Meet Tanaka is a beautifully and simply written coming of age story. It gives us a window into the preteen and early teen school experience in Sweden while highlighting the duality of the cultures that reside within the life of the main character, Zimbabwe and Sweden.
The story unfolds around the young Tanaka as we follow her experiences as the ‘new girl ‘. The narrative is dotted with norms and celebrations familiar to both the Zimbabwean and a Scandinavian reader. The author, Tsandra Mageba Isaacs, addresses otherness, bullying, peer pressure and some of the complexity of being a child in todays society.
This is a must read, especially for children who may see themselves reflected in it. It may also be read together with ones child as it can serve for discussions around aspects like school, friendship, stress and other pressures. The book does a terrific job of reminding us how wonderful and challenging life as a child can be.
Meet Tanaka is one of six english language titles written by the Tsandra Mageba Isaacs all of which portray a distinct Afroswedish perspective. MeR is grateful for the opportunity to review her work and encourages more Swedish based authors like Isaacs to come forward as their voices are sorely lacking.