Book Cover

Anansi, a young city-dwelling boy, flies overseas to Ghana with his parents and siblings to visit his grandmother. In Nana’s seaside community, Anansi climbs coconut trees, helps fishermen pull in their nets, and enjoys red-red (Ghanaian bean stew), his favorite food. One day, at the beach, Anansi meets the real Anansi the Spider, whom he’s heard so much about. The spider reveals to Anansi a golden pot that will magically fill itself with whatever the boy most desires if he utters a charm. When Anansi gives it a try, the pot immediately fills with red-red. The spider warns Anansi that “you must share what you love with those you love the most,” but the boy hides the pot and secretly binges on red-red for several days before learning a lesson about the importance of generosity. Selasi creatively reimagines the classic West African folktale of “Anansi and the Pot of Beans,” distinguishing this retelling from previous adaptations by putting a contemporary child at the center of the story. The characters have Ghanaian names, and both the text and illustrations include interesting cultural details—like the kaftans Nana wears and the Adinkra symbols scattered throughout the illustrations (the backmatter includes a symbol key)—making this a good experiential introduction to Ghanaian culture. Complementing the folklore-inspired text well is Fagborun’s brightly colored artwork that lends a folk-art sensibility.


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