Written & Illustrated by:
For ages: MG
- Black Protagonists
- Women in STEM
- Single Parent Families
Ya’ll, especially after this past summer filled with gross transphobic tweets from JKR, I’ve been on the hunt for a Harry Potter replacement. Let me tell you, I’ve found it. As soon as I finished it, I wanted a second book to dive into. It’s. That. Good. Technically, the book hasn’t even been released yet and I’m already impatient for another!
Amari and her mother live in low income housing, and her older brother Quinton has gone missing while working at the secretive new job that he got right out of high school. The police seem to think that he just got into some trouble, and are skeptical that he even had a job in the first place. One evening, Amari gets a Wakeful Memory message from Quinton and find out that he recommended her for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. She gets there for the summer program, finds out that Quinton is an internationally renowned agent AND her magical ability is illegal. It’s a lot to handle.
I love the way B.B. Alston weaves the fantasy aspects of the story with other issues like racism and socio-economic status. Making friends is hard, even harder when you’re trying to make it through Junior Agent tryouts and your superstar brother is missing. I love it when a book surprises me, and this one did. I am fully invested in Amari developing her magic and becoming an agent. This book had everything I look for in a good fantasy book: a Black heroine, social-emotional character development, badass magical abilities, and facing fears in order to help others.
This book was kindly sent by Harper Kids, and will be released tomorrow, January 19th!
B.B. Alston started writing in middle school, entertaining his classmates with horror stories starring the whole class where not everyone survived! After several years of trying to break into publishing, he had just been accepted into a biomedical graduate program when a chance entry into a twitter pitch contest led to his signing with TBA, 20+ book deals worldwide, and even a film deal. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead.
BB was inspired to write AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS because he couldn’t find any fantasy stories featuring Black kids when he was growing up. He hopes to show kids that though you might look different, or feel different, whatever the reason, your uniqueness needn’t only be a source of fear and insecurity. There is great strength and joy to be found in simply accepting yourself for who you are. Because once you do so, you’ll be unstoppable.