Wednesday, January 03, 2018

#WNDB- Black Panther: The Young Prince

Am I the only one is unsure of how to proceed after reading this post by The Radical Copy Editor? I had started to do "World Wednesday" posts back in January of 2014, but when the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement started, I just borrowed their hash tag. I am most likely not using "diverse" properly.

I try to arrange my Wednesday posts to showcase books about a wide variety of people from difference ethnic backgrounds, levels of personal challenges, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Does anyone know the best term to use? "Windows and Mirrors Wednesday", going back to Mitali Perkin's quote?

35099656Smith, Ronald L. Black Panther: The Young Prince
January 2nd 2018 by Marvel Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com

T'Challa enjoys his life as the heir to the throne of Wakanda, where his father is the reigning Black Panther. Their society is very technologically advanced because years ago a meteor hit near them and gave the valuable element of Vibranium to them. When war approached their borders, T'Challa's father sends him and his friend, M'Baku, to the African embassy in Chicago to hide from the father's enemies. T'Challa's adopted brother, Hunter, is older and stays to help with the war. When the boys arrive in Chicago, they find that the embassy is not nearly as luxurious as their home, and their middle school is certainly not what they are used to. While T. Charles (as he becomes known) embraces his nerdy French speaking, wrestling self and makes friends with Zeke and Sheila, Marcus decides to play basketball and befriends the shady Gemini Jones, who claims to be a warlock. T. is very concerned when Marcus moves in with the Jones family, but the war is heating up in Wakanda, and his father is otherwise occupied. T. investigates and finds that Mr. Jones is involved with some very scary magic, and he is afraid that his friend Marcus is involved. Can Sheila, Zeke and T. figure out what it going on and use the powers of the Black Panther to stop Gemini and his father before bad things occur? How will the war in Wakanda play out? And what does the future hold for the young Black Panther?
Strengths: Smith, whose two books on magic (HooDoo and The Mesmerist) show a great understanding for the way spiritualism and superstition play out in various communities, was a fantastic choice to write this book. The Black Panther canon seems to be presented well enough for people (like me!) who don't know anything about it, but with enough new information to be interesting to Black Panther fans. The Chicago setting is used well, and the story stands alone well.
Weaknesses: I found it difficult to believe that the boys were not taken care of better. Wouldn't an embassy have a lot of interest in protecting the son of a king? I was hoping that the concierge would step up and be sort of an Alfred (with Bruce Wayne) protector, but that didn't happen. The target demographic won't care, but if the boys really were in middle school, more adults would have been involved. I might have placed them in high school for a more realistic feel.
What I really think: Will probably purchase for my readers who like superheroes.

And for another, slightly different title involving panthers...

34848200
Schrefer, Eliot. Mez's Magic (The Lost Rainforest #1)
January 2nd 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

This would be a great choice if you have readers who are loving Erin Hunter's new Braveland series. Exotic animals in an exotic location-- Schrefer always does a great job with this. I may pass, since interest in talking animals is waning in my school. Still, take a look at this one for elementary and middle school.

From Goodreads.com:

"Caldera has forever been divided into those animals who walk by night and those who walk by day. Nightwalker panthers, like young Mez and her beloved sister, have always feared daywalkers as creatures of myth and legend. Until the eclipse.

Now Mez has discovered that she can cross the Veil and enter the daylight world. Her magical power has unknown depths, but she must rush to discover it after a mysterious stranger arrives at her family’s den, bearing warnings of a reawakened evil.

Saving Caldera means Mez must leave her sister behind and unite an unlikely group of animal friends to unravel an ancient mystery and protect their rainforest home."

1 comment:

  1. First time seeing this flowchart specifically; I've read some discussion on this topic elsewhere but I'm still not sure whether the phrasing 'diverse books' should be scrapped entirely. I think the discussion of whether it's okay to say something like 'WNDB' gets confusing because even if we use it to mean books that differ from one another (which is essentially what bloggers/readers want, I think), thus following the path on the flowchart to 'yes', this also often means we're talking about and focusing on books that differ from the cultural norm (because if you have a bunch of books that aren't diverse, it's likely because they're adhering to cultural norms)...that's my stab it. Anyway, I like the idea of Windows and Mirrors Wednesday; it seems to more accurately represent the concept behind the books you want to share.

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