Circa 2009, there was a massive shift within the Black community. We became aware of the findings regarding how harmful chemically straightening our hair was to our overall health. I myself ‘went natural’ in 2010. Eventually, with that demand for more diverse books grew louder. In 2015, more books featuring Black natural hair characters entered the book market. Many were self-published. One such author was British-Nigerian, Tola Okogwu. In 2016, Tola gave us Daddy Do My Hair  which became a book series and she has not looked back ever since. 2022, sees an expansion of the genres  Tola writes in. Her ew novel Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun presents a British-Nigerian superhero. Onyeka with the kickass psychokinetic hair will change the book industry forever!

 

Plot

Black Panther meets Percy Jackson in this action-packed and empowering middle-grade superhero series about a British-Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers. Soon to be a feature film with a major streamer!
I close my eyes, trying to push the power bubbling in me back down . . . Hairbands snap as my hair shoots out like superfine arrows, tearing through everything in its path.

Onyeka has a lot of hair – the kind that makes strangers stop in the street. She’s always felt insecure about her vibrant curls, until she makes an important discovery: she can control her hair with her mind!

Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari – children with superpowers – are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the Academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves caught up in an epic battle . . . one that puts the future of all Solari at risk.

Our Thoughts

It’s so rare, I honestly can’t remember ever reading a book that made me laugh out loud, tears streaming down my face within the first few pages. What made me laugh?! The familiar swim cap battle that many naturalista’s can relate to, all too well. Prior to starting the book with my kids at bedtime, the morning of that day my daughter and I were swim cap shopping!

Onyeka’s journey to self-acceptance and cultural identity is one that anyone can grasp but it’s all the more special for those of who have been waiting for a character like her. She is wthe ise-cracking, Londoner who’s doesn’t feel as though she fits in. Onyeka journeys from London, England to the NIgeria in pursuit of answers regarding her Ike (her superpower) is intriguing.

In Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun, Tola has seamlessly showcased afrofurtism, Nigerian cuisine, natural hair haircare and Nigerian Pidgin English. We enter a world that’s Wakanda- esque, though not without its flaws. The language and cultural references are as authentic as you’d expect. The mouth-watering has me wishing I knew a Nigerian restaurant to dash off to because those dishes are unknow to me and my family.

I read most of the book on my own. My kids enjoyed the humour and the superpower element. From the start I could see it as a film and wouldn’t you know, she’s gone and done it! Onyeka is due to come to Netlfix!  Can’t wait for it! Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun is definitely a must read this summer! Thank me later

 

Book Details

Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun, will be published 9th June 2022, Simon & Schuster Children’s UK, RRP £7.00. Purchase from all major book stores and Amazon. Recommended reading age 8 years and up.

 

About Tola

Tola Okogwu is a journalist, author and Hair Care Educator. She has written for multiple publications, including Black Ballad, Metro UK, Huffington Post and Refinery29. Born in Lagos, Nigeria but raised in London, England, she now lives in Kent and writes children’s books, including the Daddy Do My Hair series and, under the pen name Lola Morayo, the Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door series.

For more information on Tola’s work visit her website or you can get social and follow her on Twitter.

IOW

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