Tuesday, January 16, 2024

New Review of Badin and the Secret of the Saami!

New review on an old book!

While working on the sequel to Badin and the Secret of the Saami, I am always looking for inspiration from what others think of the first story.

 This new review about Badin and The Secret of the Saami taught me more about the story than I previously conceived! Check it out and leave some comments if you agree!

Special thanks to Black Book Worms for the thoughtful review. Make sure you register for their email list. They do some great work!

Summary and Review of Badin and the Secret of the Saami: An Historical Fiction Graphic Novel (2017) by Eric C. M. Basir

Posted by: Omri Coke



Eric Basir’s exciting comic book series based in the 18th century Kingdom of Sweden in Northern Europe tells a story about a brave 12-year old boy who is trying to fit in to a new life far away from home. Badin and the Secret of the Saami (2017) is based on the true story of Couschi or Gustav Badin (1747-1822), an African in the court of Queen Lovisa Ulrica (1720-1782).

cover of Eric Basir's book Badin and the Secret of the Saami (2017)

What a lot of people do not realize is that Couschi was not a regular servant to be looked down on and treated badly by the people he lived with in Sweden. He was taken in by the queen and she treated him like her own son, no different from the children who were born to her. She also wanted her friends, family, and all of Sweden to treat Couschi as a Swedish prince.

Badin’s full name was Adolf Ludvig Gustav Fredrik Albert Badin. That is a very long name! But the name that he was called by before he was living in Sweden was Couschi. Badin’s place of birth is Saint Croix, an Caribbean island between North and South America, claimed by the Kingdom of Denmark. He may have been born in Africa as Basir’s seems to believe. In the beginning of Basir’s story, Couschi talks about how he got to Sweden. At first, he was living with his own his mom and dad and the rest of his family. In those days, people from the lands of Europe took ships to the land of Africa and stole people away so they could use them to do what they wanted them to do. One day, a group of evil men came to his land from Europe, ruined his home, and took him away to Sweden. One of these men, who was from the Kingdom of Denmark, thought it was a good idea to give Couschi to the Queen of Sweden as a gift. This is how he ended up in Sweden.

Basir shows Couschi in his book as a big reader who owned lots and lots of books. The real Couschi kept a library with hundreds of books which were sold after he died. The real Queen Ulrica was also a lover of books. She read plenty in her free time. She read books about science, philosophy, art, and culture. These are topics that really make you think. This made her very smart. She wanted her adopted son Couschi to grow up as a smart boy, too. In the story, Queen Ulrica taught Couschi his first word in Swedish: “bok.” This means “book” in English. As she saw how well and how quickly Couschi was learning, Queen Ulrica decided to call him by a new name, Badin, which was her way of saying that he was a “clever” boy. He was reading about religion, science, and other things that boys his age could not understand. Over time, Couschi became someone who she could trust with her biggest plans and secrets. She also trusted him to take care of her palaces and even help her with things that queens were supposed to do for the people.

Basir shows that Couschi grows close to Queen Ulrica’s children Gustav (age 16) and Sofia (age 9). Gustav later became a king. Although they look very different from himself, Couschi sees them as his brother and sister. They often play together around the palace and sometimes, they sneak outside to explore.

Unlike the life of the real Couschi, Basir’s Couschi learns about a plan by the mad miner Herr Torsten and his helpers to take over all of the mines on Saami lands in Sweden. He then tries to stop Torsten and wins in the end. Torsten was not a real person who lived in the time of young Couschi around 250 years ago. But the funny conversations and interactions between this character and Couschi in Basir’s story helps us to imagine how Couschi would have chosen to deal with the same kinds of people and problems during his life.


There are many good things to learn from this story.

  1. We learn how we need to be kind to others, even if they are not part of our family, just as Queen Ulrica opened her home and made Couschi comfortable. She did this even though there were people around her who did not feel good about people who came from Africa and did not want to have anything to do with them. The poor people in Sweden and the Saami people who lived there for thousands of years were not treated very well, either. But Couschi and his friends decided they were going to show love to them just as they were loved by the queen.
  2. We learn to be loyal to the people we love, just as Couschi followed what Queen Ulrica asked him to do before she died.
  3. We also learn to care for the environment. The more technology people have – their cars, their computers, and their phones – is the more they forget about the animals, plants, and other things in nature. The waters gets dirty and the skies get messy. But this also makes life bad for us as people too. We have less clean water to drink and less clean air to breathe. We get sick and then we can’t enjoy all of the things we love to do with our friends and family anymore. Sometimes, the things we do to the planet because we want to have everything easy make bigger problems for us like the sinkholes, earthquakes, and landslides that made the Northern Saami people sad and their leader Gaaktu angry when they lost many of their people. Those problems were caused by people who wanted to take what belonged to the Saami without asking the Saami for permission and without helping the Saami to make their own lives better. This is called being greedy. It is something that happens all the time in the real world. Big kids do it to small kids. Rich nations do it to poor nations. They also lie about what they are doing so they do not get in trouble for it.
  4. One last lesson is to do your best at whatever you do and never give up. Couschi was not able to save Gaaktu, but he did save Sweden from being ruled by a person who did not care about anyone or anything but himself. This is what we call a selfish person.

We have to be very careful about how we live so that we can live long and happy lives.


Badin and the Secret of the Saami (2017) has words in the Saami and Swedish languages. But you don’t have to know these languages or learn French, German, and Latin like Couschi did to understand the book. One of the best things about Basir’s book is that it has a glossary in the back in case there are words that a young reader still does not know very well. A glossary is a part of the book that tells you the meaning of big words from inside the story, just like a dictionary.

There is also a character list, a short story about the real Couschi, and a page from his actual diary.

Last Thoughts

All in all, Badin and the Secret of the Saami (2017) is sure to awaken your curiosity about African history in Europe and around the world. As you follow the comical Couschi on his adventures, you will share his struggles and his joys. You will find that his family is your family; his friends are your friends, too.

If you want to purchase a printed or online copy of Badin and the Secret of the Saami (2017), you can get it from the publisher here.

Have you read Basir’s book yet? Did you enjoy learning about Couschi’s adventures? Tell us what you think about the book in the comments below!

Here are some webpages to visit to learn more about Basir’s writings and art:







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