Akissi: Even More Tales of Mischief
Publisher: Flying Eye
A little girl called Akissi lives in Cote d’Ivoire. She plays with her friends, loves her pet monkey, Boubou, and fights with her big brother. But her uncle is coming from France, and horror of horrors, he wants to take her back there with him…
Akissi is an absolute joy of a character. Determined, confident, funny, irreverent; her readers may be reminded of Pippi Longstocking and Horrid Henry. European stories about Africa often either paint it as an idealised heaven or an abject hell. Akissi’s world is real, rounded, full of warmth and humour, poverty and community, presented without apology or judgement. The medium of bande dessinée,which is neither exactly a comic strip nor a graphic novel, is perfect for showing children worlds they may never have imagined or encountered. Akissi casually flips Euro-centric and colonial viewpoints: France is imagined as the ‘savage place’, so cold your wee freezes and wolves roam the streets. The stories are hilarious but at least one is also emotionally touching – the death of a grandparent and Ivoirian beliefs about death are beautifully covered.
Highly recommended to engage readers of all ages, broaden horizons and grow empathy.