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Ebony Mom Politics recommends Ship of Souls for parents looking to ward off spring break boredom:

My kids will be on spring break soon and by Day 3 I will hear this familiar phrase, “I’m bored.” To cure that boredom I am going to let them read Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott. This novel details the journey of D (Dmitri) an orphaned math whiz, Hakeem, a basketball star and Nyla a spunky Army brat. Their paths intersect when D becomes a tutor for Hakeem who only has eyes for Nyla. In this fantastical tale D meets a magic bird who has the ability to morph into all sorts of things, but the bird has a specific mission for the trio that will ultimately change their lives. This urban fantasy is centered around Brooklyn, and it is exciting to watch them navigate in search of their own truth. This sometimes frightening tale will keep the reader on pins and needles as they watch the trio walk toward their destiny. It successfully combines African history with modern day mystery. The beauty of this story is it is a learning experience and an adventure. I also love that the fact that the reader also gets the opportunity to reflect on the tale with a series of thought-provoking questions at the end. This is a great read for adults and kids alike.

Ship of Souls also got a nice review over at Finding Wonderland. Thoughtful reviews are always appreciated, but critiques by fellow authors are especially meaningful:

Dmitri, or D, is a great narrator—he’s a smart kid who’s trying to muddle along and be strong in the wake of his mother’s death, but that’s hard to do when your world has turned upside down and you’re living with a foster mother. Endearingly, he wants to do everything right, and he really is a good guy, but he still feels set apart from his classmates at his new school. The two new friends he makes couldn’t be more different from one another—Hakeem is a Muslim basketball star D is tutoring in math, and Nyla is a worldly-wise, mouthy military brat who hangs out with the self-confessed “freaks”. But they quickly forge a bond when they’re drawn into D’s adventure. I loved that both Hakeem and Nyla are as multicultural as you can get, from diverse families, but in a way that was still realistic rather than seeming forced. I also liked D’s foster mother Mrs. Martin, although I kind of wished she’d had a bigger part somehow.

Lastly, have you signed up for The Book Smugglers‘ newsletter? I was asked to write something for their April issue, and we’ll be giving away five copies of Ship of Souls—so sign up!


About elliottzetta

I'm a black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children. I was born and raised in Canada, but have lived in the US for over a dozen years. I teach and write in Brooklyn. When I'm not writing, you're most likely to find me strolling through the botanic garden...

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