Because picture books are my current "specialty", we haven't really discussed much Young Adult literature. But these kids reading picture books start reading chapter books, and before we know it they're reading like adults. Young adults. A few months ago, I was at the Provo Library Children's Book Festival, and I had the great pleasure of talking with Sheila A. Nielsen, a librarian, illustrator, and author! She kindly gave me a signed copy of The Forbidden Sea, her first novel (I hope of many-to-be). I never have been particularly drawn to fantasy fiction, but I was drawn to this book and Sheila's beaming smile right away. Sheila explained that she wrote it to answer demand from girls visiting the Provo library for books about mermaids.
Can you imagine, if you were one of those girls?
You want a book with mermaids and a strong, interesting female lead? OK, I'll make you one.
I was charmed by the action and mystery on the island of Windwaithe, and moved by the resiliency, loyalty, and independence of Adrianne, the main character. There was a side story romance, but--to my great relief--Adrianne was not rescued from conflict by a prince, nor a lover, nor her father. And the triumph of the book was in character growth, not boobs, not popularity. In short, if you're considering middle grade novels for anyone 10 or older (there are some scary parts and serious topics), read it! It will leave you wanting more stories about the fascinating characters, and more time under the sea (because this book is almost completely on land), so, fortunately, Sheila is working on a sequel.
Have you read any YA fantasy lately?
P.S. Pictures from the Provo Children's Book Festival (May 2011):
|Sheila Nielsen and other author book signings! Free book! The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Illustrator artwork! Face painting! Crafts! Dance performances! Illustrator demonstrations! And there was more!|