This is really happening, on Monday.
The second book in my Rwendigo Tales series is poised for release. You can buy it from New Growth Press, where there will be a special deal of 30% off on the new book and 40% off on the dual purchase of both A Bird, A Girl, and a Rescue and A Chameleon, A Boy, and A Quest (book one). Or you can buy it from Amazon.
Admittedly, the standard price of a book these days seems quite steep. $15 for these high-quality illustrated paperbacks (without the discount . . . with it you pay $10 for one or $9 each for two); $28+ for brand new hardbacks (we didn't even go there). It's an investment.
So why should anyone buy this book? Here are 10 reasons.
10. You have someone in your life in the 8-14 age range whom you love. These books were written as Christmas-present family read-alouds when my kids were that age. As a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or neighbor or teacher, we value a solid piece of writing that grabs our kids' imaginations. And we value a birthday or Christmas gift that becomes a friend, that can be read and re-read and shared.
9. You love words. The vocabulary of the Rwendigo Tales pushes us a bit. They are written with the confidence that kids want to be challenged and stretched.
8. You love illustrations. Acacia Masso, who grew up with our family and is now studying art at Arcadia University, created original line drawings for each chapter.
7. You don't live in Africa, but you care about those who do. Literature offers us the opportunity to love our neighbours as ourselves, the first step of which is to see them. To be transported to a part of the world you would not otherwise experience is a gift. A friend posted this review by Jeffery Overstreet of the movie Timbuktu that really resonated with this point:
6. You do live in Africa, and there is a dearth of literature for kids that actually relates to their experience. One gift of story is to communicate to a child that they are not alone, that there are others who have lived through challenges like theirs, that they are normal and there is hope.
5. You look for stories with female leads. Because half of humanity is female, after all.
4. You appreciate encountering hard realities like human trafficking, and the connection between environmental exploitation and funding conflicts, but would prefer to do so in the context of a story. This isn't just for children. Most of the Bible is story too . . . we need truth, but we absorb it best when it comes to us connected to characters.
3. You want to help your kids ponder how to live with bullies, how to face evil, how to forgive. This book does not shy away from violence on a personal and societal level, and the protagonist must search within her own soul to respond.
2. You like a book grounded in historical events, but you're also open to a bit of magical realism. This series subtly weaves both genres. The climax event of A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue actually happened not far from where we lived, when a rebel army invaded. In the book, however, the spiritual world breaks into the material, and unexpected plot twists occur. You have to read it to see.
1. You believe in changing the stories that others may be trapped in. I saved the best for last, because this is my favourite thing about the series and the reason I'm willing to beg you to buy it. All of the above is true and worth your investment. But if you need one more justification to spend so much money, it is this: half of all the royalties (the portion paid to me, not the portion the publisher retains to cover their own costs of printing and distribution) goes into a Rwendigo Fund that actually supports kids like the ones in the stories. So you get a good book to read, and a girl on the other side of the world gets an education. Here is the final page of the book, which explains the process: