I absolutely LOVED Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi! It’s one of those books I saw floating around on the Twitters, and instantly added it to my Amazon cart. Zero regrets.
Just the cover alone is a work of art. It’s just gorgeous. And a main character of color on the cover?! Sold! How do I get this in poster-size for my classroom?
Magic once permeated Orïsha, but the king killed all the maji, including Zélie’s mother–she may be able to restore magic to Orïsha, with a little help from some friends. I adore Zélie, the main character, for her zeal and determination. She’s a dynamic and likable main character, and is both inquisitive and relatable.
The Orïsha are West African gods, with extensive mythology and stories. This isn’t something I know much about, and I still could use some more research. For starters, check out this Crash Course video. (Anyone have recommendations for books, videos, etc. to learn more?)
Diving a little deeper into Children of Blood and Bone, there is a distinct undertone of racism and prejudice. “Over generations, love of the maji turned into fear. Fear turned into hate. Hate transformed into violence, a desire to wipe the maji away” (page 15). The symbol of their magic is white hair, an instantly recognizable feature, and thus easy to discriminate against.
The contrast between Zélie and the prince, Inan, illustrates the absurdity of racism and hate. He has a privileged palace life, while her mother was killed with the rest of the maji. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it really does provide a relatable example and discussion springboard to discuss how institutionalized racism perpetuates hate and inequity. I need to plan in a second read deep dive, and just focus on that aspect of the story.
The best part of reading this book was listening to Tomi Adeyemi speak at the Imperial Beach Library. She shared her heart for the book, a little about her journey, and encouraged all of us to work hard for our dreams. I may also be quite partial to her because she’s a San Diegan.
“Our favorite things don’t become good at once.” – Tomi Adeyemi
She was SO encouraging, especially to the kids who asked her questions about being a writer. I adore this quote, because it’s such an important reminder that we all start out as beginners. I know someone is pure gold when hearing them talk makes me want to be a better version of myself. Thank you for being so kind-hearted and patient, our kids need more role models like you!
Overall, I give this book a zillion stars! I already preordered the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance (March 5, 2019)!