• ‘Red Spectacles’ Knows

    A Burt Award for Africa Literature book

    Dusty and Motion are caught in another thrilling adventure after their “Escape from Paradise”. The sister of their closest friend at Martin Hall, where the brothers now live, goes missing. A nameless stranger, ‘Red Spectacles’, seems to be the only one who has a link to the missing teenager.

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  • Abiana the Precious Child (Ghanaian Bedtime Stories)

    Age Range: 4 – 12 years

    Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) 1st Prize Efua Sutherland Award for Children’s Story Book

    Abiana the precious baby discovers the story and meaning behind her name. A story written and inspired by Ghanaian experiences.

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    Abla Poku – La Reine Baoulé (Hardcover)

    Age Range: 7 – 10 years

    Ce livre illustré d’enfants illustre l’histoire d’Abena Poku. Il était une fois, un royaume puissant dans la partie centrale de l’ancien Ghana connu sous le nom de Royaume d’Asante. Il avait un roi puissant connu sous le nom Otumfuo Osei Tutu I, l’Asantehene. Osei Tutu J’ai eu une nièce appelée Abena Poku. Après quelques troubles Abena Poku et son peuple s’installèrent dans la région entre les rivières Comoe et Bandama dans la partie orientale de la Côte d’Ivoire et fondèrent un royaume avec Abena Poku comme première reine. Son royaume est devenu le royaume de Baoulé. Abena Poku a ainsi fondé une dynastie qui a survécu à ce jour.

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    Abla Poku – The Baoulé Queen (Hardcover)

    Age Range: 7 – 10 years

    This colour illustrated children’s book tells the story of Abena Poku. Once upon a time, there was a mighty kingdom in the central part of ancient Ghana known as the Asante Kingdom. It had a powerful king known as Otumfuo Osei Tutu I, the Asantehene. Osei Tutu I had a niece called Abena Poku.

    After some unrest Abena Poku and her people settled in the area between the Comoe and Bandama rivers in the eastern part of the Ivory Coast and founded a kingdom of their own with Abena Poku as the first queen. Her kingdom became known as the Baoulé Kingdom. Abena Poku thus founded a dynasty which has survived to date.

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  • Akosua and Osman

    “Karatu, farkonka madaci, karshenka zuma.” (Study is difficult but the rewards are great.)

    Akosua Annan is a confident and fiercely intelligent student at a posh girls’ school in Cape Coast, Ghana. There she comes under the influence of a charismatic feminist teacher.

    Osman Said’s background is very different. Upon the death of his parents, a police sergeant and an unschooled market trader, immigrants to Accra from the North, he is adopted by a retired school teacher, Hajia Zainab. After a spell as an apprentice in an auto workshop, he returns to school. There, finding the teaching inadequate, he becomes an avid reader and educates himself.

    Akosua and Osman are thrown together by chance in the course of a school visit to the slave dungeon at Cape Coast Castle. Their paths cross again as finalists in the national school debating competition where the subject is “The problem of poverty in Ghana is insoluble.” They meet for the third time as students at the University of Ghana and as we leave them, it looks as if their relationship might develop into something permanent.

    “This fascinating novel tells the story of how these two young people from these disparate backgrounds are brought together as if by an unseen hand, in a process that teaches us about our history, our common humanity despite ethnic differences, the need to pursue our ambitions, the strength of human sexuality and the need for self-discipline, and, above all, the power of love.” The Judges, Burt Award for African Literature, 2011

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    Akosua’s Gift

    Age Range: 7 – 10 years

    Original Ghanaian story by Angela Christian and retold by Kathy Knowles; illustrations by Edmund Opare

    A “Notable Book” designation by the 2012 Children’s Africana Book Award jury.

    Akosua learned to make clay pots by watching her mother. She decides to make a water pot to present as a gift to her sister on her wedding day.

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    Akosua’s Gift

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  • Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

    Winner of the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book

    “I am a human being; I am a woman; I am a black woman; I am an African. Once I was free; then I was captured and became a slave; but inside me, here and here, I am still a free woman.”
    During a period of four hundred years, European slave traders ferried some 12 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic. In the Americas, teaching a slave to read and write was a criminal offense. When the last slaves gained their freedom in Brazil, barely a thousand of them were literate. Hardly any stories of the enslaved and transported Africans have survived.
    This novel is an attempt to recreate just one of those stories, one story of a possible 12 million or more.Lawrence Hill created another in The Book of Negroes (Someone Knows my Name in the U.S.) and, more recently, Yaa Gyasi has done the same in Homegoing.

    Ama occupies center stage throughout this novel.

    As the story opens, she is sixteen. Distant drums announce the death of her grandfather. Her family departs to attend the funeral, leaving her alone to tend her ailing baby brother.

    It is 1775. Asante has conquered its northern neighbor and exacted an annual tribute of 500 slaves. The ruler of Dagbon dispatches a raiding party into the lands of the neighboring Bekpokpam. They capture Ama.

    That night, her lover, Itsho, leads an attack on the raiders’ camp. The rescue bid fails. Sent to collect water from a stream, Ama comes across Itsho’s mangled corpse. For the rest of her life she will call upon his spirit in time of need.

    In Kumase, the Asante capital, Ama is given as a gift to the Queen-mother.

    When the adolescent monarch, Osei Kwame, conceives a passion for her, the regents dispatch her to the coast for sale to the Dutch at Elmina Castle.

    There the governor, Pieter de Bruyn, selects her as his concubine, dressing her in the elegant clothes of his late Dutch wife and instructing the obese chaplain to teach her to read and write English.

    De Bruyn plans to marry Ama and take her with him to Europe. He makes a last trip to the Dutch coastal outstations and returns infected with yellow fever. On his death, his successor rapes Ama and sends her back to the female dungeon. Traumatized, her mind goes blank.

    She comes to her senses in the canoe which takes her and other women out to the slave ship, The Love of Liberty.

    Before the ship leaves the coast of Africa, Ama instigates a slave rebellion. It fails and a brutal whipping leaves her blind in one eye.

    The ship is becalmed in mid-Atlantic. Then a fierce storm cripples it and drives it into the port of Salvador, capital of Brazil.

    Ama finds herself working in the fields and the mill on a sugar estate. She is absorbed into slave society and begins to adapt, learning Portuguese.

    Years pass. Ama is now totally blind. Clutching the cloth which is her only material link with Africa, she reminisces, dozes, falls asleep.

    A short epilogue brings the story up to date. The consequences of the slave trade and slavery are still with us. Brazilians of African descent remain entrenched in the lower reaches of society, enmeshed in poverty.

    “This is story telling on a grand scale,” writes Tony Simões da Silva. “In Ama, Herbstein creates a work of literature that celebrates the resilience of human beings while denouncing the inscrutable nature of their cruelty. By focusing on the brutalization of Ama’s body, and on the psychological scars of her experiences, Herbstein dramatizes the collective trauma of slavery through the story of a single African woman. Ama echoes the views of writers, historians and philosophers of the African diaspora who have argued that the phenomenon of slavery is inextricable from the deepest foundations of contemporary western civilization.”

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  • Biggy Bambam and Little Toochi

    Age Range: 8 – 12 years

    Winner of 2010 ANA Prize for Children’s Literature

    Toochi meets a friendly gorilla in the zoo. The gorilla later comes to live with him and turns out to be useful to Toochi’s parents and the community by helping them apprehend a gang of robbers.

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    Cat in Search of a Friend

    Age Range: 7 – 12 years

    The story of how cat became the human’s friend is imaginatively told. Cat wants a friend to protect her and to live with. She learns it is better protection to be friends with stronger creatures so she works her way up the animal kingdom. She first befriends the monkeys, then the chimpanzees, gorillas, leopards, lions, rhinoceros, elephants, the man and then the women – the strongest creatures!

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  • Changing Destinies

    The future looks bleak for 15 year old Aranna and her mother, who struggle to make ends meet. Find out how Aranna’s life is changed forever when she becomes friends with Nana and Selma.

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  • Ebony Girl

    2018 CODE Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature Finalist
    Sometimes, all you need to do is to face your fears with an ashen face and unblinking eyes.
    Not able to contain the tantrums thrown at her due to her ‘unusual’ skin colour, hair texture and height, Asabea’s parents do what they think is best for her — send her to a place where she will fit in. Asabea’s fury and sorrow deepens, not at those who taunt her but with her parents.
    Too angry to fight anymore, she finds solace in her grandmother and a sea of others who challenge her to defy her fears and see the world through a different lens.
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    Ebony Girl

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    Fati and the Old Man

    Age Range: 5 – 7 years

    Who is chasing Fati? This time round little Fati is in trouble with an old man she caught stealing pito. The old man says he did not take the pito but Fati DID see him take pito that was not his…! Who is speaking the truth? Find out in this new Fati episode.

    Fati and the Old Man is sequel to the first book Fati and the Honey Tree and is based on the real life adventures of a young girl growing up in northern Ghana. It has been adapted for print by the Osu Library Fund, an organisation which promotes literacy in Ghana.

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