A moving, hopeful tale about confronting depression.

ZIA ERASES THE WORLD

Suffering from depression, a girl erases words from a magical dictionary, hoping in the process to also erase her sadness.

Zia, a sixth grader with a gift for making up words, lived happily with her mother until Shadoom came into her life a year ago. Shadoom is Zia’s name for the “room of shadows” now filling her with “fear and hurt and sadness.” Afraid everyone will think she’s a “hopeless weirdling,” Zia stops hanging out with her best friends, hides in the girls’ bathroom at lunch, and refuses to tell her mother, who’s stressed enough working two jobs, paying bills, and caring for Zia’s grouchy Greek immigrant grandmother who has dementia. Zia wants to fix herself, but she doesn’t know what’s wrong. Discovering her grandmother’s mysterious dictionary that comes with a charmed eraser, Zia experiments with erasing words and feels empowered as they vanish from the world. While removing words that trigger Shadoom, Zia erases fear and then pain with dire consequences and must find a way to undo her actions. Narrating in the first-person present tense, Zia’s honest voice adds immediacy and credibility to her chronicle of the frightening onset of her depression, her lonely efforts to conceal it, her totally misguided attempts to magically erase it, and the realization she doesn’t have to cope on her own. Definitions of words key to Zia’s story introduce each chapter, reinforcing the dictionary theme.

A moving, hopeful tale about confronting depression. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35099-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more