I love YA! So when a friend asked me if I could recommend any young adult fiction for her cousins, I was super excited. I recommended a ton of YA novels, but what kind of African book lover would I be if I didn't recommend some YA fiction by African authors. There's also the Burt Award for African Literature, an annual literary prize recognising excellence in young adult fiction from Africa. There is a Burt Award in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya (couldn't find any winners from Kenya).
Aya is a graphic novel set in 1970s Abidjan about the things middle-class teenage girls get up to (the Aya series have been on my wishlist for a while now); Coconut tells the story of a black child growing up in a white world; Spilt Milk is the story of two passionate people who share a shameful past and a tenuous present; Lucky Fish is told by a 13-year old boy during apartheid in South Africa, when his parents become political prisoners; Akata Witch tells the story of a 12-year old girl who doesn't fit in, until she discovers she has magical powers; Zahrah the Windseeker is about a girl born with dreadlocks, in a kingdom where children born with 'dada' are said to have super powers; Lucky Simelane is the story of Lucky Simelane's search for his true identity; Rainmaker documents the extraordinary coming-of-age journey of a young man living in the ghetto; Call on the Wind follows Isaak and Liesa as they grow up and fall in love in their small Griqua fishing village on the Tsitsikamma coast; The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the story of William Kamkwamba, a young man from Malawi, who, at fourteen years old, battled through extreme poverty and hunger to build a series of windmills from scratch that could generate electricity; Between Sisters tells the story of a 16-yer old girl who moves to Kumasi, Ghana to look after a distant relatives son and live her dream of becoming a dressmaker; Powder Necklace tells the story of a young girl sent back to rural Ghana by her mother, and her experiences as the new girl and foreigner in Ghana; InTrue Murder we meet Ajuba, and 11-year old who has been abandoned at a Devon school by her Ghanaian father; Journey to Jo'burg is the story of two children travelling alone to Jo'burg to try and find their mother; The Other Side of the Truth is a novel about a brother and sister in Nigeria who become political refugees; Burn My Heart tells the story of two boys, white and black, with an uneasy friendship in 1950s Kenya; In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah tells his experience as a child soldier from Sierra Leone; Imagine This is the journal of Lola Ogunlowe charting her survival from childhood to adulthood; and Now is the Time for Running is a story about Deo, and his brother Innocent, forced to run for their lives after soldiers attack their village.