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Review of Hurricane Child

Hurricane Child
by Kheryn Callender
Middle School    Scholastic    213 pp.    g
3/18    978-1-338-12930-4    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-338-12932-8    $10.99

Twelve-year-old Caroline Murphy, who lives on tiny Water Island near St. Thomas, is certain that she is cursed, and she may be right. Born inauspiciously during a hurricane — a portent of bad luck — Caroline was left behind with her father when her mother left without explanation. Constantly facing prejudice because of her dark skin, Caroline is bullied by classmates and teachers alike at her Catholic school on St. Thomas. She is also haunted by a spirit — a woman in black that only Caroline can see. Things finally begin to change for the better when new student Kalinda arrives from Barbados and instantly charms everyone, including Caroline. The immediacy of Caroline’s present-tense narration thoroughly immerses readers in an emotional tempest. Desperation to mend her broken family meets the rising tide of her crush on Kalinda as Caroline struggles to confront her feelings and the truth about her mother’s departure. Callender’s debut masterfully deploys the rich landscape of Caribbean life and is trenchant in its portrayal of the cruel reality of prejudice alongside the fragility and resilience of inner strength. Fans of Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies will find similar thoughtful exploration of island identities and nuanced themes of difference, belonging, and family.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

About Anastasia M. Collins

Anastasia M. Collins is a children’s literature scholar and academic librarian. She holds an MS in library science and an MA in children’s literature from Simmons College and the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.

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