A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Glimpses into daily lives of several families who live in rural Nigerian town. Town populated by Christians and Muslims, who live peacefully sharing friendships, birthdays, family events. A long afterword by Italian journalist Viviana Mazza details true stories of several girls kidnapped by Boko Haram and the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign that made their story international news.
Positive Role Models
Ya Ta has everything taken from her -- her family, her home, even her name. She remains defiant (just coming to the line that would get her killed if she crossed it) and, in the end, brave enough to make a run for freedom.
Violence & Scariness
Men, women, children are slaughtered. Men and women are beheaded, have their throats slit. Children are murdered; girls are lashed, beaten by captors for being disobedient. Women and teen girls are raped by Boko Haram soldiers. Teens are given as "virgin brides" to soldiers. While these acts are rarely described in detail, even reading that they occurred could be disturbing to some.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, by Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is based on the real-life experiences of girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Told in short chapters by a teen girl nicknamed Ya Ta, it begins as she plans a new life at a boarding school far from her home in rural Nigeria. But the town is attacked by Boko Haram, and she and the other women and girls are taken captive, with little hope of escape. Although the kidnappers routinely commit unspeakably violent acts (men and women are beheaded and have their throats slit, children are murdered, girls are lashed and beaten, and women and teen girls are raped), the narration rarely describes any in detail. This is a powerful fictional story that may inspire readers to learn more about (and even become advocates for) teen girls held captive around the world.
Is It Any Good?
This simply told but emotionally intense story about one girl shines a bright light on the plight of untold thousands of other kidnapped women and girls. While Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree may be set in a world far from that of its readers, they'll quickly find they have many things in common with Ya Ta, including anxiety about doing well in school, a first crush, and problems with a best friend.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.