READ THE WORLD – Central African Republic: The Magic Doll by Adrienne Yabouza and Élodie Nouhen

The Magic Doll is a “children’s book inspired by African art” and is about a young girl whose mother cared for a doll when she was unable to have children.

The Magic Doll is a proper children’s book – it’s a large hardback with some beautiful illustrations – and I haven’t read a children’s book since I was a very young child so reading this now was a bit of a different experience.

I did really like the illustrations by Élodie Nouhen. They often took up whole pages and the women stood out due to the different patterns on their clothing. The colours and shapes used were also great and I liked how simple but effective they were.

The story itself, while written simply and from a child’s point of view, is actually one about a more adult concept; Infertility and the shame, judgement and heartache that that can bring. It’s not really what I expected from a children’s book but it’s written in a way that shows that the other women were wrong to judge the mother for not getting pregnant straightaway and how she has a supportive husband. Most of all though The Magic Doll is about love and the lengths parents would go to for their children.

I appreciated at the end of the book there was information on the real Akua’ba Dolls, how they came to be and what they were for. It’s the sort of thing that adults might find interesting and it has any answers to questions children may have considering The Magic Doll is based on a real object used by women for generations and across different tribes.

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