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Mayowa and the Sea of Words

"Enchantingly fresh fantasy grounded in very real and important issues of the day."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

June 2024 Debut of the Month

This debut middle grade novel from bestselling author Chibundu Onuzo is a dazzlingly original and imaginative fantasy, the first in a projected trilogy and, what is more, a wonderful allegory about the power of words.

10 year old Mayowa discovers she has inherited a powerful ability from her paternal grandfather. She is a logosalter- someone who can jump onto a book, and channel the emotions conveyed by those words into other people- changing their attitudes and behaviour and at the extreme end even weaponised. The amount of power that can be generated is very logically in direct proportion to the number of readers the book has had. Jumping on an international best seller or old classic could be very dangerous, not least for the logosalter. May and her grandfather discover they are not, as he thought, the only logosalters in existence and someone is using this power with evil intent.

What makes this story so outstanding is not just the imaginative fantasy elements but the way in which the story and wonderfully inclusive characters are very much grounded in important issues of the day. They realise their logosalter adversary is trying to force through the cruellest anti refugee legislation. Will Maya’s new found powers be able to prevent this? Without seeming at all forced, the refugee issue is made real and examined through Maya’s friendship with newly arrived Hamza. Even young readers will pick up on the injustices of the system his family face.

Maya is truly a heroine for our age. Wonderfully witty and informative footnotes might be my favourite feature in the novel and these, and the wry narrative voice, rich language, fast pace and engaging characters will have readers yearning for book two!

Joy Court

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