Behind the Book: Nigeria Jones

Ibi Zoboi is a powerhouse author, well known for her best-selling and award winning books, including American Street, Punching the Air, and The People Remember. In Nigeria Jones, Zoboi explores the challenges of growing up caught between the life your family wants for you and forging your own path. Read on to hear more about the book from Ibi herself and download our free educators' guide to help lead discussions about this important and compelling teen novel.

Check out the educators' guide for discussion questions and extension activities!

Hear from Ibi

Praise for Nigeria Jones

“Zoboi artfully introduces each chapter through an epigraph, each a quote either altered to center or by Black women, and structures the book by article, ultimately creating the Constitution of Nigeria Jones. These stylistic choices echo the themes of Black girlhood and intersectionality seamlessly woven throughout Nigeria’s story. A beautifully constructed portrait of one young woman growing into her own that will move readers to deeply consider the very same questions Nigeria must answer for herself.”
  — School Library Journal (starred review)
“This book calls for deep discussions about the roles of Black women in the Black freedom struggle as well as the role of young people in these movements…. An opportunity for teen readers to begin grappling with their own ideas of what the revolution looks like.”
  — Horn Book (starred review)
“Through Nigeria’s powerfully resonant first-person voice, Zoboi’s mesmerizing storytelling soars.”
  — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An emotional journey…. It is through this story that we see the multilayered truth of Black identity.”
  — ALA Booklist
“[Nigeria’s] personal journey toward emotional and radical self-honesty shapes this superb story.… A thoughtful reflection of real multilayered freedom struggles within Black diasporic communities. A strong declaration for supporting, loving, and empowering all Black women everywhere.”
  — Kirkus Reviews
“An elaborate structure and ideological boldness truly set Zoboi’s novel apart.”
  — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

About the Author

Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at