Juma and the Magic Jinn
Juma and the Magic Jinn.
: Lothrop, 1986. $12.95,
Note: Juma likes to sing and draw but dislikes school until the jinn of the jar teaches him better.
Lamu, Kenya is the setting for this picture book. Bored with school and endless math problems, Juma longs to go someplace where there is nothing to learn and no one to remind him to behave. Storekeepers spin yarns about beautiful jinns (spirits who often take human form) who make magic but Juma doubts that they really exist. When Juma pops the cork on a blue jinn jar and a lovely jinn appears and offers him a wish, his doubts vanish. Seizing the opportunity to escape, he replies, "I wish to be someplace...new where I cannot learn anything. I am tired of learning things." Juma soon discovers the folly of his wish and seeks to return to school and home. This book is instructive as well as entertaining. Lamu was once an important city-state in the ancient international trading area known as Azania. Traders from Persia, India, and China came to the island to exchange their goods for African ones. A major result of this trade was a blend of African, Arab, and Asian cultures. Anderson demonstrates her awareness.
Reviewed by: Brenda Randolph, Africa Access
Subject: Kenya / Fiction / East Africa / City and town life