Saturday, January 27, 2018

Olokun of the Galaxy - A Book Review

Olokun of the Galaxy is a poetry and visual arts book written by award-winning author Esther Iverem.  The book centers around an African spirit of the ocean who protects the ocean and honors the Maafa (middle passage) and all those millions who died during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

When I initially picked up the book and started reading, I had no idea what was going on and neither did my son.  However, after reading the background, it all made sense.  Context is everything.  The opportunity to review this book is quite divine.  As a part of our homeschool we are studying world religion and African spiritual systems.  So it was no accident that I received this book.

Olokun is no ordinary children's book.  It's history, astronomy, oceanography, science fiction, art and religion all rolled into one.  One reading will hardly scratch the surface.  So vast are the layers, that Olokun must be read once for visualization, again for vocabulary, then history and so on.  It's so rich that a unit study around the book could last a week or a semester.  Olokun will have  readers thinking deeply about the earth and our responsibility to it.

Olokun, African Spirit of the Deepest Ocean

I'm not sure I would read this with a younger child because of the graphic descriptions around the Maafa.  I'd say middle school and up.  Esther Iverem, who is also an artist and curator, developed Olokun to feature a series of art figures she creates from reclaimed pants (pictured above).  These award-winning "pant dolls" have been exhibited across the US since 2012.  It is difficult to find African American literature for young children that weaves African history, nature and fantasy, says Iverem. "I am excited to see Olokun of the Galaxy be a story that gives children a narrative that combines historical fact and fantasy, educates about protecting Earth and explores mysteries of the universe."

This review is a part of the 5th Annual Multicultural Book Day.  See more information below:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  
Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. 
2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

2018 Author Sponsors
Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


  1. Wow, that sounds like an intense and interesting book. Thank you for sharing it and for participating in MCBD!

  2. I am so intrigued by your post. I'll have to find this book. Thanks for sharing.