Chibundo Onuzo and Adjoa Andoh.

Nigerian author Chibundo Onuzo’s debut children’s book Mayowa and the Sea of Words will be voiced by Bridgerton actress Adjoa Andoh.

Onuzo’s book is the first in an adventure trilogy about one girl’s power to change the world through the magic of book-jumping. It will be published on June 20 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Onuzo commented to The Bookseller that this book is quite close to her heart since it speaks to her own childhood and the lack of Black and African children at the center of most narratives back then:

I wrote this book because I like adventures and I like girls having adventures. Most of the adventure stories I read as a child had white children at the centre of the narrative. I […] would have loved to read an adventure story where the main character was called Mayowa. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I knew many Mayowas. I did not know many Annes, or Katies, or Heidis.

It is incredible special then that Andoh, a Black British actress, is narrating Onuzo’s story about a young Nigerian girl going on adventures!

Ten-year-old Mayowa had always thought that her Grandpa Edward, who dyes his beard emerald green and jumps on books in private, was rather unusual. Until one day she jumps on a book for herself, and uncovers a family secret – Mayowa can book jump. Read the full synopsis below:

By jumping on a book, she can harness the emotions inside it and channel them directly into other people. And when the opportunity to use her power to save the lives of countless refugees presents itself, Mayowa wants to jump in with both feet.

But Mayowa and her grandpa aren’t the only book jumpers in existence. And not everybody wants to use this power for good …

Chibundo Onuzo is a successful Nigerian writer and author of three novels. They include Sankofa, Welcome to Lagos, and her debut novel The Spider King’s Daughter, which won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

As a performance artist and singer, Onuzo will release an official single for Mayowa and the Sea of Words, “Love Lives Here”, on June 20. She remarked to The Bookseller, “It’s the song Mayowa would sing to her friend Hamza, who arrived in England as a refugee after a long and perilous journey. She would reassure him, ’Love lives here, no matter if you’re far or near. You’re never alone, trust me you can always come home’.”

Congrats to Onuzo and Andoh on this amazing collaboration! Buy the book here.