I’ve known Elizabeth Agyemang for a few years now and I’m so excited for her graphic novel debut. Fibbed is a story about stories and belief. Rich with story telling and color, it’s a story that is perfect for middle grade readers. I loved how committed Fibbed is to making new friends and our family. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Everyone says that the wild stories Nana tells are big fibs. But she always tells the truth, as ridiculous as it sounds to hear about the troupe of circus squirrels stealing her teacher’s toupee. When another outlandish explanation lands her in hot water again, her parents announce that Nana will be spending the summer with her grandmother in Ghana.
She isn’t happy to be missing the summer camp she’s looked forward to all year, or to be living with family that she barely knows, in a country where she can’t really speak the native language. But all her worries get a whole lot bigger–literally–when she comes face-to-face with Ananse, the trickster spider of legend.
Nana soon discovers that the forest around the village is a place of magic watched over by Ananse. But a group of greedy contractors are draining the magic from the land, intent on selling the wishes for their own gain. Nana must join forces with her cousin Tiwaa, new friend Akwesi, and Ananse himself to save the magic from those who are out to steal it before the magic–and the forest–are gone for good.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Fibbed is multi-layered. I began by immediately loving how when Nana gets to Ghana, she feels this disconnect. How she doesn’t speak Twi and while she is aware of her heritage, there’s this gap. Talk about relatable diaspora feels. At the same time, Fibbed features Nana who no one believes. My heart broke for her especially as she keeps being called a liar! Drawing on Ghanian lore, Fibbed then turns into an action story. See what I mean about it being multi-faceted?
When the adventure begins to rise, I could not stop reading. Agyemang delivers a story rich in oral storytelling and about the power of stories. How stories can inspire fear and courage. All the ways we can use stories to fight back. And how we can tend to disbelieve stories due to wonder or fear. Fibbed is a pure delight. It manages to balance difficult subjects such as environmental exploitation and diasporic feelings with a story full of adventure and courage.
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