Good morning, everyone. I was up at ten to four today, to keep reading for the 48 hour reading challenge. This morning's book: Silksinger! It arrived yesterday, which was perfect timing.
Thief!, by Malorie Blackman. This was recommended to me when I was searching for fantasy/sci fi books for young middle grade readers that had people of color in/on them.
Lydia's family has just moved from London to the north of England, and she is having a pretty darn darn rough time at the school she's just started. A malicious girl has set her up to look like a thief, and now stories are spreading that Lydia has done something even worse. Full of hatred and despair, she takes a desperate bus trip to nowhere in particular, and finds herself out on the moors, watching as a strange swirling storm approaches.
Ten minutes later, the Night Guard are firing at her for breaking curfew. The storm has swept her 37 years into the future, and her town has become a dystopia, under the rule of a cruel dictator.
In order to change the future, she must confront her own past-or she can never go home again.
This one is a good First Dystopia for 4th-6th graders It is a fairly simple story with lots of action, fairly simply told. I found it a tad didactic myself (hatred is bad, anger can have terrible, long lasting consequences), but I don't think I would have minded that when I was 9 or 10.
Viz diversity: the cover is the only thing that establishes Lydia as a person of color (sorry it's crummy picture). This is, I think, good --inside the book, she is simply a person. But it led me to a thinking point about race. Racism is not given as a reason for the antagonism of her schoolmates, not even hinted at as a possibility, which seemed to me (not that I know squat about racism in the north of England in 1995) to be (perhaps?) wishful thinking...but I also am thinking it is a good thing to have people being mean to a person of color, and making false accusations about her, just because they are mean people, with nothing to do with race.
It is also 5 in the morning, and my mind is fuzzy. I decide I don't know if its wishful thinking or not, and that without any shadow of doubt Malorie Blackman knows infinitely more, because she is a black Brisith woman, and so I leave it in her capable hands.
Speaking of hands. Here is the current UK cover. You will notice that the black girl has been replaced by an ambiguous hand (uncolored, ungendered, unembodied).
Blackman is best know in the US, perhaps, as the author the Noughts and Crosses series (now up to 4 volumes).