The Kaya Girl (Hardcover)

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The Kaya Girl By Mamle Wolo Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Faisa and Abena have two things in common; they’re both 14 and natives of Ghana, but in all kinds of ways, they are far different from each other. Abena is a privileged young lady, while Faesa lives on the street and carries shoppers’ wares in a basket on her head. When these girls become friends, Abena realizes how frivolous her life is when compared to the meaningful, but difficult life of Faesa. This story presents an opportunity for teens/advanced juvenile readers to ponder whether conveniences and wealth make you happy, or do they merely stand in the way of true contentment?


Check out the audiobook!

— From Awesome August Staff Picks


This rags-to-riches story by an award-winning Ghanaian author has page-turning appeal with luminous literary resonance. 

Writing with effortlessly engaging prose, Wolo showcases the interweaving layers of Ghanaian culture to create a prismatic, multifaceted world in which two young girls, against all odds, are able to find each other.
When Faiza, a Muslim migrant girl from northern Ghana, and Abena, a wealthy doctor’s daughter from the south, meet by chance in Accra’s largest market, where Faiza works as a porter or kaya girl, they strike up an unlikely and powerful friendship that transcends their social inequities and opens up new worlds to them both.
Set against a backdrop of class disparity in Ghana, The Kaya Girl has shades of The Kite Runner in its unlikely friendship, and of Slumdog Millionaire as Faiza’s life takes unlikely turns that propel her thrillingly forward. As, over the course of the novel, Abena awakens to the world outside her sheltered, privileged life, the novel explores a multitude of awakenings and the opportunities that lie beyond the breaking down of barriers. This is a gorgeously transporting work, offering vivid insight into two strikingly diverse young lives in Ghana.

About the Author

MAMLE WOLO is an award-winning Ghanaian-German author who studied at the University of Cambridge and the University of Lancaster in the UK, and is an Honorary Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa. She writes fiction, poetry, and screenplays and lives with her family in Accra, Ghana.

Praise For…

Praise for The Kaya Girl:

"Middle graders will enjoy being transported to the sights, sounds, smells, and flavors of the Makola Market in Accra, Ghana, which set the stage for Adena’s summer."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "A heartwarming and inspiring tale of a friendship that surpasses class differences and social stigma."—Kirkus, starred review

*"Employing realistic dialogue and lush descriptions of the sights, smells, and tastes of Ghana, this smart exploration of friendship’s lasting power centers two teens expanding and exploring their worlds."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"...will transport readers to Ghana."Booklist

"Readers...will also recognize that moving beyond bias can be an act of individual courage and choice."—BCCB
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316703932
ISBN-10: 0316703931
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 28th, 2022
Pages: 336
Language: English