Tomi Adeyemi: Children of Blood & Bone

Happy Monday! I feel like talking about books is the best way to begin the week, don’t you?

First, what I added to my “To Read” list last week:
Betty Shabazz, Surviving Malcolm X – Russell J. Rickford

Now for the meat & potatoes (though I’m currently limiting my meat to fish only. #thestruggleisreal)

Children of Blood and Bone is set up in a real but fictional Nigeria. It’s about the main character’s quest to bring magic back to her people, but it’s not Magical Realism by any means.

The main character, Zélie Adebola, is a divîner—the child of a Maji who has not yet come into her powers. Zélie’s mother was a Reaper, a maji who wielded power over the spirits of the dead, but her father and brother, Tzain, are Kosidán—common citizens who have no magical powers. Maji and divîners are characterized by their stark white hair, but kosidán have unassuming dark hair.

Under the rule of King Saran, who has a personal vendetta against maji, magic has been taken away. The Maji—including Zélie’s mother—have been murdered, and the artifacts that sustain magic have been destroyed so that divîner children can never develop their powers and become Maji—which typically happens around age thirteen. The divîner children are treated as the lowest caste of the population, and are referred to as “Maggots” by those in power. Kosidán parents and teachers, really anyone who houses or supports divîner children, are regularly and outrageously taxed by the monarchy.

When Zélie’s father almost drowns trying to catch fish (without her) to make enough money to pay the recently raised tax, she goes to the capital (Lagos) with her brother to sell a special fish in order to make money to pay the taxes. She goes inside the gates of the capital alone, makes enough money selling the fish to an arrogant noble to pay the taxes and last her little family for a while, and then finds herself in a bit of trouble on her way out. This trouble sparks her own powers as a Reaper and sends her on a quest to bring magic back to the people or lose it forever.

That’s all I’m giving you.

Children of Blood and Bone is a big book. Just north of 500 pages. However, it was a quick read. I read about 80% of the book in a day and a half. Granted, one of those days was a full day—I wasn’t feeling well and could only manage to lay out on the patio sofa and read. The story grabs you and moves you along.

Children of Blood and Bone is the kind of book you choose over your favorite TV drama. The characters, the emotions, the adventure, it’s all presented so well. And the place the story comes from…well you’ll just have to get to the end of it and find out. It’s a powerful notion for the people who need it most.

I was so pulled into this book that I felt like a piece of me was missing when it was over. A good book does that to you—leaves you full and empty simultaneously. I was spent, and it was beautiful, and when it ended I wanted more. The book did not come to a solid end. It ended well-enough, but left me with questions about what would happen next. There’s definitely room for another book to follow.

I’m so glad I put Children of Blood and Bone on my reading list! I think you will be too.

Happy Reading!



Jodee Blanco: Please Stop laughing at Me

Yes, it’s been a while, and yes, I’m skipping over 1984 completely. What I read after that was much more important a narrative.

Please Stop Laughing at Me is Jodee Blanco’s story of childhood bullying, and is a painfully clear picture of why it is so very important to pay attention to our children. I’m using “our” in a general sense as I have no children of my own but plenty in my life.

What amazed me about Jodee’s story was the unwillingness of the adults in her life to take her experiences seriously—they blamed her for being different from her peers and not fitting in, they said she was exaggerating, they sent her to a psychiatrist, they put her on medication, they moved her to different schools. The only thing they did not do was believe her when she said she was being tormented. I screamed at the adults in this book several times, but I only put it down when the necessities of life—work, food, a clean pair of pants—forced me to. I would share this book with any person who has a child in their life that they care about.

There is a dangerous mentality that “kids will be kids.” The thing is, it should not be in a child’s nature to physically assault another child. I cried actual tears many times during this read. It was good, heartbreakingly good. It makes you want to hug your child—or niece, nephew, cousin, sister, brother, Godchild—and beg them to tell you if anything is happening to them at school, camp, in the neighborhood, or anywhere else they gather with other children. Please Stop Laughing at Me makes you want to pay attention.

Jodee’s story is special in that she made her way through it. So many other children do not. A lot of schools are manufacturing social environments where everybody wins, everyone gets a trophy, and this makes it difficult for some children to face the simplest of disappointments, let alone the level of torment Jodee and others like her experience(d).

Please Stop Laughing at Me did not disappoint, and I’m positive it could help save a child’s life. Pick it up, download it, share it. You won’t regret it.

In my next post…who knows. I’m currently reading Toni Morrison’s Paradise. I will be adding more personal art, and will link it here once I do.

Happy Reading!