Aya de Yopougon

(Tome 1)

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…

Publication Information

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)

Race/Ethnic/Geographic Information

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.

  • Classroom use:

    • 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 michelle.carrillo@gmail.com if you have questions about this novel.