Girl of the Southern Sea
by Michelle Kadarusman
Pub Date 02 May 2019
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From Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman, an empowering novel about a girl from the slums of Jakarta who dreams of an education and the chance at a better life
From the time she was a little girl, Nia has dreamed up adventures about the Javanese mythical princess, Dewi Kadita. Now fourteen, Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train station, but too much of his earnings go toward his drinking habit. Too often Nia is left alone to take over the food cart as well as care for her brother and their home in the Jakarta slums.
But Nia is determined to find a way to earn her school fees. After she survives a minibus accident unharmed and the locals say she is blessed with 'good luck magic,' Nia exploits the notion for all its worth by charging double for her fried bananas. Selling superstitions can be dangerous, and when the tide turns it becomes clear that Nia’s future is being mapped without her consent.
If Nia is to write a new story for herself, she must overcome more obstacles than she could ever have conceived of for her mythical princess, and summon courage she isn't sure she has.
A portion of the proceeds from this #ownvoices story are in support of Plan International Canada Because I Am A Girl
A Note From the Publisher
2019 Governor General's Literary Award: Young People's Literature - Text Finalist 2019 Northern Lights Book Award: Pre-Teen Cultural Winner 2019 Junior Library Guild selection
(Grades 4-7) In this contemporary tale set in the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia, a talented girl resolves to become a writer in spite of poverty, her father's alcoholism, and grief over her mother's death. Nia's dreams of pursuing higher education are put on hold when she has to take over her father's fried banana cart because he squanders his earnings on alcohol instead of feeding Nia and her younger brother. When she survives a minibus crash, the community believes that Nia has miraculous abilities, which she is influenced to use to her advantage. In spare and elegant prose, Kadarusman weaves a quiet tale of survival, grit, and integrity. As Nia struggles to decide between right and wrong, she also takes care of her sibling, confronts the male figures in her life, and builds supportive relationships with female characters. Peppered throughout are stories that Nia crafts, based on Indonesian legends about the princess of the Southern Sea. With nuanced characters, this is a lovely gem for fans of irrepressible girls and contemporary stories set outside of the U.S.--Booklist