A cautionary tale about the perils of humanity’s large ecological footprint.
Eleven-year-old brown-skinned, “wild”-haired Kiri inhabits an ecologically damaged world. She lives on the edge of a swamp with her conservationist father, a white man named Martin, outside the fugee village. While collecting samples for him on the beach, she sees the villagers pull out a magnificent leatherback turtle, a “once-were creature” thought to be extinct, but she and Martin are unable to prevent its slaughter. After a fight breaks out between Martin and a villager, they are told to not intervene in fugee affairs because they are wallers—those who fled ecological damage to live in walled cities. When a panther Martin tracks later on dies, Kiri vows to somehow protect its cubs. But when Kiri falls ill, she must be treated at the waller city. Price of admission: three panther cubs. Can Kiri save the panther cubs so they can be returned to the wild and also help the fugee villagers and her father come together for the good of all? An author’s note discusses the critical endangerment of Florida panthers and leatherback turtles and invites readers to join in creating a more sustainable world. The religious beliefs of the fugees, a multiethnic population, include a practice similar to Day of the Dead and a belief in spirits called “devis.”
A powerful tale of a future to be avoided. (Science fiction. 8-12)