Work Title: Amadi's Snowman
Work Author(s): Katia Novet Saint-Lot; Dimitrea Tokunbo, illustrator
Hardcover, $16.95 (28 pp)
Children's Picture Book
Reviewer: Elizabeth Breau
When Amadi defiantly tells his mother, "I'm an Igbo man of Nigeria...I'll be a trader. I don't need to read to do business," the shakiness of claiming manhood when still a foot shorter than his mother jumps out at the reader almost as much as the ignorance revealed by his claim. When he sees Mrs. Chikodili, who has volunteered to teach him to read, he runs away to the market. After enjoying a mango, he sees an older boy, Chima, sneaking a look at a book at the bookstall: "That Chima boy thinks my bookstall is a library," complains the merchant. Looking inside the book, Amadi is entranced by a picture of "a boy bundled up in clothes [who] stood next to a strange animal with a nose that looked like a carrot. Everywhere around, the ground and trees sparkled, blinding white."
Amadi has misplaced pride about what it means to be an Igbo man---a counter-cultural resonance that will make intuitive sense to minority boys in American...