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Bayou Magic

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Published by Little, Brown, 2015
239 pages
ISBN: 978𢠥16224840

Ages 811

Nine-year-old Maddy is spending the summer with Grandmere in Bon Temps Bayou. Grandmere knows things by intuition, by observation, and also by her gift, and she suspects Maddy may be the same. Grandmere tells Maddy the story of her great-great-great-grandmother, Membe, who loved Mama Wata, the water goddess, but felt abandoned by her after being captured and enslaved. Mama Wata sent a firefly to comfort Membe, and traveled alongside the boat bringing Membe to America. Like Grandmere, Maddy can call fireflies. But only Maddy can sees the girl in the water who Grandmere is sure is Mama Wata. Maddy feels like a genuine kid, and her exploration of the bayou with a boy named Bear has a sense of everyday adventure in a story that deftly blends magical realism with strongly developed real-world setting and characters. When an explosion on an offshore oil rig threatens the bayou with devastation, the storytelling gains a sense of urgency. Maddy must call on her gift and her courage to reach Mama Wata for help in order to save the place and people she has come to love.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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