ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother by Segilola Salami

Updated on December 22, 2020
Laura335 profile image

I am the author of three middle-grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.

Yetunde book cover


A story for multiple cultures

Children’s books help young readers to understand the world beyond their own environment. Stories teach them about different lifestyles, cultures, and customs from all over. Author Segilola Salami has provided young readers with a tale written in both Yoruba and English to expose them to a different culture but also to teach a universal lesson about the love between mothers and children in her book, Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother.

Yetunde plot summary

Yetunde is a young child from African descendants growing up in England. During the course of the story, she listens to her mother tell an African folktale which doubles as a family history.

Her mother’s story is very dark, filled with death and sadness about the loss of Yetunde’s grandmother. Yetunde is as understanding a listener as she is a naïve narrator, pulling off both roles despite her young age. She is a very unique character in that she is only nine months old and not able to express herself verbally very well. She is still very confused about the world with the added complication of learning both English and her mother’s African language, Yoruba.

African culture

African customs and traditions are also highlighted and explained within the story. Salami is very aware of an English-speaking audience’s ignorance towards such customs, even adult readers, and she is careful to explain unique words and practices to the reader. She also throws in more familiar references for an English audience, sidetracking to mention them specifically, such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, connecting the show to the story she is telling to help make it more relevant to the reader.

Fantasy aspects

There is also the fantasy element to the story within the story, featuring a water god who plays an integral part in the parable. This water element represents motherhood, the central theme running through the story and shows how far a mother will go for her child, stating: “Water has no enemy. Anyone who tries to fight with water has doomed himself.” The events turn terribly dark at points, trusting the readers of all ages to be able to handle these scary elements, from kidnapping to fantasy violence to personal loss.

Using fear to educate

Salami holds nothing back in order to tell her tale, showing that mothers cannot protect their children from the world, but they will fight for their safety, and children should arm themselves with knowledge of the world so that they can be aware of danger and use their mothers’ parables as more than a simple bedtime story. I like the idea of keeping children in the loop with the ways of the world, mixing the good with the bad. The world is a scary place. The better you are at identifying evil, the more likely you will be able to stay away from, or at least ahead of it.

The story continues

This is the third book that Salami has written featuring Yetunde. Without giving too much away, this Yetunde story ends on a cliffhanger, paving the way for future books. As Yetunde learns and develops, she teeters between a traditional African heritage and a modern English lifestyle, and as she begins to be able to express herself verbally in both languages, Yetunde is constantly taking in information from both perspectives, making her well-rounded and open to multiple cultures and what they can teach you.

Buy Yetunde: An Ode to my Mother here!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)