“Esme’s Wish” by Elizabeth Foster

Are you excited about spring? I am. At least I’m looking forward to doing some planting – Finja and I already selected some veggies and fruits and will start our raised garden beds and edible garden within the next weeks. Luckily, our five-year-old is an avid gardener. With a new job and a new book project coming up I somehow find myself behind the computer more than I planned on… But please, don’t get too excited. I would love to write some great fiction, but after writing textbooks and working in public relations, my writing-stamina seems to have suffered. As a teenager I would spend days on my computer, lost in the pages of my writing program, dreaming up new worlds and imagining new characters. Years of non-fiction-writing made it harder to use my imagination – but maybe growing up is part of this, too…

IMG_0463

Luckily Elizabeth Foster, author of “Esme’s wish”, overcame the same condition – and her book is proof of that! According to her own words, Elizabeth sees daydreaming as central part of her life. She used to enjoy writing as a child, but then grew up and was sadly waylaid by more serious pursuits. “Reading to my own kids reminded me of how much I missed getting lost in other worlds, and once I started writing again, I couldn’t stop.”

The book cover of “Esme’s wish” promises a coming-of-age-story with fantastic elements. Dragons flying over the Mediterranean Sea, a magical island and flying book pages – does it take more to make you curious?

Years after her mother’s disappearance, Esme’s family seemed to have moved on. Her father is getting married. Everybody is keeping silent about the tragedy that happened seven years ago. Each day is a reminder that Esme is utterly alone with her wish to find out what really happened to her mother. The world around her isn’t as it should be. By accident, Esme find an old letter by her great-grandmother – a clue, which leads her to a gateway into the world of Aeolia. Here, Esme will find out what really happened to her mother…

Esme’s story is aimed towards teenagers, but will be loved by adult readers, too – especially those who love mythology, strong characters and female role models. While younger readers will identify themselves with the curious, strong willed and sometimes too trusting Esme, I couldn’t stop reflecting about the mother-daughter-relationship.

Elizabeth Foster describes a vibrant world full of magic, a world that will not let go of you when you turn the last page… A book for everyone that loves foreign worlds and would love to start dreaming again!

IMG_0462.JPG

Curious about an author’s life? Follow Elizabeth Foster on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

More information:
“Esme’s Wish”
Written by Elizabeth Foster
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Odyssey Books
ISBN-13: 978-1925652246

Advertisements

“Malala’s pencil” by Malala Yousafzai

As you know, our family absolutely adores books. And so sometimes, when I only plan on buying some groceries, I can’t resist the urge to purchase another one… Usually I don’t by books at Target, but today, “Malala’s magic pencil” miraculously landed in my shopping cart. And I still am not sure if I purchased the book for our daughter or for me :).

malala

You probably already heard about human rights advocate and the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai. I had her picture book on my wish list for quite some time, but I didn’t borrow or purchase it – until today.

I read the book in the car before arriving home and then again during bedtime. I knew that this would be a unique book and a difficult topic, so I wasn’t sure how our 5-year-old would like it. And I sure wasn’t prepared for “Malala’s pencil” to be THAT extraordinary while age-appropriate for young kids at the same time!

As young girl, Malala wished for a magic pencil to draw a lock on her door or give her one more hour of sleep each night. But growing up her dreams become bigger – she hopes for a world in which boys and girls are equal and children can go to school instead of having to work to be able to feed their families. When the Taliban take over Malala’s hometown in Pakistan, Malala speaks up for what is right – even when the powerful men try to silence her…

We read a lot of multicultural books and Finja loves to read about strong girls. But “Malala’s pencil” was something different. The gentle written text is a joy to read, and it illustrates everyday life as a child in Pakistan. The artwork in pastel and gold perfectly goes with Malala’s story, including the black page saying “”My voice became so powerful that the dangerous men tried to silence me. But they failed.”

The main difference: “Malala’s pencil” gave me goosebumps. The combination of impressive artwork, a wonderfully written text and a strong topic is something you don’t find every day… And it seems our five-year-old felt the same way. She wouldn’t stop asking why anyone could think a girl should not learn and grow up to be strong… No better time for strong female role models!

More information:

Written by Malala Yousafzai

Illustrated by Kerascoet Kerascoet

Age Range: 5 – 8 years

Hardcover: 48 pages

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

ISBN-13: 978-0316319577

 

 

Magical new book releases

If you read my review of “Dragonfly Song” by Wendy Orr you know that I adore YA fiction. My all time favorite is the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pulman. After I used to re-read the complete series around Christmas time, last weekend brought a wonderful surprise: I discovered “The Book of Dust”, a prequel to the story of my favorite heroine of all times – Lyra. To be completely honest, the book is out since a few months now. It’s kind of embarrassing, but between family life, work, running and reviewing I totally missed one of the (for me) most magical releases…

This week brought another surprise: Elizabeth Foster contacted me some weeks ago with the offer to review her first novel “Esme’s wish“. Her description of the book blew me away: “A city of sea dragons, songspells and glittering canals. A city where waters whisper of enchantment. A place sewn into the fabric of her dreams…” Yes, definitely my kind of book! 🙂 Today, the book arrived after a long flight from Australia. I can’t wait to read and review Esme’s story and will keep you posted!

Wendy Orr is a fan already: “A fresh new fantasy, of an enchanting world.” If you want to check out Elizabeth Foster’s new book before my review, visit her homepage, her publisher Odyssey Books oder goodreads!

DQjBzWZUQAA0Hss

…all I wish for Christmas is more time to read. And new running shoes maybe 🙂 What is on your list?

“Dragonfly Song” by Wendy Orr

From the first glimpse of the magnificent cover I knew that „Dragonfly Song“ would be a glorious read. A fantasy story embedded in history? A strong heroine? Sign me up!

Long story short: “Dragonfly Song” was all what I expected it to be – and, at the same time, completely different. Is that a good thing? Definitely! “Dragonfly Song” is a magnificent, magical book for teens and young adults. During a sleepless night, I couldn’t put the book down. I suffered, laughed and, yes, cried. And although I live and die with books, I don’t cry often 🙂

cover112021-medium

But let’s start at the beginning.

Crete, Bronze Age. When Aissa is born with two additional thumbs, her mother, the oracle of Crete, casts her out. Aissa is lucky: The servant entrusted with taking her away suspects that there’s more to the girl. Instead of death, Aissa earns a second chance with a farmer’s family. When raiders kill her adoptive parents and Aissa is the lone survivor, she finds herself on her own again… In a town where the mute girl is denounced as a demon, Aissa has to find her own way to survive and escape her miserable existence. Might the yearly lottery for bull-riders, who will be send as tribute to the bull king’s island, her chance?

I expected fast action when I turned the first page of “Dragonfly Song”. Instead, I found a slow revealing, deep, thoughtful and almost philosophical tale of an abandoned girl and her fight for a better existence. “Dragonfly Song” is more than just a good read. It’s a saga, not just a retelling of the legend of the Minotaur, but a tale of fighting for one’s identity. It’s the story of a strong girl taking her life in her own hands, finding her way against all odds.

We take part in Aissa’s thoughts, dreams and hopes and live with her through highs and lows. As a mother, it pained me to see the girl suffer, living from scrapes on a good day, going hungry for bad days. The townspeople’s treatment of a child left me angry. Then I was at the verge of crying happy tears when Aissa found a special friend in the oracle’s cat and when a bed from seaweed gave her the first good night sleep in years. I might not be the author’s anticipated target audience – but I’m a really critical reader and Wendy Orr’s ability to let me hurt like this speaks for her storytelling!

DLvno-nU8AA6OOZ

Wendy Orr slows down significantly. She incorporates rhyme, which makes “Dragonfly Song” lyrical and interesting to read. Orr’s poetry might be challenging for the average midgrade reader. The sections are not bothersome, though. Embedded in Aissa’s story, at the right time and in the right place, they intensify the feeling of “Dragonfly Song” being a saga. Orr’s writing makes the book really special and a wonderful read – even for mid-graders!

Dragonfly Song” – an outstanding book for young (and old 🙂 ) adults! Read it! Now!

More information:
“Dragonfly Song”
by Wendy Orr
Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: Pajama Press (October 27, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1772780376