Juniper Sawfeather (aka June) is a senior in high school. She’s got plans. She wants to go to college in San Diego and study marine biology. Unfortunately, June hasn’t actually disclosed this to her environmental activist and lawyer parents. They have plans for her education too and they don’t match with June’s. So begins this age-old family conflict . . . but then the story goes in an entirely unexpected direction.
June and her dad are documenting an oil-spill caused by the shady, profit-driven Affron company. While her dad is photographing the destruction, Juniper takes note of all the dead and dying creatures covered in oil that she observes on the beach -- a lot of dead fish, a couple of otters, a porpoise, and dozens of birds.
- “It never got better, seeing this kind of destruction. I could now bear the sight of it without breaking into sobs like I used to when I was younger, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to fall on the ground and wail. I felt my throat close up and my body tense in the way I’d trained it so that I could stay cool despite the emotion rushing through me.”
Ms. Driver handles this introduction of fantasy so well that I was entirely able to continue the story without feeling skepticism. She carefully details, the mermaids’ appearance and June’s incredulity. As the story continued, I realized that the only time I felt like I had to suspend disbelief was when June seemed more preoccupied by the handsome intern from the Sea Mammal Rescue Center and her friend’s yearning for popularity than the wellbeing of the mermaids!
It’s been a while since I’ve been a teenager so I asked my thirteen year old daughter to also read the novel and hear what her thoughts were. My daughter contemplates a future in animal conservation and has spent a lot of time reading nonfiction. She’s been known to lose interest in a book if it contains factually incorrect information. Like me, however, she was completely taken in by the mermaids. Also like me, what she couldn’t understand was why June didn’t ditch school, her friend, and the cute boy in order to spend every moment helping the mermaids. These confusing parts, however, fall into place and enhance the story. But if you want to know more, you’re going to have to read the book!
I fully enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. As you can read in the first sentence, so is my daughter!
I’d like to note that the fictional character Juniper Sawfeather is the child of a white mother and an American Indian father. In this novel, June’s background is secondary and June is clearly more connected to her white ethnicity. June describes her connection to her Native heritage as, “I felt as much part American Indian as I did part elephant.” D. G. Driver is not an Indigenous American, but after teaching her class about Native Americans and being especially interested in the tribes of the Northwest, she wanted her main character’s background to be at least partially American Indian. I don’t have sufficient knowledge of Native American history or lore, but I felt that the author took the time to research and represent Juniper respectfully. I greatly enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the sequel. I also hope to see more books for kids by Native American authors.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.
2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors
HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild
PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs
GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies
SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press
BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal Bowe, Gokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press
2018 Author Sponsors
Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina
Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo, Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and MFL Publishing Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham Author Natasha Yim
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
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