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Looking Up - Abena Eyeson

Looking Up

By: Abena Eyeson

Paperback | 18 January 2019

At a Glance

Paperback


$19.93

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Thirteen-year-old Esi is reluctantly on her way to London, England. After many happy years with Grandma in Ghana, she is joining Maggie, the mother she hasn't lived with since the age of six. Her move to London, not only forces Esi to deal with challenges she's never faced before, but it brings up lots of questions about Solomon, her absent father, and Maggie - the answers to which in the end change her life. 

Looking Up is a compelling drama about family separation, migration and the resilience of love.

In 2021, Abena was a Faber Children's FAB Prize Commended Text Winner and was also longlisted for the inaugural Jericho Prize (UK) for one of her picture books.

Industry Reviews

"A sensitive and delightful story of tension and reconciliation in a Ghanaian family in London."  Professor A N Mensah, Retired Professor of English, University of Ghana

 

"Esi is a teenager living in Ghana. She has been living with her grandmother, auntie and cousin ever since her mother, Maggie, moved to London six years ago. It was long known that one day Esi would join her mother in London but when the plans are finally made, Esi becomes nervous and depressed. The story follows Esi as she moves to a new city, in a new country, with a mother she hardly knows. 

Looking Up is a breezy read that gives great insight into teenage life, immigrant viewpoints, and multicultural perspectives. Through her migration and adjustment story, we learn more about her family roots and cultural traditions in Ghana. Esi's grandmothers and school friends are critical characters. Some are the source of her challenges while others guide her through tough times. The story covers the topics of bullying, parenting styles, divorce, the role of extended family, and ethnocentrism/racism. For example, Esi is put in lower-level classes because of assumptions made of her previous schooling in "Africa." She is mistreated by friends because of the way she talks and who she hangs out with. 

My favorite part of the story is when Esi befriends a kid with Bangladeshi roots and she makes connections between her Ghanaian culture and his. I also enjoyed the many female characters who are not portrayed as heroines or villains, but complex, nuanced women. 

This book would foster great discussion among teenagers ...Highly Recommended."

Reviewed by Anastasia Shown, MSW, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice

Published in Africa Access Review (October 1, 2019)


"From the moment Esi reluctantly boards the plane at Kotoka bound for Heathrow, the excitement build ups to when she arrives in her new home. Does Esi settle into her new school? Will Kojo's attitude and frozen heart thaw? What of the family secrets? Enter the paternal grandmother Asantewa. What follows are unexpected twists in this family drama as Esi uncovered more truths or more precisely, draws them out from her straight-talking grandmother, Asantewa. Esi is her namesake after all. 

Abena Eyeson's writing draws in the reader with carefully placed reveals, challenges the reader's assumptions, whilst all the time offering warm, flowing and witty conversations. The characters are well rounded and rich that I could see them on screen. Abena is a truly engaging writer who could write about any subject and engage readers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, especially the intergenerational interactions and how changes affect societies. I loved increasing my knowledge of the language of Twi from just akwaba to more words including medaase or phrases such as brebiara ye. Welcome, thank you and everything will be ok is now in your vocab. "Yes, life is looking up!" for Esi Asantewa. Get a copy to find out how the story of Esi ends in this drama that can be read by the young and adults alike. Medaase Abena for providing the Kindle Book."

Nataka Book Reviews 2021 Looking Up (natakabooks.co.uk)


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