Aya de Yopougon
by Marguerite Abouet
Côte d'Ivoire, 1978. Aya, dix-neuf ans, vit à Yopougon, un quartier populaire d'Abidjan. Ça sent le début des vacances mais très vite les choses vont commencer à se gâter…
Published: 2005 - 2010
Originally written in French
Number of Pages: 100
Recommended FSL Programs and Grades
Grade 11 (Core, Extended, Immersion)
Grade 12 (Core, Extended, Immersion)
Author: French (originally from Côte d’Ivoire)
Characters: African (Côte d’Ivoire)
Setting: Yopougon, Côte d’Ivoire
Notes from a teacher-reader
Graphic novel, quick read (series of 6).
Takes place in the 1970s in Côte d'Ivoire.
Characters are 19-20 years old.
Hook: Young people sneaking off to empty marketplace to make out/have sex, premarital sex and pregnancy, marriage and cheating.
Themes around family, work, young people, studies, opportunities and attitudes towards women.
Not appropriate for younger students, mature content (sexual relationships with 19-20 year olds).
However this is not graphic and not shown in the images, just behind the scenes.
It’s about choosing your own path.
Family troubles: Father is cheating.
Important to talk about context: what the world was like in the 1970s, talk about social values, and note that Côte d’Ivoire has evolved since then. (students might be a bit judgemental about some aspects)
It does not feel dated. Very colorful, does not feel like it’s taking place in the 70s.
Students might relate to it (how their parents grew up).
Aya is a hard-working student, wants to be a doctor, wants to do things differently from her friends. Another young man who does not have a job or interests fixes up his life so he can get together with Aya.
There are success stories - important to note how to address the stories in the book and make sure not to reinforce negative stereotypes.
Great to address intercultural competence because it highlights different worldviews - explain this to students.
Relatable to older students
Important to explain difference now in Côte d'Ivoire and Canada
Lexique of vocabulary from Côte d'Ivoire.
Feel free to contact the teacher-reader, Michelle Carrillo, at email@example.com if you have questions about this novel.