‘Mama’s Sleeping Scarf,’ Chimamanda’s first children book.



  • One of the hallmarks of a skilled writer is versatility; ability to put out works cutting across genres.
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has not only established herself as a skilled writer, but she has also registered her voice as one to reckon with.
  • In addition to the assorted works credited to her, she has also, with this new work of hers, touched on a vital area – the child/mother relationship.


Best-selling and globally renowned Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie announced her latest book titled ‘Mama’s Sleeping Scarf’ in an Instagram post recently. The forthcoming literary work, published under the Pseudonym ‘Nwa Grace-James’, scheduled for release in September 2023, will be the first children’s book from this ace African author, and the 11th book of her eminent career.



‘Mama’s Sleeping Scarf’ is based on a day in the life of Adichie’s daughter, who was three years old at the time, and celebrates the modest pleasures of everyday life, in Lagos. It revolves around a little girl’s fondness for her mother’s scarf and the countless escapades that follows. The beautifully illustrated book centers on Chino, a young girl, as she plays with her mum’s head tie, sights her grandfather on his walk and, eventually, retires to her bed; chiefly a picture of family life – with its associated natural moments and all the marvels packed in the day – as seen through the rose-colored lenses of an infant.


Joelle Avelino, a London-based artist of Congolese and Angolan descent, illustrated the creative work. The story, spirited and ecstatic, is inspired by the Adichie family; and will be published under a pseudonym. Its attention on family and the emotive timbre of everyday items promises to make it a riveting read. The book will be available in hardcover and e-book formats, and as an audiobook by Penguin Random House. The US rights were acquired from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency.



Adichie’s editor at Knopf, Lexy Bloom, said: “At the heart of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bold, big-hearted novels are the essential themes of love and family, which she excels in narrating from a variety of perspectives. It is fitting, then, that she now turns her exceedingly talented eye to a children’s book, wherein we see the daily life of a little girl who worries when her mother leaves for the day, who turns a scarf into a plaything, who takes comfort in the warm embrace of the family around her. Through this lens, we are privileged to see Chimamanda as a mother, as a daughter, and as a powerful storyteller for a new generation.”


Chimamanda, born in Nigeria, is the author of the short story, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, the popular ‘Purple Hibiscus’, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, and ‘Americanah’; she is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also authored three nonfiction books: ‘Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’, ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ which was inspired by, and based on, her TED Talk of the same title, and, most recently, the autobiography ‘Notes on Grief’. A mother, an Afrocentric writer, a deep thinker, and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Adichie shuttles between Nigeria and the United States.


Joelle Avelino is a Congolese and Angolan illustrator who grew up in the UK. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Illustration with Marketing from the University of Hertfordshire. Avelino has illustrated several titles, including the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Baroness Floella Benjamin’s classic memoir ‘Coming to England’.


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