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ME AND BANKSY by Tanya Lloyd Kyi


by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-7352-6691-9
Publisher: Puffin/Penguin Random House Canada

When her school’s state-of-the-art security system becomes a vehicle for cyberbullying, a fan of the activist artist launches a rebellion.

Dominica, 13, is an aspiring artist from a white, affluent Vancouver, British Columbia, family. Her widowed mother runs a catering business; her grandmother, an art gallery owner, pays the hefty tuition for Dom’s private school, where cameras were recently installed throughout, an initiative to keep students safe (the school’s Latin motto translates as “security breeds success”). After the security system’s hacked, embarrassing, edited videos of individuals, including Dom, are posted to the school’s student forum. She’s forbidden a social media account, but that doesn’t prevent Dom’s exposure on others’ social media feeds. PixSnappy alerts her when she’s tagged: “see what your friends are up to.” The school eliminates its student forum; the cameras remain. Dom mounts secret, Banksy-inspired critiques of the surveillance, illustrating how privacy erosion facilitates cyberbullying. Meanwhile, her friends help her seek the culprit. If some adult characters’ motives seem far-fetched, the students’ powerful, emotional reactions to the amplified victimization are entirely credible. The mystery of who’s behind the hacking (and their motives) holds readers’ interest. When solved, questions linger: What should happen to impulsive words and acts recorded, altered, and immortalized on social media? How much privacy are we willing to surrender for the promise of safety and security? Kyi’s nonfiction exploration of high-tech spying, Eyes and Spies (2017), makes a natural companion.

Appropriately provocative. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)