Zaria has dreamed of England for as long as she can remember—according to the many novels she’s read, everything magical happens there! When her grandfather suffers a stroke, Zaria and her mother head to London to help care for him. Zaria reads fantastic tales to her grandfather every afternoon, and she’s thrilled to discover that her cousin Winston shares her love of wands, wizards, and mythical creatures. But Zaria soon finds that life in London is actually quite ordinary—until she goes on a day trip to nearby Windsor Castle. There Zaria meets two extraordinary ghosts who need help finding their way back to the African continent they once called home.
Book #3 in the City Kids series. Read my interview at Cynsations.
6″ x 9″ | 114 pages
It’s a good story for any young (nine or tenish, I’d say) fantasy reader who loves ghosts and mysteries and castles. What makes it special is that Zetta Elliott is unapologetic about directly positioning both modern and historic characters of the African diaspora in a fantasy novel. She raises issues of colonialism, both its past and its present reverberations (including Zaria’s own family history), while keeping Zaria’s particular story going at a nice pace, so that the message doesn’t overwhelm the reading experience (in large part because Zaria is utterly relatable to any young Anglophile fantasy reader, and also in large part because it’s a neat ghost story).
The result is a fascinating, moving story that not only adds diversity to the genre but makes for good reading.