Books by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Released: Aug. 1, 2014

"A sweet, brief glimpse into a universal childhood experience in a very specific place.(Picture book. 4-7)"
Better safe than sorry when you don't feel well. Read full book review >
HOME! by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"The pictures, aglow with light and life, are snapshots of daily life that is both similar and different to our own. (Informational picture book. 3-7)"
Onyefulu celebrates light, color and the people of Mali in this and three other themed suites of bright photos of common items or activities. Read full book review >
OMER'S FAVORITE PLACE by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"The attractive, sharp photos and simple text, counteracting many stereotypes, can be used to introduce the concept that children in different countries have similar needs and feelings, especially when it comes to fun. (Informational picture book. 3-6)"
Omer's infectious smile will draw young readers into this photo essay detailing everyday life in an Ethiopian middle-class family. Read full book review >
NEW SHOES FOR HELEN by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"Onyefulu stresses the similarities between kids in Africa and those in Britain or the United States in very simple language, but the quotidian treatment doesn't give the subject enough pizzazz. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Buying new shoes is a peak experience for many little girls, but selecting shoes for a wedding takes the cake. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2010

There once was a children's-book author named Ifeoma who lived in London with her two sons. While pondering her latest project, the writer recalled the folklore she was regaled with as a youth in her eastern Nigerian village.... Putting pen to paper, Onyefulu resurrects the characters that populated those stories, like sage King Lion and gullible Lizard, for a new generation of readers. She recounts the tale of a greedy, crafty Tortoise, who hides food from all his jungle friends during a famine only to learn the importance of sharing after he is caught out. In the titular tale, the author introduces readers to Ogilisa, a spoiled child who learns the importance of humility and acceptance when she finds her appetite cannot be satisfied in reality. Playful idioms, such as "they were like two seeds in an udala fruit," and basic introductions to Nigerian culture (mentions of food, clothing and customs) illuminate the basic precepts introduced in this vigorous collection of fables, each of which closes with a moral. The moral of this review? Aesop doesn't have all the answers. (Folklore. 8-12)Read full book review >
GRANDMA COMES TO STAY by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

Onyefulu, a photo-essayist who has introduced young children to Nigeria in titles such as A is for Africa (1993),shifts her attention to Ghana. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2000

When Adaora, a little girl of about five, declares that she will not eat paw-paw because to do so would ruin the pretty star-shape in the middle, her cousin Ugo takes her on a quest through their village to find a triangle. Only then, Adaora says, will she eat paw-paw again. The children see shapes aplenty in the objects around them—diamonds on a woman's wrapper, circles in the elephant drums, a rectangle formed by their uncle's outstretched arms in his agbada robe—but triangles prove to be elusive until at last they spot their aunt's triangular headdress. Onyefulu's (Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colors, not reviewed, etc.) photographs of people and objects are colorful and winsome, and sidebars explain the native plants or traditional objects used to form the shapes—about the crescent-shaped plantains: "These look like bananas, but they are really vegetables." What could otherwise be a charming photo essay is fatally marred by a clunky text ("The musicians were good. So we listened, and when they had finished, we followed them") and a ridiculously contrived story. How is it that Adaora has reached the ripe old age of five without having ever encountered the concept of square? The notion of teaching shapes through multicultural encounter is praiseworthy, but the book's subtitle is disingenuous at best, as this "African book of shapes" ventures no further than one unspecified village, and the culture depicted is never identified. Give this one a miss. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-8)Read full book review >
EMEKA'S GIFT by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Released: May 1, 1995

From one small boy to ten grinning cousins, Onyefulu (A Is for Africa, 1993), crafts a numbers book to teach and delight. Emeka, a little boy from the Igala tribe in southern Nigeria, travels to his grandmother's village. En route, he encounters neighbors and passes through the market, imagining the gifts he would like to take to ``Granny,'' an important part of his extended family. When he arrives at his destination, she makes clear that his presence is the best gift of all. Through Emeka's eyes, readers learn about the lives of the Igala: the spinning game children play, the markets where villagers meet, the brooms and hats used every day, the mortar and pestle for grinding up food. Onyefulu ably relays the rhythm of daily life in full-color photos of musical instruments, the greetings of Emeka's cousins, in his grandmother's face. A graceful counting lesson. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-9) Read full book review >
A IS FOR AFRICA by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A London-based photographer offers images of traditional life and culture in her Nigerian homeland. Sharp, sun-drenched photos filled with smiles and bright colors create an idealized impression of village life, with little evidence of poverty and only occasional, inadvertent, signs of modern influences—a child wearing a T-shirt, or oil lamps made from recycled milk tins. In an introduction and many of the brief captions, the author suggests that the drums, beads, mud huts, family structures, and other details she captures on film represent Africa in microcosm, a risky sort of reductionism. The diversity—and unities—of African culture are evoked more effectively for younger readers by Musgrove's Ashanti to Zulu (1976); the photos in Chiasson's African Journey (1987) provide a more multifaceted view of village life. Visually appealing, but simplistic. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >