#IntlYALitMonth: The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel

The Girl With the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré

In the Nigerian village where fourteen-year-old Adunni lives, girls and women are treated as commodities. The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré is the story of Adunni finding her “louding voice,” making herself heard in a world that wants her silence. Since her mother died, her father has been drinking more and taking care of his family less, not paying the rent and putting them at risk of losing their shelter. He trades Adunni for food and money to an older taxi driver who has two other wives, neither of whom has given him a son. Adunni resists marriage to the taxi driver with all of her soul because she wants to become a teacher. Her education was short-lived, but her love of learning pushes her to reach further and be more.

With the value placed on males in their culture, Adunni’s husband expects her to have a boy soon after the marriage. The jealousy between the wives over who will bear their husband a son frequently leads to violence. That along with the nightly “roughing” (read rape) by her husband makes Adunni long for a way out. Unexpectedly, the death of one of the other wives gives her the opportunity to escape, though the “free” she wants is not quite as simple as she’d hoped. In a society where women have no agency, Adunni is dependent on strangers, few of whom have her best interests in mind. 

Despite the voices telling her that her life has no value, Adunni keeps dreaming and working to get an education. More importantly, she never stops believing that she can be more than a subservient wife or an object that can be used or sold at the whim of a man. Her strength and sense of self overlies the themes of poverty, addiction and sexual violence, not taking away the impact of those events but asserting her power to move forward in spite of them. In a voice that is both perceptive and guileless, Adunni’s story is a window into contemporary life in Nigeria and her experiences serve as a mirror for countless women around the world.

Wendy is a librarian focused on youth services at the historic William H. Smiley Branch of Denver Public Library. Her favorite way to spend the work day is creating personalized reading lists for young readers and introducing them to authors with lived experience. She is a Colorado native who enjoys all things dog and mountain.

JULIA E. TORRES is a nationally recognized veteran language arts teacher, librarian, and teen programs administrator in Denver, Colorado. Julia facilitates teacher development workshops rooted in the areas of anti-racist education, equity and access in literacy and librarianship, and education as a practice of liberation. Julia’s work has been featured on NPR, AlJazeera’s The Stream, PBS Education, KQED’s MindShift, Rethinking Schools, Learning for Justice Magazine, School Library Journal, American Libraries Magazine, and many more. She is a Book Love Foundation board member, Educolor Working Group member, a Book Ambassador for The Educator Collaborative, and a co-founder of #DisruptTexts. Her co-authored title Liven Up Your Library: Design Engaging and Inclusive Programs for Teens and Tweens is just the first of many forthcoming publications for librarians and educators. Learn more about Julia on her website juliaetorres.com or on social media @juliaerin80

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