Kid's Advisory Board Reviews
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These are reviews written by members of the Kids Advisory Board.
Ogbanje. That is what Adia Kelbara is. A child possessed by a demon who has no purpose other than to cause suffering to her family. At least, that’s what Adia’s aunt has always told her, and in her small village filled with missionaries and their beliefs in the Bright Father, she is in no place to protest. When Adia is nearly taken away by a missionary and accidentally causes a disaster in her panic, she knows that her aunt is right. She is an Ogbanje. So when she is offered a job as a servant at the Academy of Shamans, she realizes that this is her chance to rid the demon from inside of her. But her plan instantly evaporates when she learns of a sinister plot to control her home, Zaria. Adia must now team up with the most unlikely of companions to save Zaria – and little does she know, she plays a higher role in it all than she thought. This is a touching book about believing in yourself, bravery, and truth. Anyone who likes books about African culture and magic will love Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans.
-REVIEW BY Cassie, age 12
Anna Leilani Kama’ehu doesn’t believe in myths. So when she visits Hawaii to hear her Tutu’s stories about her family history, all Anna wants is to have a normal vacation – one she can show her classmates without judgment. But when she picks one of Pele the fire goddess’s sacred flowers, her best friend, Kaipo, is kidnapped by Pele herself. Allying herself with a talking bat, Anna embarks on a journey through the wilds of Hawaii to save him. In order to rescue Kaipo, Anna must embrace her Hawaiian heritage and accept who she is. In this heartwarming journey of self-discovery, a part-Hawaian girl goes farther than she ever thought she could to save her friend. This is a great book for those who enjoy reading about Hawaiian mythology and the discovery of who you are.
-REVIEW BY Cassie, age 12
This realistic fiction graphic novel follows a group of Hispanic kids who are grouped together for a school community service project. The school has a tradition of every single student participating in community service, and none of them had signed up, so the principal put them together because they all speak Spanish, even though they're nothing alike. They're being overseen by Mrs. Grouser, who's really an awful person and doesn't help at all over. While out on their community service, the students find a little kid on the other side of the school fence. Asking the kid what they're doing here, they learn the kid and her mom live in a van because they're going through a tough time. The students want to help the kid, though Mrs. Grouser keeps throwing roadblocks up along the way.
I found the characters to be realistic and multifaceted. I prefer fantasy and science fiction myself, but for fans of realistic fiction, this is a good read.
-Review by Michael
This graphic novel tells a very original story. I have never read anything like it. The main character, Alidade, lives in Alden, a nice but boring town. She has never known anyplace else. One day she goes to the city limits and is caught by the police force called The Night Coats. She is able to run away, but is now essentially exiled. On the run with a friend, Alidade finds a doorknob attached to a tree and in a tiny hidden cabin they find a map. When they open the map, a bird comes out. From the bird, Alidade learns there used to be these folks called Mapmakers, who had a magic that kept the world together and safe. The Night Coats apparently shut down the Mapmakers and now they and their magic are gone. Alidade decides she wants to revive the order. And that's just the beginning of a journey of revelation. I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy fantasy, adventure and the graphic novel format.
-Review by Michael, age 13
This graphic novel was very original, combining elements of fantasy and science fiction with a touch of Norse mythology. The main character, Tabby, lost her dad several years ago when he died mysteriously under a giant tree he had been researching, having apparently aged 200 years overnight. The tree and the woods around it have since been declared a biohazard and research has been halted on the blue mist that pours out of it. Though the forest is forbidden, of course Tabby goes there every day, to get closer to her dad's memory and try and figure out why and how he died. One day, she sees an unfamiliar guy with blue hair approach the tree and vanish through a previously unseen portal. While leaving, he drops a ring, and she picks it up and puts it on, following him through the portal as it closes. She finds herself in another world, connected to ours and others through what turns out to be Yggdrasil, the Norse "world tree." But she cannot get home again - the portal only opened one way for her. She's taken in by the blue-haired guy, who has the unlikely name of "Philip". The ring she picked up turns out to be a "traveler's ring," conferring understanding of both spoken and written language. So while hiding out in Philip's room, she reads some of their lore. She finds out he's a "geist," possessing forbidden powers. The plot only gets more involved from there. The art was very well done and the story entertaining, if a little hard to follow sometimes.
-Review by Michael, age 13
Sir Ladybug is a book about a Prince who comes across a mission for a "monster." But really it's just a bird looking for food. So Sir Ladybug has 2 assistants and they help him with the mission. One of them comes up with a plan that they should make a Lemon Merangue Cake. It's so good that the bird doesn't want to eat the bugs!
I liked it and I think it's suitable for kids 8 and up.
-Review by Mady, Age 8
Crab & snail is a book about 2 friends, all of a sudden they are getting rained on and it won't stop. They find out that it is an invisible whale shooting water at them! They become friends with the whale and the whale sings goodnight to them. I think people who like books about friendship and caring would like this book.
-Review by Mady, age 8
This full color art in this graphic novel was unbelievable - fantastic design, lush detail. I can't wait to see the full book in its finished form. As to the story, it was original, compelling and fun, with diverse characters. The main character, a little Black girl, grew up as the only human in The Great Tree, where the souls of birds go before they're reborn. Each leaf eventually becomes a new bird. Then a day comes when new leaves grow on the tree but without souls. In the world outside, no new birds are hatching. The bird Little Red is sent out to investigate what's happening, but Little Red never comes back. So the main character is sent out, accompanied by an owl companion. Complicating their journey, time works differently in The Great Tree than in the outside world. A day in the tree can be weeks, even months in the world. The main character's travels take her to an ancient city where she meets a young goblin, Orion, who has wings but glides, like a flying squirrel, rather than like a bird. Adventure ensues. The book ends on a cliffhanger and a huge plot twist, so it's obviously setting up for a second book ... which I can't wait to read.
Review by Michael, age 13
This colorful, fast-paced graphic novel combined music and magic with a classic coming-of-age story. The characters were realistic and their motivations made a lot of sense, even the "bad guys," which was refreshing. The art was good too. The main character, Alto, is a kind of floppy-eared elf living in a fantasy world that's also populated by trolls, dragons and more. His mom, Lady Brightblade, was part of an adventuring trio a generation ago who helped to defeat a dragon and bring about a new era of peace. Alto is growing up essentially as a prince but he's not a fan of etiquette, politics and affairs of state. Denied the music/magic training he really loves, he runs away instead. Soon, he meets up with an unusual self-taught Troll bard. Impressed with the troll's skills and initiative, Alto lies about his identity and background. As things progress, he has to keep changing his lie. He also meets a young woman who's working at an instrument repair shop whose music magic is particularly strong, Meanwhile, he learns of a rogue group of bards who go by the name of "Discord" and who are using a music spell to make people fight, turning the nation against itself and destroy the peace that Ladyu Brightblade fought so hard for. The leader of Discord, Fell, has a mysterious past with Alto's mom and is driven by a desire for revenge. Through the course of the adventure, Alto learns a lot about his world and about himself. I'd recommend the book to lovers of fantasy and the graphic novel format.
-Review by Michael, age 13