Groundwood Books Imprint Logo

The Mzungu Boy

Written by Meja Mwangi

  • 160 Pages
  • 9780888996640
  • 7.500" x 4.900"
  • Reading age from 10 to 12
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Africa
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Violence


Publication Date April 01, 2005

Winner, Children's Africana Book Award - Best Book for Older Readers

For young Kariuki, life in a small village in central Kenya is one great adventure. And when he meets Nigel life becomes even more interesting. Nigel is from England and he has come to visit his great grandfather, the fearsome Bwana Ruin who owns the farm where all the villagers work. The villagers call Nigel the mzungu boy, and they view him with suspicion and fear.

Nevertheless, Kariuki becomes friends with Nigel and the two spend happy days exploring the forest together. Then one day the two boys decide to hunt down Old Moses, the biggest, ugliest, oldest and meanest warthog in the forest. The hunt takes them deeper into the jungle than Kariuki has ever gone, and his beloved forest becomes a frightening place, filled with dangerous creatures, including the Mau-mau, the mysterious men who have guns and are plotting against Bwana Ruin and the white soldiers. And when Nigel suddenly disappears, Kariuki realizes that it is up to him to save his friend.

Winner of the Children's Africana Book Award - Best Book for Older Readers 2006

Selected for the ALA Notable Books List 2005

Selected for the SSLI Notable Books in the Language Arts (Honor Book) 2005


Meja Mwangi
Meja Mwangi was born in Nanyuki, Kenya. He is the author of several novels and children's books, including The Last Plague, Striving for the Wind, Kill Me Quick and Going Down River Road. His books have been translated into several languages. The Mzungu Boy (originally published as Little White Man) was the winner of the prestigious Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis. Meja Mwangi currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.


"...many readers will easily connect with the friendship, the exhilarating freedom of exploring nature, and the boys' bewilderment at the adult world." Booklist

"Mwangi's characterization is accurate and insightful..." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Mzungu Boy, with its play of light and dark, innocence and experience, goodness and evil, is a superb achievement on the part of its author, Meja Mwangi." Globe and Mail