cover image Lalani of the Distant Sea

Lalani of the Distant Sea

Erin Entrada Kelly. Greenwillow, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-274727-3

A fantasy inspired by Filipino folklore, this vibrant story by Newbery Medalist Kelly (Hello, Universe) follows Lalani Sarita, 12, on her harrowing quest to save her mother and her island, Sanlagita, from the horrible fates for which they seem destined. When Lalani’s father perished after being selected to sail to Mount Isa, “where all of life’s good fortunes were said to be,” Lalani and her mother were forced to live with her frightening uncle and his cruel son. Now, with her mother ill and her island suffering from a drought that has killed off medicinal plants, Lalani faces an impossible quest: sailing across the sea that has taken the lives of countless men, including her father, in search of something that might heal her mother and reveal what’s really beyond their small island home. Kelly intersperses second-person narratives that describe the mountain’s many fantastical creatures (“Imagine you are a weeping loset”), weaving adventure and magic into the story. Unlikely but determined heroine Lalani is lovably loyal, kind-hearted, and optimistic even as she faces unspeakable dangers, and her relentless spirit makes her a worthy protagonist in this triumphant tale about fighting for the people one loves and staying true to oneself. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Sept.) [/em]