Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to Brooklyn in 1994 to pursue her PhD in American studies at New York University. Her poetry and essays have been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. She wrote the award-winning picture book Bird and the young adult novel A Wish After Midnight. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Gr 6-8-Dmitri (D), an 11-year-old African American boy, has had a rough start to his short life. Raised and homeschooled in New York City by his protective mother, D has never known his father and has not had many friends. When his mother dies of cancer, D is sent to foster care and enrolled in public school. His foster mother is a kind elderly white woman who is preoccupied with fostering a crack-addicted baby. D finds a home in middle school with the math club, where he excels. He becomes friendly with Nyla, a beautiful eighth grade girl with multiple piercings, and Hakeem, a Muslim basketball player. D finds an injured bird, Nuru, who is actually a mystical being charged with rescuing the trapped souls of dead African American soldiers from the Revolutionary War. When he tries to help Nuru with his mission, D is attacked by Nether Beings, and the three friends begin a dangerous adventure to the African Burial Grounds in lower Manhattan and into the realm of the dead. Benjamin L. Darcie's narration is spot-on, and he does an especially great job of capturing the frustrated voice of Hakeem, upset at being called a terrorist because of his religious beliefs. Elliott's urban fantasy (AmazonEncore, 2012) presents historical facts and touches on many contemporary issues such as poverty, war, and racism.-Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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