists with ours throughout the world. I loved that the currency in this society is based on learning things. So, learn how to be invisible and currency rains down around you. I need to go hunt down more books by this author asap! #17readingchallenge #akatawitch
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The magical elements are unlike any other fantasy you’ve read.
AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor review… My favorite authors are those whose worlds feel distinct. Every time I read Neil Gaiman, the tone of his work rings the same, deep down. That’s what I love about the worlds of Nnedi. They are at once always similar and never predictable. There’s the presence of fascinating insects: giant red grasshoppers lurk, and a wasp creates sculptures for praise. Sexism, racism, classism, and other real-life issues continue to rear their heads in the world of the Leopard People same as anywhere else. I love both of those things about all of Okorafor’s worlds. I love that a juju-less soccer game is one of the best chapters of the book. I love that Okorafor knows that her characters are young adults, and that they speak, argue, enter relationships, and handle situations like genuine young adults. I love that relationships and character development take precedence over the “magic story.” I love that as we reach the end, there isn’t an inexplicable and unbelievable chosen-one-like spike in magical power. I love the spirit faces and the lessons and the funky train. It’s yet another lovely Okorafor novel to add to my collection of favorites. I’m eagerly anticipating Akata Warrior. ✨✨✨ #akatawitch #akatawarrior #nnediokorafor #okorafor #akata #leopardpeople #sff #ya #sffya #books #reading #bookreviews #neilgaiman
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The author addresses real life issues even though it’s set in a fantasy world.
I finally finished @nnediokorafor’s amazing fantasy children’s novel, #akatawitch! It was so wonderful! So magical! So intelligent and wondrous! I absolutely love it!! #spoilers: I wanted to share this quote from it, because I think it demonstrates just how clearly #nnediokorafor points out #sexism and the issues tackled by #feminism in her story. The protagonist, Sunny, isn’t allowed to play soccer until she proves she can play to an unfairly high standard. This is a conversation she has with another girl after the soccer match. So on point!! I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel! I must add this to my list of books to study for my PhD!! ^_^ #childrensbook #childrensliterature #fantasy #fantasyfiction #childrensfantasy #nigeria #nigerian #africa #african #africanamerican #woc #poc #black #blackwomenwriters #blackwriters #africanamericanliterature #feminist #feministfiction
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Because feminism. YES.
Can’t wait to dive in? Read the first two chapters of Akata Witch below!
Amazing, right? Get your copy of Akata Witch here and now you can finally get the sequel, Akata Warrior too!