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Figgy Takes the City by Tamsin Janu (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia)
In admirably simple and direct prose, the gentle story of Figgy Takes the City tells of the adventures of two Ghanaian children, Figgy and Nana, who leave their small village to begin high school in Accra, the nation’s capital. Both children are without their parents and have been cared for by the resourceful and loving Grandma Ama within a strong village community. Nonetheless moving to the big city brings challenges that shed light on the nature of family and friendship.
By many standards, Figgy’s situation is one of considerable poverty and disadvantage. This is described in engaging matter-of-fact detail, yet always without a trace of sentimentality, resentment or self-pity. For Figgy is like many young children all over the world — lively, friendly and optimistic — and it is through her good-humoured child-narrator’s voice that Figgy is able to describe universal human dramas that are relatable for children (and adults!) anywhere.