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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Roll My Tassaba!

Next month we will be publishing the graphic novel AYA by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie, the first three trade reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal are in, and things are looking rosy for the book that already won the first album award at the Angouleme Festival just one year ago.

PW says: "A multifaceted romantic comedy that would satisfy even without any political agenda behind it... capturing the country's brief flicker of postcolonial peaceful prosperity before descending into the modern maelstrom of corruption and violence we know only too well."

Library Journal says:"Based on Abouet's remembrance of her childhood in Abidjan ... the story, along with French illustrator Oubrerie's artwork, brings to life an Ivory Coast not seen before--a place overflowing with vibrant, rich textiles, new words, music, food, and lively characters filled with humor, love, and the hope for a better life. Starred Review."

Booklist says: "Set in late 1970s Ivory Coast, this accessible, engaging story features a relatively simple plotline--smart girl frustrated by less-forward-thinking friends and family--and delightfully thorough characterizations that resound with emotional universality as they manifest the particulars of a time and a place American readers otherwise rarely glimpse. Starred Review."

The book was originally published in France by Gallimard as part of Joann Sfar's Bayou collection, which are graphic novels for both young adults and adults. AYA is a light hearted comedy of coming of age in the 70s Ivory Coast, which is similar to coming of age in any suburb in the US, an association not usually made with Africa. It's the story of the frustrating teenage years of being a daughter and your own person, trying to find your way in the world filled with parental expectations and peer temptations.

The book showcases the culture of the Ivory Coast, with a glossary, recipes on how to make "gnamankoudji" or ginger juice and peanut sauce and instructions on how to wear your "pagne" and how to move your "tassaba" which is slang for your butt!

Preview here.


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