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2020 Children's Africana Book Awards

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Announcing the African Studies Association 28th Annual Children's Africana Book Awards!

Best Book for Young Children

Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid

Written by: Adrienne Wright. Page Street Kids, 2019.

On June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson, an ordinary boy, lost his life after getting caught up in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Black South African students were marching against a new law requiring that they be taught half of their subjects in Afrikaans, the language of the White government. The story’s events unfold from the perspectives of Hector, his sister, and the photographer who captured their photo in the chaos

Best Book for Older Readers

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Written by: Kwame Mbalia. Disney Hyperion, 2019.

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm in Alabama, where he's being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie's notebook. Tristan chases after it - is that a doll? - and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature's hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world.

Best Book for New Adults

Gold of our Fathers.

Written by: Kwe Quartey. Soho Press, 2017.

Darko Dawson has just been promoted to Chief Inspector in the Ghana Police Service—the promotion even comes with a (rather modest) salary bump. But he doesn’t have long to celebrate because his new boss is transferring him from Accra, Ghana’s capital, out to remote Obuasi in the Ashanti region, an area now notorious for the illegal exploitation of its gold mines.

When Dawson arrives at the Obuasi headquarters, he finds it in complete disarray. The office is a mess of uncatalogued evidence and cold case files, morale is low, and discipline among officers is lax. On only his second day on the job, the body of a Chinese mine owner is unearthed in his own gold quarry. As Dawson investigates the case, he quickly learns how dangerous it is to pursue justice in this kingdom of illegal gold mines, where the worst offenders have so much money they have no fear of the law.

To view the full list of 2020 winners and honorees, visit Africa Access Review.

What are some of your favorite Africana books for young readers? Leave a comment below to share your suggestions with the ASA Outreach Council and other educators.

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