Nandi has been inspiring girls all across the country, and she loves meeting new little faces. Grab your little ones a copy of Nandi’s Unexpected Gift today!
With her 10th birthday coming up, Nandi is eager to receive a special gift that she’s never asked for before, something that makes her feel like she’s really growing up and becoming more like her big sister Vanessa. She and her buddies Anara and Lila have some very important studying to do for school, but Nandi’s excitement about her birthday causes her to lose focus and head down a path she wasn’t expecting to go. In the end, it’s her Grandma Janie who teaches her a very important lesson and gives her the best gift she’s ever received. The unexpected gift her grandmother gives her is not only a gift for Nandi, but for you as well!
Nandi’s Unexpected Gift Book Reviews
Read more Amazon book reviews, go here.
“In Nandi’s Unexpected Gift, Ama Kuma creates a character and a community full of Black love and Black beauty where children not only thrive to be their very best, but also see their beauty reflected in their culture and the nurturing of mamas, grandmas, teachers and friends, especially in the face of life lessons that yield the greatest gift of all: Love. All children will see themselves in Nandi and her struggle. At time when representation of Black children in American publishing is lacking, Ama Kuma gifts us Nandi’s Unexpected Gift, a story that is, in the words of Alice Walker, a ‘temple of our familiar.'”
-Tony Medina, Poet, Children’s Book Author, Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University
“As a mother to a young girl, I look for diversity in the books I choose for her to read. Ama’s story Nandi’s Unexpected Gift not only celebrates the beauty of our young brown girls, she captures the sense of family, and our values as well. Nandi’s Unexpected Gift is a story for young and older audiences. I was able to share and enjoy this story with my daughter along with the beauty of seeing a young girl who mirrored her reflection. This is a timeless story, by a truly extraordinary author. I can’t wait for the next story in Nandi’s journey.”
-Elle Henry, Managing Editor/Owner, Tres Chic Edits
“There is a certain urgency to the life of a young African American girl discovering what makes her unique in a world that seems to demand that everyone fit some standard that is based on how we look or what we wear. It is a journey shared by many youth, one often too mysterious and difficult to understand. But here, in Nandi’s Unexpected Gift, author Ama Kuma creates an intimate space for discovery through a familiar experience rendered anew through the life of Nandi, one super smart and adventurous young African American girl. Nandi is delightfully engaging as she counts raindrops during thunderstorms, climbs trees, makes up lyrics to the jazz her grandmother plays at home, and basks in the love of her family. Set in the lush landscape of Polk County, Florida, this story illuminates an important rite of passage in Nandi’s life as her tenth birthday approaches. There are unexpected challenges for her to face, even in the magical realm of her dreams. Avery-Liell-Kok’s illustrations reflect the vibrant lives of the characters revealed so lovingly by Ama Kuma’s writing. And the book is certainly a crucial affirmation of the spectacular lives of African American girls. It centers, lifts, and celebrates them. It is one of those children’s books that will be remembered for years to come; the kind that you hold onto far into your adult years. It is a book you pass to others, knowing they will find themselves in the pages and hold onto what’s discovered there. It is a treasure of a book, an absolute gift of a story.”
-Nina Angela Mercer, Playwright/Interdisciplinary
“Nandi’s Unexpected Gift gives its readers a gift: a story that brings to life intriguing and thoroughly human characters whose time together captures a slice of their lives and finds joy and wonder in the ordinary elements that make up their days. The adept way in which the story entwines the characters’ conversations and the accounts of their actions makes this story one that will draw in readers and convince them to turn the pages to find out what happens next.”
-AuthorHouse Editorial Dept
Book Excerpt: Nandi’s Unexpected Gift
When her mother finally pulled up in the driveway, Nandi jumped to her feet and sprinted to retrieve the carefully crafted list from under her pillow. Before her mother even made it to the front door, Nandi was already at the entrance, jumping up and down, flailing her arms about, and yelling, “Mama, Mama, I finished my birthday list!”
Her mother sighed as she rubbed Nandi’s cheek and replied, “That’s wonderful, baby doll, but give me a chance to get settled for a minute before I take a look at what you got, okay? Today was a long day at work, and I just need some peace and quiet. Also, I need you to grab another umbrella and help me get the rest of the groceries out of the back seat.”
Reluctantly, Nandi put her list down and ran back to her room to get an umbrella. She didn’t realize all the noise she’d been making had woken her grandmother from her slumber.
“Hey, now, Di-Di, what have I told you ‘bout runnin’ in the house?” her grandmother said. “Child, one day you gonna fly into a wall like a lost bird or knock over a lamp.”
“Sorry, Grandmama Janie,” Nandi replied respectfully. “I’m just excited to show Mama my birthday list. I finished it up last night.”
“That’s fine and dandy honey, but you still can’t go around runnin’ like a wild boar. You almost scared your poor Grandmama to death. I ain’t no spring chicken no more,” she said with a heavy sigh. “Now let me take a look at this list that’s got you actin’ all crazy.”
( Continued… )
© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Ama Kuma. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
Order Copies of Nandi’s Unexpected Gift
Genre: YA, Children’s Book (8-11)
About the Author
Ama Kuma was born Alexia J. Hogan in Orlando, FL. The pen name “Ama Kuma” was adopted after a trip to Ghana in 2007. As a child, she loved to read, sing, dance, and climb trees. Her passion for language and art continued to grow as she grew older, and she loved to learn about people from all walks of life. She studied English at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Africana Studies at New York University before returning to Polk County to teach elementary school. Ama currently resides in her hometown of Orlando where she enjoys writing, painting, singing, playing the piano, and going wherever the wind takes her. Nandi’s Unexpected Gift is her first published book.