“Legna” is angel spelled backwards. This is a story about two children, born the very same day in the same hospital to different families, growing up as best friends when one day something extraordinary occurs. They are both young girls, playing all the time together, and become inseparable. Rose, is rich, but as we learn is poor in personal empathy; whereas Tamara is poor, but richer in personal human kindness and spirit. In Boma Akainy’s illustrated children’s book titled Angel Legna, the plight of these two girls are brought together in a children’s story teaching how they react to meeting a sorrowful character of physical disproportion, grotesque, homelessness and hungry. A “test,” if you will, is brought to these girls from God in order to have each of the girls determine their own true depth of love and understanding; each girl has to make a decision which will decide their future for their eternal souls.
One day, when the girls were eleven, they meet Legna on their way to school. Legna is a malnourished, slight and awkward child, wearing only a loincloth and begging for food, saying only, “Hungry, food.” Rose teases him, and has a snobbish attitude whereas Tamara is kind to him, and offers him some of her sandwich. The next day they see Legna again and the dichotomy of reactions between the girls becomes even more highlighted. Rose not only shuns Legna but also teases Tamara for being kind to him, as Tamara offers to bring Legna into a market and buy food for him. These character traits – Rose’s teasing and Tamara’s benign kindness - becomes the basis for the lessons portrayed in this book. Boma Akainy uses her story, along with striking illustrations, to exemplify Biblical justice. Essentially she portrays how all souls start with equality and having the freedom of choice, but it is how they use these choices which foreshadow each of our own destinies.
"Angel Legna" is a powerful children’s story. Much unlike something Dr. Seuss or other nursery books portray, Boma Akainy hits hard with an unforgettable lesson. It is best suited for children a bit older than pre-school. It’s not a “happy lesson” but an important one; whereas Rose becomes destined to a year of service as an angel to others, in a form of punishment for her uncompassionate behavior, as Tamara is blessed with blissful splendor being rewarded for her empathy. This book has an interracial message combined with moral fortitude, and is very well suited for contemporary school and personal libraries. It is the type of message that haunts the minds of all that read it, and perhaps will make this world a better place, one person at a time.