The Magic Doll
A Children's Book Inspired by African Art
Families of all kinds will appreciate this simple
tale of love and longing, motherhood and
In a small village in West Africa, a young girl explains the special way she was born. Her mother had difficulty getting pregnant, so she seeks help in the form of a doll which she treats like a human baby, carrying it on her back and covering it with kisses. Months go by and finally the woman’s belly begins to grow! This beautiful story explores the Akua-Ba fertility figures of the Akan people of Ghana, while also depicting the deep love a mother has for her children. Élodie Nouhen’s subtle, gorgeous illustrations combine collage and prints that are reminiscent of traditional African art, while remaining uniquely contemporary. Each spread communicates the look and feel of West Africa—the blazing yellow of the sun, the deep blue of the sky, the richly patterned textiles, and vibrant flora and fauna. Adrienne Yabouza’s text echoes the rhythms of life in her homeland—the Central African Republic. The book closes with a short introduction to African art and the importance of fertility statues in African cultures.
Adrienne Yabouza is of Yakoma heritage from the Central African Republic. A widowed mother to five children, she fled the Congo in 2013 in the midst of civil war. She was granted political asylum in Cotes d’Armour, France where she currently lives.
Élodie Nouhen is an illustrator who experiments with different materials, including fabric, metal, papers, and found objects, in her workshop in Montreuil, France.