The African Mask

The African Mask

3.2 8
by Janet E Rupert

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Twelve-year-old Layo has no thoughts of marriage. Her joy lies in making pottery, and she greatly admirers her grandmother's success in that art. When her parents demand that she leave her sleepy little village and visit the bustling city to meet her betrothed, she sees her dream slipping away.

"Notable Book" of the 1995 African Studies Association Children's Book

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Twelve-year-old Layo has no thoughts of marriage. Her joy lies in making pottery, and she greatly admirers her grandmother's success in that art. When her parents demand that she leave her sleepy little village and visit the bustling city to meet her betrothed, she sees her dream slipping away.

"Notable Book" of the 1995 African Studies Association Children's Book Award.

"Vivid recreation of 11th century Africa."

--Kirkus Review

"The book contains delightful girlish secrets, friendships, romance, and mystery, as well as details of the customs of an ancient culture known for bronze and terra-cotta work."

--The Horn Book Guide

Product Details

iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
4 - 12 Years

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The African Mask 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book The African Mask by Janet E. Rupert, it describes the life of a twelve year old girl named Layo, who loves the idea of pottery, and will soon have to marry a man her grandmother chooses. Layo lives in the 11th century in Africa, and tries to show her talent of pottery to her family. Some of her work was so good, her grandmother even sold them! Layo however knows that her grandmother will select a husband for Layo, and is worrying if he may not enjoy pottery, or lives in an area with no pottery whatsoever. All Layo can do is hope for a place where she can show her passion, and a loving husband to share it with. I think this novel helps explain women’s rights in early Africa. I really enjoy how well the author described Layo’s thoughts and feelings, but honestly thought the story should have been in Layo’s perspective, instead of 3rd person. I also loved how each character had a totally different personality! The thing that bothered me most was the characters’ names, because they were very confusing. Layo’s uncle was called Father, her grandmother was called Mama, a fifteen-year-old boy was named Dada, and so on. As you can see, it was easy to lose track of who's who. Overall though, I really enjoyed the story, and thought that the plot of a twelve-year-old girl having to think about her career and marriage at such a young age is fascinating. The African Mask is definitely not your everyday book off the shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Layo, a young girl who lives in the small village of Abiri, Nigeria, is living a normal life. But when her grandmother arrives in her village and asks for Layo to come with her to the great city of Ife, her life changes forever. At Ife, Layo and her cousin Toyin seek to find a flaw in the man who she believes insulted her grandmother. Little does Layo know, the same man has been chosen by her parents to marry her. In this mystery story, Layo finds the answers to her future. KJC
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
        The "African Mask", by Janet E. Rupert, is an amusing (but not very interesting) tale set in 11th century Nigeria that is more puzzling than entertaining. Layo, a twelve-year-old Yoruba girl, is preoccupied by two things: pottery, and her soon-to-be marriage. A skilled potter, Layo hopes that her prospective husband’s wives will be potters like her, so she can continue to work pottery as an adult. When her grandmother sets out to go to the city of Ife, Layo goes with her to meet her husband and assist her grandmother. Upon reaching Ife, Layo’s grandmother is mystified by attempts to sabotage the ceremonial mask she is working on. The plot of this story is satisfying, although not exciting. The story mainly focuses on daily occurrences and ordinary life in both Ife and Abiri, Layo’s village. Historically, "The African Mask" is fairly accurate, considering the author never visited Africa. Cultural elements, such as the Yoruba government and religion, are well explained. The author even uses Yoruba terms and names, and provides a pronunciation guide in the book. People are often referred to based on their relationships to others. (e.g. Layo’s grandmother is known as “Olade’s mother” after her son, and children refer to all elders as “mama”, “papa/father”, or “elder”, if the person is not old enough to have children). This can be confusing sometimes, as it is hard to tell who is the “mama” or “papa”. Layo calls both her mother and grandmother “mama”, and there is even an incident where Layo overhears a girl teasing her mama, but doesn’t know who the girl is talking about. I believe the author could also have done a better job at description and could have wrote a better story. While reading this book, I had a hard time visualizing some of the setting and I also think the author could have described some of the Yoruba people and culture a little better. The author did not describe all of the Yoruba culture well, nor did she describe all people equally. But apart from that, "The African Mask" is quite an enjoyable book, and gives a good historical perspective on Medieval Africa.                                                                              -Jeff H                                                                                      
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book, "The African Mask" written by Janet E. Rupert is a story about a twelve year old girl named Layo who lives in a city called Abriri and is set in the eleventh century. She is a talented young girl that wants to make pottery for a living. But in her culture, she is supposed to get married to a 15 year old boy that lives in the city of Ife. Layo now begs her parents to make her not marry her future husband and to make pottery for the rest of her life. This book was very boring because the author didn't have any details about the setting or characters, making it hard to understand the story and it was a story that lost my interest very easily. With these negative points, the book was hard to understand and hard to read. -Phoebe Wu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The African Mask is about Layo, a young girl in Abiri who wants to make pottery. When her grandmother comes to their village, she asks Layo to join her. Layo accepts and her, and her fathers co-wife travel to the town of Ife with Layo's grandmother. This book explain a lot about Africa, and what the family and government system are like. With all that aside. The books story line was boring and very predictable. -Taylor H.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The African Mask" by Janet E. Rupert is about a teenage girl named Layo, she lives in Abiri (a compound inside of Nigeria) along with her extended family and friends. She has always looked up to her grandmother who lives off selling and making pottery. However she cannot do pottery yet because it is an adults job. She is also the right age to get married , and her grandmother has to pick out her groom, and the groom she picked out Layo disliked. "The African Mask" is a tale about Layo and her grandmother travelling to the sacred city of Ife, and preparing a funeral mask for the great Asayi The story is told in a third person view which I found truly unique, it was only 125 pages but told an amazing story -Cole M.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A twelve-year-old girl named Layo likes making pottery, and admiring her grandmothers work. One day she is asked to go away from her small quiet town and meet who she is getting betrothed to, with her grandmother. Once she is there she will have to look past what she loves to do, and look to what is right for her family. -AJ  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago