Title: BAYOU MAGIC
Author: Jewell Parker Rhodes
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
From Goodreads: If only Maddy sees the mermaid, can it be real?
It’s Maddy’s turn to have a bayou summer. At first she misses life back home in the city, but soon she grows to love everything about her new surroundings — the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only Maddy sees. Could it be a mermaid? As her grandmother shares wisdom about sayings and signs, Maddy realizes she may be only the sibling to carry on her family’s magical legacy. And when a disastrous oil leak threatens the bayou, she knows she may also be the only one who can help. Does she have what it takes to be a hero?
A coming-of-age tale rich with folk magic, set in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Bayou Magic celebrates hope, friendship, and family, and captures the wonder of life in the Deep South.
Why I recommend this book: Maddy is the youngest of five sisters. Every Summer one sister is sent to spend time with their grandma in Bon Temps. This Summer, it’s Maddy’s turn. Having heard supposedly horror stories from her sisters, she is more than apprehensive. What she discovers however, once she gets there changes her life forever and for the best.
This is a story of love, family, community and culture. Maddy’s summer in Bon Temps is marked with good food, magic, but also a tragedy known as the Deep-water Horizon Oil Spill.
The story is beautifully told. The writing is seamless and the characters have so much personality. I also appreciated the author’s take on the water deity known as Mamy Water to my people in West Africa.
This book is definitely a keeper.