Children of the Quicksands by Efua Traore




When Simi spends the summer with her grandmother, she learns of a new life and community beyond the Nigerian city of Lagos and is told about a forbidden lake where children are disappearing;   a story to keep youngsters away from the lake……..or is it??  Simi needs to discover the truth of this mystery as she appears to have become a part of it. Intrigue, ghostly spirits and themes of family and community intertwine in a wonderfully written tale full of Yoruba mythical legend. Set in a beautiful jungle environment , this fascinating story also includes its own glossary of new vocabulary you will come across as you read!


The main character is Simi, she is 13 and she lives in Nigeria, Lagos. She has been sent to stay with her grandmother in Ago for the Summer holiday. There Simi finds quicksand into a different world. The book is adventurous and good for age 10+. By: Leo (age 8). Rating: 4.25/5.

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In a remote Nigerian village, thirteen-year-old Simi is desperate to uncover a family secret …

City girl Simi is sent to stay with her long-lost grandmother in a remote Nigerian village. There’s no TV, internet or phone. Not a single human-made sound can be heard at night, just the noise of birds and animals rustling in the dark forest outside. Her witchlike grandmother dispenses advice and herbal medicine to the village, but she’s tight lipped about their family history. Something must have happened, but what? Determined to find out, Simi disobeys her grandmother and goes exploring. Caught in the sinking red quicksand of a forbidden lake, her fantastical journey begins … A richly imagined magical fantasy adventure set in West Africa by a prize-winning new voice in children’s writing. Introduces readers to Yoruba myths and legends whilst showcasing the wealth of culture, traditions, adventure, fun, joy, celebrations, music, pride and love found in Nigeria. Beautifully explores themes of grief and belonging. Efua is the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018.

WINNER OF THE 2019 TIMES/CHICKEN HOUSE CHILDREN’S FICTION COMPETITION ‘A joy of a book: rich, warm, powerful storytelling’ KATHERINE RUNDELL ‘A thrilling adventure bright with the gorgeous colours of Nigeria – glorious!’ JASBINDER BILAN ‘A magical adventure in a beautiful setting’ SOPHIE ANDERSON ‘[A] beautifully evoked story’ THE TELEGRAPH

More praise for Children of the Quicksands: ‘Gorgeous … an enthralling story’ ABI ELPHINSTONE ‘[A] terrific debut novel’ YABA BADOE ‘Traore’s storytelling feels almost otherworldly … exhilarating’ THE TIMES ‘A stunning debut’ THE SCOTSMAN ‘Full of secrets and myths’ THE OBSERVER

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