Atinuke’s book has a tall order – it must represent the entire continent of Africa, country by country. Luckily, the book succeeds, as it shines a light upon the multitudes of difference found within African history, society and culture, without shying away from its turbulent past, the perils of climate change and the results of globalisation. The difficulty in representing the entire continent is further outlined in the author introduction by stating that even as she wrote this book, Africa was a changing place, always forming into something new.
Atinuke’s writing and Feddag’s illustration organise the chapters by geographical location. We zip from East African Pyramids to the modern-day cityscapes of Lagos, Nigeria – by way of fun facts such as the origins the piri-piri sauce. The curious tone of the book is perfectly married to the playful colour schemes of burnt-orange skies and leafy green settings, a feature which repays the reader upon each reading.
This book will act as a vibrant transporter to warmer climes, as Atinuke’s mission of representing the Africa of now will leave the reader beguiled by the continent, but also aware of its current and complicated position. While it may be aimed at 8-10 year olds, it could be aptly shared amongst all generations as its illustrations and compendium-style messaging can be enjoyed by all. The subject matter also garners much discussion about assumptions and clichés. Its non-fiction story-telling style allows Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by County to leave its readers amazed and informed of the African of today, tomorrow and yesterday.