#MCBD2021 Book Review: Idia of the Benin Kingdom

with No Comments



Idia of the Benin Kingdom

written by Ekiuwa Aira, illustrated by Alina Shabelnyk

*Disclosure: I was gifted a copy of the book by MCBD Bronze Sponsor My Well Read Child. All opinions are my own.*

In the African Kingdom of Benin, little Idia is sleeping and dreaming of a woman fighting in a raging battle. Arrows fly all around her but the woman is protected by her magic charms. When the battle is over, she helps heal the wounded with her touch and her potion of herbs.

Idia wakes up wondering about her strange dream. She had heard heroic war tales before but these things don’t happen in her friendly and peaceful little kingdom.

“Who was that woman? Women do not go to war. What could the dream mean?”

Pondering these questions, Idia makes her way to the center of the village for the Igue festival, a day of food, music and dancing that is attended by the Oba (King). Idia performs beautifully in a special dance, making her parents very proud.



But she can’t get the dream of out her head, So Idia asks her father, a warrior, to teach her about war and battle plans, and her mother to share her knowledge of plants, healing and magic. In turn she promises her parents to always do all her chores well and to continue to practice her dancing.




Many years later, Idia performs in a dance for the new king and her energy and rhythm attract the king’s attention. He wants to marry her but Idia is unsure whether she should. After a ceremony with a special doctor, Idia falls into a deep sleep and dreams the same dream she had as a child. This time she understands clearly that the woman is herself fighting alongside her son and that she must marry the King to protect the people of the kingdom from enemies.

And this is how Idia became a queen, the first female warrior, and the first Iyoba (Queen Mother) of Benin.

Idia of the Benin Kingdom imagines the childhood of well-loved Queen Idia who supported her son, Esigie, during his reign (1504-1550) with her wisdom, bravery and charisma. With engaging text and vibrant illustrations, this picture book tells the story of a woman who did not conform to the expectations of a wife or a queen but dared to follow her own path. This empowering message will inspire young readers to believe in themselves and follow their dreams, too.

At the back, this #ownvoices book includes more information on Queen Ida and her legacy, a brief history of the Kingdom of Benin, and a map. Idia of the Benin Kingdom is suitable for children aged 4 to 8.

Also available: Idia of the Benin Kingdom: Coloring and Activity Book


Multicultural Children’s Book Day is in its 8th year!


Celebrate by joining our twitter party and checking out our linky party & free resources (details below)!


MCBD is a non-profit children’s literacy initiative founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.


Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Deedee Cummings & Make A Way Media

Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company

Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Kimberly GordonBiddle, Pack-N-Go Girls

Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi & AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create & Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom TalesPress, My Well Read Child

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata

Authors: Afsaneh Moradian, Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen,  Anna Olswanger, Casey Bell, Claudine Norden, Debbie Dadey, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Janet Balletta, Josh Funk, Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald Perkins, Natasha Yim, Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and theSophie Washington Book Series, Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©,  Vanessa Womack, MBA, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our Global CoHosts!


MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!


Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents
Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit
FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit
FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit
FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit
FREE Teacher Classroom
Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit
Gallery of Our Free Posters
FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program


TWITTER PARTY! Register here!!


Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party!
This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas. We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes!

*** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded partners, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

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

*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA by clicking on the book titles or images.*
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

Leave a Reply