– Daniel Clarke, James Clarke, Daniel Snaddon –
Published 6 June 2023
Kariba is a gorgeous middle-grade graphic novel. Based part on true story and part on ancient African mythology, Kariba is the story of Siku.
Unbeknownst to her, Siku is the daughter of the Great River Spirit, Nyaminyami. Raised by a human father, Siku’s powers grow and threaten to reveal themselves when a dam is built on the river, changing the river’s flow and natural balance. Siku is the only one with the ability to right things, but her father fears that means he will lose her forever and the dam builders will do anything to stop her.
From pirates to wondrous underwater creatures, this tale of adventure has it all. That it is based on true historical events and African mythology, makes it perfect for class discussion or a research starting point. While the story does seem to convey some messages about caring for our environment and ensuring balance, the indigenous peoples are still forced to move and there is still a push for moving forward, but I guess this represents the historical events that did take place, the time it happened and again, makes a good discussion starting point with questions such as “would that happen in today’s time?” And “what would you do to provide a solution?” And “is there a solution that works for everyone?”
Kariba is richly illustrated. The colours are deep and perfectly match this powerful story about balance, family and life.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Middle grade fiction graphic novel
Themes: Legends, folklore, Africa, water, dams, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 10 and up.
Published: 6 June 2023 by Catalyst Press
Format: Paperback, ebook. 230 pages.