cover image Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

Jamar J. Perry. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0694-8

Ever since he lost his parents two years ago, Igbo-descended 12-year-old Cameron Battle has been forbidden from entering the attic of the Atlanta home he shares with his grandmother and reading the Book of Chidani. The book is a family heirloom filled with stories about a hidden realm in Nigeria that was created centuries back to protect the Igbo people in the height of chattel slavery. But during a sleepover, Cameron and his best friends, tech-savvy Aliyah and smart, protective Zion, sneak into the attic to read the Book, accidentally opening a portal to Chidani itself. There, they discover that Cameron’s parents died defending the land, leaving him as the realm’s only Descendant. To save Chidani from the queen’s sister, who seeks to shatter the barrier that keeps enslavers outside it, Cameron must bond with the Book and, with his friends, retrieve a trio of stolen magical artifacts while facing monsters, gods, and their own fears. Rooted in Igbo mythology and starring Black protagonists of various ethnic backgrounds, Perry’s tale offers up a fast-paced, intense story of legacy and loss as Cameron worries about whether he’s fit for the task at hand, even as he draws on the support of his companions and memories of his family legacy. Ages 8–12. Agent: Caitie Flum, Liza Dawson Assoc. (Feb.)