- Title: Figgy in the World
- Author: Tamsin Janu
- Category: Children’s Fiction
- Publisher: Omnibus/Scholastic Australia 2014
- Awards: Joint Winner NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Joint Winner: Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Fiction. Shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Book Prize and the CBCA Awards in the Younger Readers category.
Summary: Figgy has two problems. One is her name. Nobody in Ghana has that name. The other is that her grandmother is ill and needs special medicine. Figgy can’t do much about her name, but she can do something for Grandma Ama. She will go to America and bring back the medicine, and Kwame, her special goat, will go with her. Out in the wide world she will meet some bad people, but she will also find good friends.
Review: Tamsin Janu was inspired to write fiction for children after living for three months in Ghana, West Africa and working at a school and orphanage. In reading this novel I could really feel that experience coming through in the story.
The voice of Figgy captured me from page 1. She was a delightful character to read with such an innocent and wonderfully fresh outlook on the world. Figgy, who is the only Figgy in her village in Ghana, or the World she thinks, heads off with her beloved goat Kwame to make her way to the United States of America for medicine for her Grandma Ama. It doesn’t even occur to her that she can’t do it. Figgy wants to go to the United States to help her Grandma – so she sets out to do it! Simple! Children have such a straight forward thought process – one that I wish as an adult I could have kept hold of as I got older – but generally it leaves us all, or most of us anyway.
What a brave, resilient and observant little girl is Figgy, and although there are a few moments in the book where I thought some of the help that came along was extremely fortuitous, it didn’t take away from the story, or the wonderful voice of Figgy.
In Figgy’s incredible search for medicine for Grandma Ama, she faces many ordeals, both good and bad, meets new friends, including the resilient Nana, a boy she meets along the way, and learns about the ways of the World outside her village. Their adventures on their way to the ‘United Stilts of America’ as Nana puts it, is sometimes funny, often sad, and highly entertaining. This would be a great read for kids from 8 or 9 up, or to read out aloud to a class, or to your kids at home. And in a world of technology and excess, it shows us what is really important when it comes down to it, our family and friends, our health, shelter, food & water, but most of all love.
Congratulations to Tamsin on her joint win for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Fiction and good luck for the 2015 CBCA’s Younger Readers category.
Read all Welcome To My Library Book Reviews HERE
Bio: I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I studied law and international and global studies at the University of Sydney, and since January 2014 have worked as a youth worker in a remote community in the Northern Territory Central Desert.
I am inspired to write by the things I have seen and experienced. My first children’s novel, Figgy in the World, was born from memories of my three-month stay in Ghana, West Africa in 2009. It follows a little Ghanaian girl named Figgy and her goat Kwame on a mission to find the medicine that will make Figgy’s Grandma Ama well again. Many of the locations I visited and Ghanaian kids I met are depicted in my novel.
This book has been read and reviewed for the 2015 Australian Women Writers challenge. To read more about the challenge see their website www.australianwomenwriters.com To read about why I joined click HERE.