Small Mercies

Bridget Krone, illus. by Karen Vermeulen. Catalyst, $15.99 (162p) ISBN 978-1-946395-16-0
Mercy, a dark-skinned child, lives in modern-day South Africa with her foster mothers, two eccentric elderly sisters who took her in after her mother’s death, when she was five. Mercy has been safe and comfortable in the years with Aunt Mary and Aunt Flora, but financial woes, Flora’s worsening Alzheimer’s, and a pushy real-estate developer determined to turn their property into cluster housing plague the family, leaving Mercy fearful that she’ll be taken from her home. With the support of her community, Mercy finds the courage to share her fears and ask for help. Mercy’s foster mothers have a clear distrust of government systems, teaching Mercy to be wary of people such as social workers, opting instead to rely on self-advocacy, friends, and neighbors for support. Characters of all ages populate this debut’s pages, but, disappointingly, the children are less engaging and memorable than the adults, whose big personalities jump colorfully off the page. There are skillful moments in which Krone touches on themes, such as belonging and connection, with brilliant clarity. Ultimately, though, too many subjects, from the state of the foster care system to environmentalism and the plight of bees, vie for attention, lessening the overall effect of the narrative. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 01/28/2020
Release date: 05/01/2019
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 162 pages - 978-1-946395-17-7
Open Ebook - 978-1-946395-50-4
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