Title: “Zahrah the Windseeker”
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Publication Date: February 2008
Number of Pages: 320
In the northern Ooni Kingdom fear of the unknown runs deep, and children born dada are rumored to have special powers. Thirteen year old Zahrah Tsami feels like a normal kid – she grows her own flora computer; has mirrors sewn onto her cloths; and stays clear of the Forbidden Greeny Jungle.
But unlike other kids in the village of Kirki, Zahrah was born with the telling dadalocks. Only her best friend, Dari, isn’t afraid of her – even when something unusual begins happening to her – something that definitely makes her different.
The two friends determine to investigate, edging closer and closer to danger. When Dari’s life is endangered, Zahrah must face her worst fears all by herself, including the very thing that makes her different.
Source: Nnedi Okorafor’s web site
I really enjoyed reading this book – the world building was fantastic and the characters interesting. I had fun learning about the characters and following Zahrah on her adventure. Nnedi wrote a review for Avatar on her blog where she mentioned that others had said that the movie reminded them of her book. I agree with the comparison – the descriptions of the jungle are just as beautiful as the visuals in the movie. I definitely like the books descriptions best because we learn everything through Zahrah’s interactions with the jungle and its inhabitants.
The best part about the book I think is the way Zahrah grows during the course of her adventure. She starts out rather scared of a lot of things and a bit hesitant to take any risks. As the story progresses and as she realizes she has too be brave in order to save her friend she learns a lot about herself in the process. She can’t learn to use her powers until she learns to deal with her fears.