Review of Black Dove, White Raven

wein_black dove white ravenBlack Dove, White Raven
by Elizabeth Wein
Middle School, High School    Hyperion    353 pp.
3/15    978-1-4231-8310-5    $17.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-4847-0780-7    $9.99

Wein’s newest novel, set in Ethiopia in the mid-1930s, is in good company with her much-lauded Code Name Verity (rev. 5/12) and Rose Under Fire (rev. 11/13). Em (white) and Teo (black) have grown up together, their mothers American stunt-pilots who met after World War I. After Teo’s mother Delia dies in a crash, Em’s mother moves the family to Ethiopia — in part, to fulfill Delia’s dream for her son to live in the land of his father, where his skin color won’t bring discrimination. Em and Teo love Ethiopia and the cooperative coffee farm where Momma works as nurse and pilot; but when Mussolini’s Italian military moves to take over the country, their own skills as pilots come into play in ways they — and the reader — could never have anticipated. Wein elegantly weaves a complexity of political and cultural understanding into her plot and characters; she provides adventure and intrigue, surprising turns of plot (and flight), sober historical foundation, and two affecting protagonists. The intellectual, psychological, and emotional substance of this story is formidable, and Wein makes it all approachable and engaging.

From the May/June 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Deirdre Baker
Deirdre Baker
Deirdre F. Baker, a reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine and the Toronto Star, teaches children’s literature at the University of Toronto. The author of Becca at Sea (Groundwood), she is currently at work on a sequel—written in the past tense.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more