Listen to an extract of the audiobook here.

Blooms­bury Children’s Books is delighted to announce a major cam­paign for the launch of award-win­ning author Chibundu Onuzo’s debut children’s nov­el May­owa and the Sea of Words, includ­ing an audiobook edi­tion nar­rated by acclaimed act­or Adjoa Andoh, best known for her role in Netflix’s hit show Bridger­ton which is back on screens for its this week.

Chibundu is already an estab­lished, award-win­ning adult author. Her most recent book Sankofa, pub­lished in 2021, was a Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club choice and her debut nov­el The Spider King’s Daugh­ter won the Betty Trask Award. Now she has seam­lessly trans­ferred her skills to the children’s mar­ket.

May­owa and the Sea of Words has all the hall­marks of a time­less clas­sic – a unique nar­rat­ive voice com­bined with high-stakes adven­ture, bril­liantly real­ised fantasy, a heart for social justice and ideas that will stay with read­ers long after the final page. As the start of a tri­logy burst­ing with inter­na­tion­al appeal, the series is primed to become a per­en­ni­al favour­ite – per­fect for

any­one who knows the true power of a good book.

May­owa can book jump. By jump­ing on a book, she can har­ness the emo­tions inside it and chan­nel them dir­ectly into oth­er people. And when the oppor­tun­ity to use her power to save the lives of count­less refugees presents itself, May­owa wants to jump in with both feet. But May­owa and her grandpa aren’t the only book jump­ers in exist­ence — and not every­body wants to use this power for good.

Pub­lish­ing sim­ul­tan­eously in hard­back, ebook and audio in June 2024, May­owa and the Sea of Words is sup­por­ted by a hugely ambi­tious and cre­at­ive mar­ket­ing and PR strategy with early cop­ies released for Indie Book­shop Week, cen­ter­ing Inde­pend­ents at the heart of a cam­paign focused on book lov­ers. To coin­cide with this, Blooms­bury will be offer­ing signed cop­ies and a spe­cial illus­trated win­dow of the cov­er to Chibundu’s loc­al book­shops. Chibundu is set to jump feet first into a huge schools and events pro­gramme reach­ing chil­dren across the coun­try, includ­ing events with Dark Mat­ter Agency hos­ted at Pic­ture­house Cinemas which will be atten­ded by 900 young read­ers across three days.

Pub­lic­a­tion will be launched with an impact­ful and wide-reach­ing media cam­paign in the UK and Ire­land, with Blooms­bury part­ner­ing with inclus­ive and com­munity-driv­en PR agency Media Hive to reach audi­ences who will con­nect with Mayowa’s story.

Chibundu says: ‘I wrote this book because I like adven­tures and I like girls hav­ing adven­tures. Most of the adven­ture stor­ies I read as a child had white chil­dren at the centre of the nar­rat­ive. I did not love Five Chil­dren and It or Anne of Green Gables or The Lion, the Witch and the Ward­robe any less because the chil­dren in them were white but ten-year- old Chibundu would have loved to read an adven­ture story where the main char­ac­ter was called May­owa. Grow­ing up in Lagos, Niger­ia, I knew many May­owas. I did not know many Annes, or Katies, or Heidis’.

As a per­form­ance artist, as well as a writer, Chibundu will release the offi­cial single for May­owa and the Sea of Words, ‘Love Lives Here’, to coin­cide with pub­lic­a­tion on 20th June.

Accord­ing to Chibundu: ‘It’s the song May­owa would sing to her friend Hamza, who arrived in Eng­land as a refugee after a long and per­il­ous jour­ney. She would reas­sure him, ‘Love lives here, no mat­ter if you’re far or near. You’re nev­er alone, trust me you can always come home’. 

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Mark Mukasa

Mark Mukasa

Mark is a South Lon­don based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He’s also an MMA and his­tory enthu­si­ast who tries to keep his love of animé under wraps.

About Mark Mukasa

Mark Mukasa
Mark is a South London based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He's also an MMA and history enthusiast who tries to keep his love of anime under wraps.