August 11, 2021 7:36 AM EDT

“My name is Sunny Nwazue and I confuse people.” So says the 12-year-old narrator of Akata Witch, an American-born Igbo girl with albinism who now lives in her family’s country of origin, Nigeria. Sunny is a soccer prodigy but can’t play outside because her super-light skin can’t tolerate the sun. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, she also has magical powers. Thankfully, her world begins to make more sense when she meets a trio of other super-powered, outcast adolescents, and they set off on a quest to stop a villainous man who preys on children. Akata Witch, published in 2011, is the first in an acclaimed fantasy series that’s often described as the “Nigerian Harry Potter,” but that author Nnedi Okorafor has pointed out draws more heavily on a long tradition of Nigerian literature and mythology. The book puts a unique, inclusive spin on the timeless tale of the misfit chosen to save the world—one that earned Okorafor a Nebula Award nomination and recognition from the American Library Association. —Judy Berman

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