Aya – Marguerite Abouet


This is a wonderful slice of teenage life, all about growing up on the Ivory Coast in the 1970’s. This simple yet accessible drama feels rich and authentic. Its universal themes allow us to empathise with the characters and laugh both with and at them, no doubt remembering our own adolescence. It is a privilege to see into another culture, especially when it is so expertly portrayed.

The art is great. Oubrerie’s cartoonish style adds so much character and warmth to the people and places he illustrates. He has a Herge style that is perfect for the laid back and friendly community that he brings to life.

There is a great piece of lettering when people all talk at once their speech text overlaps which I have never seen before. There is also another instance where a character looks out of frame right at the reader and you can’t help but laugh.

At the back there is glossary but you are able to work out the meanings of the words by the context they are in so you don’t need to keep flipping backwards and forwards, a sign of great writing. There are also fashion tips, a dance move, recipes for food and drink and a map.

The story, the showing, the telling, the extras and the hardback format all play their part in making this a Double Thumbs Up!

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