I was surprised when Nana first told me that when he grows up he wants to be the President of Ghana. We were sitting in the rain, our heads tipped back and our mouths open. I knew Grandma Ama would eventually find us and call us silly children and tell us to go inside and have a wash. But we were enjoying sitting in the rain while we could.
I poked Nana’s arm. ‘Why do you want to be the President?’
He scrambled on to his knees. ‘Why wouldn’t I want to be the President: Presidents can have as much food as they like, give to the good people and take from the bad one, see The World and meet important people …’
Figgy and her friend Nana are back in a new Ghanian adventure. Nana is sure he will be President one day and it sets Figgy thinking about her own future. While she’s busy thinking about it, she is given a part in a film, her mother reappears and Nana is taken away by his father. Soon there is too much going on for her to spend any time thinking about the future. She needs all her energy to stay safe, and to keep those around her safe. Fortunately she is energetic and resourceful.
‘Figgy in the World’ was a delightful story of innocence and determination in contemporary Africa and Figgy and the President continues the wonderfulness. Figgy may have an engaging continued innocence about her, but she’s a match for anything her uncertain world throws at her. Along the way she reconnects with old friends and makes new ones. Figgy reminds us of the importance of family (in its broader sense) and introduces us to a world both familiar and unfamiliar. Highly recommended for mid-primary readers and anyone wanting an inside look at another culture.
Figgy and the President, Tasmin Janu
Omnibus Books 2016 ISBN: 9781742991559
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller