I have a new book coming out. This time it’s middle grade–and all fantasy. Thought some folks should know.
When I was younger, I devoured fantasy books. I read JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit over a weekend. I finished C.S. Lewis’s entire Narnia series in a few weeks. It wasn’t long before I’d gone through Madeline L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series, the Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin, and dozens of other stories of magic and adventure. In reading fantasy I could step through the pages of books (as powerful a portal as any wardrobe) into worlds where the only limits were set by my imagination—and my imagination was boundless! I’ve held onto that unique bit of childhood magic—dreaming of tesseracting with Meg Murray or sailing the world with Ged.
Despite my success writing adult speculative fiction, I’ve wanted to return to that first love. Now I’m finally getting the chance. And on my terms!
If there was one thing that so many of those early fantasies lacked, it was the chance to see someone who looked like myself represented in the characters and cultures. When I set out to write Abeni’s Song, I filled it with the diversity I’d so longed for in my childhood, bringing some of those familiar themes to a new setting, with a new perspective and vision. Drawing on African and Diaspora myths and folklore, this uplifting story is meant to appeal to middle grade and young adult readers (as well as adults who are still kids at heart!) searching for that same heroism and adventure, within more diverse and fantastic worlds waiting to be explored.
On the day of the spirits festival, the old woman who lives in the forest appears in Abeni’s village with a terrible message:
You ignored my warnings. It’s too late to run. They are coming.
The old woman hasn’t come to save them, only to collect one child as payment for her years of service and protection. When warriors with burning blades storm the village and a man with a cursed flute plays an impossibly alluring song, everyone Abeni has ever known and loved is captured and marched toward far-off ghost ships set for even more distant lands.
But not Abeni. Abeni escapes the warriors in the clutches of the old woman, magically whisked into the forest away from all she’s ever known. And there she begins her unwanted magical apprenticeship, her journey to escape the witch, and her impossible mission to bring her people home.
Abeni’s Song is the beginning of a timeless, enchanting fantasy adventure about a reluctant apprentice, a team of spirit kids, and the village they set out to save from the evil Witch Priest who stole away Abeni’s people.
Abeni’s Song by award-winning author P. Djèlí Clark is the enchanting beginning of an epic West African and African Diaspora-inspired fantasy adventure for middle-grade readers about a reluctant apprentice to magic and the stolen villagers she sets out to save.
You can find more about it on my author site and pre-order at all the online ordering places.
Can’t wait to read this!