cover image Ink Girls

Ink Girls

Marieke Nijkamp, illus. by Sylvia Bi. Greenwillow, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-302711-4

Small acts of intention and kindness propel this feel-good graphic novel about truth, friendship, and grassroots power by Nijkamp (At the End of Everything), which takes place in fictional city Siannerra. Tween apprentice Cinzia’s mentor, Mestra Arrone, taught Cinzia that “trust is the foundation of our city,” a belief that fuels the duo’s desire to spread truth via their avvisi, or news pamphlets. So when Cinzia and Mestra are arrested for printing an unflattering truth about the corrupt Lord Magistrate—whose reign has created widespread upheaval and distrust within Siannerra—Cinzia seeks their release; she manages to escape detainment but must leave Mestra behind. Cinzia soon finds allies in young Contessina Elena, pirate Carlotta, and hijabi Aneeqah; together they endeavor to free Mestra while also investigating the Magistrate’s corruption to restore trust throughout Siannerra. Debut artist Bi employs angled panels to emphasize action and detail, and renders a bustling medieval city via double-page, draftsman-like maps of the environment and cross-sections of buildings. Savvy readers will notice commentary on the contemporary political landscape in this high-stakes story of communal action. Characters are portrayed with varying skin tones. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Natascha Morris, Tobias Literary. (Nov.)