Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree

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Annotation: Based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped and enslaved by Boko Haram, this poignant novel tells the story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria, and her harrowing fight for survival.
Genre: War stories
Catalog Number: #171182
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 330 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-269672-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3151-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-269672-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3151-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018933386
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
Visions of a bright future crumble in this harrowing story based on the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Chibok girls by terrorist group Boko Haram. In short, sparse chapters with oft-repeated titles (-The Voice on Papa-s Radio-), the unnamed narrator describes her daily life in Nigeria-friends and family, domestic responsibilities, school studies resulting in a government scholarship, and dreams of becoming a teacher. Her hopes vanish when she witnesses her father-s slaughter at the hands of militants and then is kidnapped and enslaved with girls and women from her village and forcibly converted to radical Islam. The evocative, incisive portrayal of daily life before and after the abduction brings both realities into stark relief as Nigerian author Nwaubani (I Do Not Come to You by Chance) details unspeakable horrors: the slaying of family and friends, forced marriage and serial rape, a friend-s successful indoctrination and willing martyrdom to the Boko Haram cause. An afterword by Italian journalist Mazza recounts the process of interviewing survivors, escapees, and their families as research. Unflinching in its direct view of an ongoing tragedy, this important novel will open discussions about human rights and violence against women and girls worldwide. Ages 13-up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up Ya Ta does not want to settle for a life dictated by her papa in her Nigerian village of Borno State. She dreams of a new pair of shoes, a university degree, and a life with Success, the son of her pastor. However, she is kidnapped with other young girls, such as her best friend Sarah and married Muslim schoolmate Aisha, by the terrorist group Boko Haram, in the middle of the night. The young women are taken to the Sambisa Forest, where they are forced to adopt a radical Islamic life and experience punishments, atrocities, and abuses. Nwaubani has crafted an emotional yet empowering tale based on the true story of 276 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. The author incorporates themes that are ripe for discussion, such as the importance of education of girls all over the world and how Ya Ta's Hausa culture has been shaped by Christianity, Islam, and Western charities and media. Nwaubani successfully implements Robert Browning's poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" as an extended metaphor throughout. The afterword by Viviana Mazza gives context for the novel's origins, which began with her journalistic collaboration with Nwaubani to document Boko Haram from the point of view of the girls and their families. VERDICT A strong selection for libraries serving teens, especially those looking for book club picks. Donald Peebles, Brooklyn Public Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The unnamed young Nigerian narrator of this novel, with a loving family and academic aspirations, is kidnapped by Boko Haram along with many other girls and women from her village. On the day the terrorists came and destroyed her village, they murdered her father and brothers, sparing only the one brother young enough to be taught their way of life. The story chronicles her cheerful, promising life before her abduction as well as the suffering and abuse she endures after being forced to part with her dreams of getting a university scholarship, becoming a teacher, and having her own family. It traverses the girl's life from dutiful Christian daughter and loyal friend to becoming a slave under her kidnappers' radical rule—and pays tribute to the fortitude and grace it takes to not only survive such an ordeal, but to escape it. Nigerian author Nwaubani (I Do Not Come to You by Chance, 2009, etc.) smoothly pulls readers into this narrative. Her words paint beautiful portraits of the joy, hope, and traditions experienced by this girl, her friends, and family with the same masterful strokes as the ones depicting the dreadful agony, loss, and grief they endure. A heavy but necessary story based on the horrendous 2014 Boko Haram kidnapping of 276 Chibok girls, described in an afterword by Italian journalist Mazza.A worthy piece of work that superbly and empathetically tells a heartbreaking tale. (afterword, references, resources) (Fiction. 14-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped girls from the country's villages in the early to mid-2010s and kept them captive as slaves or wives in the forest. Based on interviews with some of the girls who were taken, this story follows one such girl in a fictionalized account of real-life events. Never named, the narrator reveals her life leading up to her capture e marked by relatable experiences, such as harboring crushes and watching movies with friends, and a bright future ich makes the abduction all the more heart-wrenching. Nwaubani uses short chapters, ranging from a few sentences to no more than two pages, to emphasize the youth and innocence of the narrator and the terrible acts she and the other kidnapped girls must endure. It is, unsurprisingly, a difficult read that elicits great sympathy and horror, but it is a necessary story to educate readers on what can happen in the world. Nwaubani's novel is an excellent choice for classroom reading and for those who don't wish to turn a blind eye to injustice. A substantial afterword by journalist Viviana Mazza shares actual stories of some of the victims, along with more detailed information on the Boko Haram kidnappings. Poignant and powerful, this is a story that will be hard for any reader to forget.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 44,495
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.0 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 199334 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: 920L

Based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, this poignant novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani tells the timely story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria and her harrowing fight for survival. Includes an afterword by award-winning journalist Viviana Mazza.

A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband—these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach.

But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told.

Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life—her future—is hers to fight for.

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