July/August 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“P. Djèlí Clark deftly takes the reader through unimaginable horrors to find strength. While reading, some story threads felt comfortingly familiar, like the Baba Yaga tales spun on a new loom. I’m excited for more of Abeni’s adventures.”
— Kristin Richland, Phoenix Books Burlington, Burlington, VT
IN DARKNESS, A SONG CAN LEAD THE WAY. BEWARE WHICH ONE YOU LISTEN TO.
Abeni's Song by award-winning author P. Djèlí Clark is the enchanting beginning of an epic West African and African Diaspora-inspired fantasy adventure for middle-grade readers about a reluctant apprentice to magic and the stolen villagers she sets out to save.
“Lush and magical.” —KWAME MBALIA • “Astonishing.” —MARK OSHIRO • "Abeni's story will sweep you away." —AMANDA FOODY
On the day of the Harvest Festival, the old woman who lives in the forest appears in Abeni's village with a terrible message:
You ignored my warnings. It’s too late to run. They are coming.
Warriors with burning blades storm the village. A man with a cursed flute plays an impossibly alluring song. And everyone Abeni has ever known and loved is captured and marched toward far-off ghost ships set for even more distant lands.
But not Abeni.
Abeni is magically whisked away by the old woman. In the forest, Abeni begins her unwanted magical apprenticeship, her journey to escape the witch, and her impossible mission to bring her people home.
Abeni’s Song is the beginning of a timeless, enchanting fantasy adventure about a reluctant apprentice, a team of spirit kids, and the village they set out to save.
About the Author
Born in New York and raised mostly in Houston, P. DJÈLÍ CLARK spent the formative years of his life in the homeland of his parents, Trinidad and Tobago. He is the author of the novel A Master of Djinn and the novellas Ring Shout, The Black God’s Drums, and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. He has won the Nebula, Locus, and Alex Awards and been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon Awards. His stories have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Apex, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies, including Griots, Hidden Youth, and Clockwork Cairo. He is also a founding member of FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons.
An Indie Next Pick!
A Junior Library Guild Selection!
A Common Sense Media Selection!
★"A rich story of love, loss, and friendship steeped in West African lore. Readers will thrill to the fantastic plot points as well as the genuine relationships between magical and mortal characters, and the fast-paced plot will keep them fully immersed in the story from beginning to end." —Horn Book, starred review
"[Abeni's Song is a] coming-of-age fantasy adventure novel takes place in an intricately-imagined fictional West African setting." —Common Sense Media (selection)
"Abeni’s Song does a fantastic job building a world full of deep lore." —BookPage
"Vibrant and utterly immersive, Abeni's story will sweep you away with its depth of fantastical wonder, tragedy, and coming-of-age adventure." —Amanda Foody, New York Times bestselling author of the Wilderlore Series
"A whimsical tale of found family and hope that brilliantly weaves lush worldbuilding with witches, magic, and an incredibly brave protagonist who learns to believe in herself while on a quest to save her village. This story will live in readers' hearts and minds long after turning the last page." —Rena Barron, Author of the Maya and the Rising Dark Series
"This sweeping epic fantasy takes beloved West African folklore and spins it into a tale of whimsy, horror, and adventure. Clark masterfully builds beautiful, authentic worlds and fills them with characters that are both endearing and flawed. This has the feel of a classic fantasy, something that will be passed down for generations to come." —Booklist
"Enchanting first installment...intricately detailed, riotously fun adventure that explores themes of loyalty, friendship, courage, and the power of belief in oneself." —Publishers Weekly
"A lush and magical fantasy that will leave readers craving more of Abeni's adventure."—Kwame Mbalia, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Tristan Strong series
"An original, enjoyable coming-of-age story.” —Kirkus Review
"Abeni’s Song is simply unlike anything else in the field. An astonishing adventure that managed to thrill, scare, and delight, all while telling a story that is beautifully complicated and moving. Middle grade readers, meet your new favorite author." —Mark Oshiro, #1 New York Times bestseller co-author of The Sun and the Star (From the World of Percy Jackson)
"Anyone can read P. Djèlí Clark’s Abeni’s Song and get something out of it, but Black children are especially going to be drawn to it. It would make a great book for children who love fantasy, adventure, and found family stories." —Locus
Praise for P. Djèlí Clark:
Winner of the Nebula, Alex, Locus, and British Fantasy Awards
ALA's RUSA Reading List Fantasy Winner
One of "Speculative Fiction's Rising Stars" (Goodreads)
"Perfect" —NPR on The Haunting of Tram Car 015
“A fantastical, brutal and thrilling triumph.” —New York Times Book Review on Ring Shout
“Rousing, boisterous, and clever.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on Ring Shout
“Readers will be both captivated and entertained.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Ring Shout
"Sure to wow.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on A Master of Djinn