In the wake of many young adult books that feature kids with magical powers, Okorafor’s voice is a refreshing standout. Sunny is an American-born child of Nigerians who have moved back home to West Africa. She is unique in many ways, one of them being she is an “Akata,” a derogatory term for an American born black. She is also an albino. As if this isn’t enough, she soon learns she is a “leopard person,” someone possessing magical abilities, and is a strong one at that. On a quest to defeat an evil criminal, she is accompanied by Chichi, a sharp-tongued girl who seemingly knows no fear, Orlu, the down-to earth boy with watchful eyes and a warning always at hand, and the care-free African American, Sasha, who Sunny may or may not have a little crush on. Akata Witch is rich in West African spirituality and captivating adventure. –Shannon
Ten years ago, Kate, Michael, and Emma were spirited away from their parents in order to protect them from an unknown evil. Moved from one orphanage to the next, the siblings survived by helping one another and holding out hope that one day their parents would come for them. Now, after moving to an orphanage in a remote village in upstate New York, the siblings meet the enigmatic Dr. Pym and come face to face with the stunning secret that has followed them for the last decade. A wonderful mix of humor and magic, Stephens’s debut will thrill fantasy fans of all ages. –Casey S.
Lost & Found is an extraordinary collection of three thematically related and thought provoking stories beautifully illustrated and told by Shaun Tan. In “The Red Tree,” a girl finds hope and beauty in a world of darkness and despair. “The Lost Thing” journals a boy’s unique experience as he helps a strange alien creature find belonging and happiness. And “The Rabbits” tells the fate of an old world lost at the arrival of a new invading species. These imaginative stories are movingly narrated and exquisitely presented, creating a weird and wonderful experience for all ages. –David
Mark Kurlansky has utilized his thorough research skills to create a book that all ages can read, enjoy, and benefit from. World Without Fish is a sobering yet creative and comprehensive account of the current threat facing fish and mammals. This is a great book for the whole family—the writing is straightforward yet gentle, and there are cartoons, illustrations, and photos. Kurlansky covers everything one needs to know to get a full understanding of the dangers our oceans face: over-fishing, by-catch risks, global warming effects, far-reaching impacts of extinction, the positive repercussions of sustainable fishing, and more. Terms are defined, and cause and effect are clearly and simply explained. It’s a tough subject, but an important one, and this is the book that will educate your whole family. –Hilary
BOOKNOTES, the book review of THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published and forthcoming books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.
Look for our Summer Booknotes’ Reviews…coming soon…