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Akata Witch
Contributor(s): Okorafor-Mbachu, Nnedi
ISBN: 0670011967     ISBN-13: 9780670011964
Publisher: Viking Childrens Books
    OUR PRICE: $17.81  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: April 2011
Annotation: Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Supernatural; Fiction.
Magic; Fiction.
Albinos and albinism; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2011002999
Lexile Measure: 590
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.25" (1.05 lbs) 349 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 143032
Reading Level: 4.2   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 10.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q53175
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 17.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work, the New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning.” Nnedi has received the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, and the Nebula Award, among others, for her novels. She holds a PhD in English and is a professor at SUNY Buffalo. She divides her time between Buffalo and the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her daughter. Learn more at or follow her on Twitter @nnedi.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall)
Sunny, albino daughter of Nigerian parents, is used to being called a witch; even so, it's a surprise to learn she is one. Along with her coven, she must take on Okotoko the Black Hat, a serial killer who preys on children. Sunny's world of pepper soup and afrobeat music, the audacious personalities, and Okorafor's lively writing make this offering stand out. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #3)
Sunny is an American born to two Nigerian parents, now living in Nigeria. As an albino, she's used to people staring and calling her a witch, but even so, it's a surprise to learn she is a witch, one of the Leopard People who have the power to work juju. Along with her coven -- quiet Orlu, who can undo juju workings; brash Sasha, sent from America as a punishment for summoning spirits against his sister's harassers in the projects; and sassy Chichi, whose confidence in her own abilities is unrivaled -- Sunny learns to call forth her spirit face and other beginner workings, but a greater challenge is waiting. The coven was assembled by the elders to take on Okotoko the Black Hat, a Leopard serial killer who preys on children. If readers detect echoes of Harry Potter in Sunny's discovery of and development of her powers, they are faint and distant -- Sunny's world of pepper soup, afrobeat music, and canings as a form of punishment is vastly different from tired wands and broomsticks. Sunny's albinism is an integral part of her powers, giving her a foot in two worlds and rescuing the device from sensationalism. Although the battle with the Black Hat seems anticlimactic following a much more character-driven confrontation with fellow students, the audacious personalities, the depiction of a culture with an old tradition of magic that is nonetheless unfamiliar to most Western readers, and Okorafor's uncomplicated, lively writing make this new fantasy offering stand out. anita l. burkam Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2011 February #2)

Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People—witches—and insist that she is, too. Soon Sunny discovers her spirit face ("It was her, but it felt as if it had its own separate identity, too. Her spirit face was the sun, all shiny gold and glowing with pointy rays"). Eventually, the three and an American boy named Sasha visit the dangerous, magical city of Leopard Knocks and learn from their mentors in witchcraft that they must destroy Black Hat Otokoto, a monstrous serial killer and powerful witch. Although a bit slow getting started, this tale is filled with marvels and is sure to appeal to teens whose interest in fantasy goes beyond dwarves and fairies. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 June)

Gr 6 Up—This contemporary fantasy features Sunny, 12, Nigerian by blood but born in New York City, who's been living in Nigeria since she was 9. She has West African features but is an albino with yellow hair, white skin, and hazel eyes. This mixture confuses people, and she is teased and bullied by classmates. One day while looking into a candle flame, she sees a vision of the end of the world. She discovers that her classmate Orlu; his friend Chichi; and Sasha, newly arrived from America, all have magical abilities, and they suspect that she does, too. She finds out she's of the Leopard spirit line and has the ability to cross over into the spirit world, become invisible, see the future, and manipulate time. She and her new friends must use their abilities to try to defeat a serial killer who's maiming and killing children to use to awaken a monster from the spirit world. This vividly imagined, original fantasy shows what life is like in today's Nigeria, while it beautifully explores an alternate magical reality. Sunny must deal with cultural stereotypes, a strict father who resents her being female, and older brothers who pick on her because she's better at soccer than they are. This is a consistently surprising, inventive read that will appeal to more thoughtful, patient fantasy readers because it relies less on action and more on exploring the characters' gradual mastery of their talents.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

[Page 128]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.