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About The Book

Black Panther meets X-Men in this “fast-paced, action-packed, and empowering” (A. F. Steadman, New York Times bestselling author of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief) middle grade adventure about a British Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers—perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers, The Marvellers, and Rick Riordan!

Onyeka has a lot of hair­—the kind that makes strangers stop in the street and her peers whisper behind her back. At least she has Cheyenne, her best friend, who couldn’t care less what other people think. Still, Onyeka has always felt insecure about her vibrant curls…until the day Cheyenne almost drowns and Onyeka’s hair takes on a life of its own, inexplicably pulling Cheyenne from the water.

At home, Onyeka’s mother tells her the shocking truth: Onyeka’s psychokinetic powers make her a Solari, one of a secret group of people with superpowers unique to Nigeria. Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies…

About The Author

Photograph (c) Dujonna Gift-Simms

Tolá Okogwu is a British Nigerian author, journalist, and hair care educator. Born in Nigeria but raised in London, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. Having spent several years exploring the world of blogging, haircare, and freelance writing, she finally returned to her first love: fiction. She is the author of the Onyeka middle grade series, the self-published picture book series Daddy Do My Hair, and Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door under the name Lola Morayo. Tolá lives in Kent, England, with her husband and two daughters. An avid reader and lover of music, she’s also a sucker for melted cheese. Learn more at

Why We Love It

“There are a million reasons to fall for this high-spirited adventure, from the exciting magic and technology it showcases to Onyeka’s compelling journey to find empowerment through her relationship with her hair.”

—Kate P, Editor, on Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (June 14, 2022)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665912631
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

“An empowering blend of action and mystery, featuring superpowered showdowns, lovable characters, and jaw-dropping twists. Kept me flying through the pages!”

– Xiran Jay Zhao, New York Times bestselling author of Iron Widow

“Onyeka is the empowered and electric heroine we’ve been waiting for. Perfect for fans of Marvel and magic.”

– Alex Aster, award-winning author of the Emblem Island series

"Onyeka is a force: a bold, courageous, and whipsmart protagonist for a new paradigm. Okogwu crafts a world where kids like Onyeka can really find their voice in this must-read debut fantasy."

– Louisa Onomé, author of Like Home and Twice As Perfect

"Fast-paced, action-packed and empowering. Tolá Okogwu’s storytelling shines so bright you’ll want the next instalment immediately."

– A. F. Steadman, New York Times bestselling author of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

"A delightful blend of adventure, heart, and Afrofuturism."

– Kirkus Reviews

"Okogwu has created an exciting fantasy with Nigerian culture and customs woven into the plot to create excellent world building with interesting characters. A story of a young girl’s journey to self-acceptance, this title will leave readers on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the next part in this new series."

– Booklist

"In Okogwu’s vividly created Nigerian world, technology and an exploration of emotional internality interplay with a child’s literalized relationship with her hair, making for an enjoyable X-Men-leaning series starter."

– Publishers Weekly

Awards and Honors

  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
  • SLJ Best Book of the Year
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (MD)
  • Georgia Children's Book Award Finalist
  • ALA Notable Children's Recording
  • Children's Africana Book Award

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Tolá Okogwu

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