cover image The Storyteller

The Storyteller

Brandon Hobson. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-33-879726-8

An anxious Cherokee sixth grader finds the courage to pursue the truth behind his mother’s disappearance in this supernatural adventure by Cherokee author Hobson (The Removed, for adults). Eleven-year-old Ziggy Echota lives in Poisonberry, N.Mex., with his father, grandmother, and older sister Moon. Ever since his mother went missing 10 years before this book’s start, Ziggy has been seeing a therapist to help him manage his anxiety, which he believes is exacerbated by his mother’s disappearance: “Native Women go missing all over the country. Nobody seems to be doing much about it,” he explains. When new friend Alice, who is Cherokee and uses a hearing aid, tells him they might be able to find clues about his mother in secret desert caves said to be occupied by mischievous spirits called Nunnehi, who can take human form, he endeavors to set aside his fears to uncover the truth. Hobson weaves complex emotional elements such as Ziggy’s relationships with Alice and Moon and his experiences with his anxiety alongside ethereal fantasy tropes, plentiful Cherokee cultural nuance, and educational conversation surrounding the United States’ historic prejudiced treatment of Indigenous peoples to craft an atmospheric and meditative read. Ages 9–12. Agent: Bill Clegg, Clegg Agency. (May)