White Ravens: Ivory Coast

7 books      

Ivory Coast (French) - 1997 - 113
Koné Doh Fandanh, Joël
Le défilé des innocents
(The defiling of the innocents)
Abidjan: Edilis, 1996. 88 p.
ISBN 2-909238-46-6
Student - AIDS - Sex instruction
This first novel of a 22-year-old African revolves around two students whose fate is determined by AIDS. While the first-person narrator learns to accept the prognosis of an early death, the other is so shattered that he commits a terrible suicide. In a flash back, the narrative depicts their earlier friendship, their conversations about their future plans, their view of the world, their attitudes toward the African and the white cultures. As fascinating as this is, the reader may be shocked by the undisguised sexual aggressivity toward girls. In order to digest these passages of the novel, which is in general well-written, the reader should be mature and self-reflective. (15+)

Ivory Coast (French) - 1999 - 112
Keïta, Fatou (text)
Mobio, Claire (illus.)
Sinabani, la petite dernière
(Sinabani, the nest egg)
Abidjan: Nouv. Éd. Ivoiriennes, 1997. 31 p.
ISBN 2-911725-34-4
Family - Love - Jealousy - Adolescence
Sinabani - which means »nest egg« in the African language Malinke - enjoys a privileged role between her father, mother and three older brothers. But her happiness takes a plunge when a little brother is born. Her mother's tolerant understanding helps her to overcome her malice and jealousy. The illustrations are seeped in tenderness showing heart-warming scenes of family life. The strong presence of emotionality may give the smaller readers a feeling of being cuddled. (4+)

Special Mention - Ivory Coast (French) - 2000 - 110
Bebey, Kidi
Dans la cour des grands
(In the courtyard of the grown-ups)
Abidjan: CEDA [et al.], 1999. 86 p.
(Collection lire au présent)
ISBN 2-86394-297-2
Puberty - Self-determination - Sexuality
At the age of 17 one wants to be considered an adult and be free to make one's own experiences in all the areas that had once been taboo. That is Stella's situation. She lives in Abidjan. Until now she has obeyed her parents, but now she rebels. In her diary she writes out the anger of the difficult struggle to assert herself. She comes into conflict with herself when a school friend talks her into having a love affair. Stella is clever enough to know that she will need advice in any case. A frank talk with a gynecologist is fundamental in helping not to take this decision too lightly, but in accord with her inner feelings, which tell her to wait. The novel is accompanied by a questionanswer section that deepens the reading experience and makes the problems of puberty accessible to discussion. (15+)

Ivory Coast (French) - 2002 - 108
Agueh, Urbain Jean-Claude (text)
J'x Folio (= Féllix Agossa)
(The dawn)
Abidjan : Nouvelles Éd. Ivoiriennes [et al.], 2001. 23 p.
ISBN 2-84487-120-8
Morning – Dawn – Nature – Africa – Experience of nature
A soft melody wakes Sedjro. Where does it come from? Full of curiosity, the boy wanders through the village at daybreak, discovering its beauty, until he finally finds the bird that woke him up. The lyrical text is a hymn to nature. With all his senses, the boy absorbs the beauty around him: The trees, shining with dew, the tempting scent of ripe fruits, the feelings of freshness, the colourful flowers – everything is a true pleasure for the child. The emotional full-page illustrations, which capture the transitory morning impressions in scenes of natural abundance, lend this small volume a special quality. (2+)

Ivory Coast (French) - 2003 - 108
Dick, Gina (text)
Teki, Ernest (illus.)
Un drôle de bienfaiteur
(A strange benefactor)
Abidjan : CEDA [et al.], 2002. 71 p.
(Collection lire au présent)
ISBN 2-86394-436-3. - 2-89428-578-7
Abundance of children – Poverty – Slave trade – Child labour
When his father is visited by an old acquaintance, Mamadi does not yet know that his life will change abruptly. The ten-year-old boy lives with his parents and many siblings in poverty in a village in Mali. Pretending that he wants to help the family, the father’s »friend« takes the boy with him to Ivory Coast. There, Mamadi and many other »stolen « children, have to work in a diamond mine under inhumane conditions. Eventually however, the boy manages to escape. This story makes readers aware of a serious problem in Western Africa, namely the cross-border criminal slave trade in which ten thousands of children are locked up, beaten, and exploited. (12+)

Ivory Coast (French) - 2003 - 109
Tadjo, Véronique (text/illus.)
Masque, raconte-moi …
(Mask, tell me...)
Abidjan : Nouv. Ed. Ivoiriennes [et al.], 2002. 23 p.
(Collection le Caméléon vert)
ISBN 2-8412-9833-7. - 2-84487-141-0
Mask – Perspective – Imagination
Véronique Tadjo wants to offer African children points of reference for their own culture, so that they can recognise themselves in the texts they read and learn to identify the cultural richness of their region. In Masque, raconte-moi... she resumes the topic of her first picture book (Le seigneur de la danse, 1993): an African mask. In this book, it takes on several shapes before a child’s eyes. In the child’s imagination, the mask turns into an antelope, a crocodile, a wart hog, a bird, and a chameleon. With her short, allegorical text and the imaginative illustrations, the author manages to keep the mask’s secret hidden and all the young readers can try to discover it for themselves. (4+) ☆

Ivory Coast (French) - 2005 - 99
Sobhy, Samir (text/illus.)
Le baobab, le perroquet et le jeune homme
(The baobab, the parrot, and the young man)
Abidjan : CEDA, 2003. 29 p.
(Histoires merveilleuses)
ISBN 2-86394-369-3
Love – Kindness – Courage
Sada, the young hero of this story, has a special gift: He knows the language of birds and trees. One day, he is faced with a problem. Modou, the son of a rich merchant, asks for the hand in marriage of his beloved Nafi, the daughter of the village chief. The two young rivals have to pass a test that is to decide their fate. This instructive story, published in the series of »Histoires Merveilleuses« (Wondrous Tales), shows that honesty and courage are more important than money, and that generosity, helpfulness, and respect will eventually prevail over haughtiness and malice. The illustrations in warm shades of reddish brown symbolise the power humans have if they respect the close bonds between mankind, animals, and nature. (8+)