Reviews

For Figgy and the President:

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards comments (link)

Figgy’s voice is one of the highlights of this fine novel, which carefully considers a range of issues including child abuse, slavery and disability. Figgy is empathetic, open-minded and brimming with gratitude while Nana is beguiling and lively. While the children’s lives and culture are specific to Ghana, the portrayal of children’s hopes and dreams is universal. As an Australian author writing about children and life in Ghana with integrity, humour and authority, Tamsin Janu has created an engaging, groundbreaking work.

Readings Independent Bookstore (link)

What’s so striking about Janu’s work is the complexity of story and emotion beneath her breezy prose…Both Figgy stories are ripe for sharing, at home or in the classroom, where Figgy’s sometimes confronting world can be further understood. They can also be read simply as a little girl’s adventures, by readers of 8 and over looking for a truly compassionate and funny companion.

Alphabet Soup Magazine (Matilda, 10 years old) (link)

I recommend Figgy and the President for ages 7+, and also for people who like an exciting adventure story.

Creative Kids Tales (link)

“Figgy and the President” is an inspiring story with a unique storyline. The book kept me reading chapter after chapter, with my eyes glued to the pages. Although this is the second book of Figgy’s adventures, it is still very understandable and extremely intriguing…This book would most likely suit children aged 8-12 as they would understand the plot and find the story fascinating.

ReadPlus (link)

Another powerful and moving story from Tamsin Janu, this is a great novel for middle primary students. It introduces the issues of social justice and opens students’ eyes to life of children in other countries. Figgy and the President is an excellent resource for Year 4 Geography as a literary focus on the importance of different environments to both people and other living things and as a study of one African country.

Boomerang Books (link)

Figgy is one of the most endearing characters I have ever met. She and her Ghanaian friends and family are so richly portrayed; it is a delight to be part of their adventures. The characters are complete enough that this tale could take place almost anywhere. That it is set in Ghana is merely an enriching added bonus. As with Figgy in the World, this story is full of warmth and originality.

Reading Time Magazine(link)

Figgy is a compelling narrator. Her naive, wide-eyed curiosity and her attempts to make sense of her world (in which adult actions can be quite perplexing) should resonate in the lives of other children – even those from very different environments half way around the planet.

For Figgy in the World:

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards comments

Tamsin Janu came to write her debut children’s novel, Figgy, after spending three months working at a Ghanaian school and orphanage. Her first-hand experience has clearly infused her with an inspired understanding of a country where poverty and danger abound but where goodness and joy nevertheless course through the people. To be able to portray this world so vividly and engagingly is exemplary. To create so many distinctive and well-realised characters – including even Kwame the goat – is also remarkable. But to accomplish both with the impeccable clarity of expression necessary for appreciation by a young audience is truly a literary feat.

Australian Book Review (December 2014 issue): Books of the Year

…Figgy in the World, Tamsin Janu’s debut novel of an endearing young heroine and her pet who set off from her home in Ghana to walk to America to get medicine for her sick Grandmother.

Magpies Magazine (July 2014 issue)

Innocent and naive, but brave and determined, these children are wonderful characters who face each obstacle with courage, humour and fortitude- hungry and poor, but unstoppable. By turns heart-warming and heart-stopping, this outstanding, original and often funny story invites its readers into a challenging world of poverty, peopled with interesting characters who face very real dangers and disasters but are also strengthened by warmth and affection…For its insights into the very different lives of rural poor children in Ghana and for its surprising scenes, events, dialogue and characters, this book would make a thought-provoking and engrossing class novel. Highly recommended for mid to upper primary readers.

Aussie Reviews (link)

Figgy in the World is simply delightful. From the design of the front cover to the final page, the reader is introduced to an entrancing girl wrapped in both innocence and knowledge, determined to achieve her goal. She is on a quest. Figgy tells her story in first person and the reader can gauge where her knowledge and her innocence overlap and hold their breath as she gets herself into and out of trouble. She is assisted, and hindered, by Kwame and her new friend Nana. Figgy’s search for America and medicine is full of twists and turns, humour and friendship. Set in Ghana, this is a universal story about love and friendship, adventure and belonging. Highly recommended for mid-primary and beyond.

ReadPlus (Fran Knight) (link)

I heartily recommend this book to middle to upper primary readers, for a taste of a culture so unlike out own, for a look at children’s lives so dissimilar, and a look at a country half a world away. This would make a fabulous read-aloud and form an outstanding addition to the novels to be read as part of the Geography Curriculum strategies.

ReadPlus (Rhyllis Bignell) (link)

Tamsin Janu’s debut novel is a rewarding read. To write this engaging story she has drawn from her experiences working with children in Ghana. Figgy’s optimism carries the story, despite her difficult circumstances the love for her grandma carries her through. Highly recommended for independent readers from 8 years. A fantastic read aloud for a class novel.

Reading Time Magazine (link)

Figgy in the World is a wonderful story about courage, naivety, family, friendship, resilience and a child’s determination. It also provides a fascinating insight into African culture. Janu lived in Ghana for three months working at a school and an orphanage. Suitable for children aged 8-12 years but older children and adults will enjoy the tale too. I did.

Good Reading Magazine (link)

Figgy and Nana may be young, but they are brave, resourceful and clever. This is a road-trip story with a difference. Set in Ghana and written by someone who obviously loves the country and its people, the story draws the reader in, enchanting them with the determined little girl with the unusual name.

‘Readings,’ an independent Australian book retailer (link)

Written by a young Australian who has worked with children in Ghana, this really is an impressive debut. Figgy’s rationalisations about the world are a hundred times nicer than the truth – she’s a charming Pollyanna-type who will melt hearts. Her world is harsh but she puts a positive spin on everything. Figgy in the World is uplifting and funny, and highly recommended as a family read or independently for ages 8 and up.

Lamont Books (link)

Figgy In The World is set in Ghana and the innocent voice that tells this story is both refreshing and fun…This will be an eye-opener for younger children, 8 years old and up, who will gain an experience of life far outside of their own. It is also wonderfully well written and a thoroughly nice story.

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