A gripping, richly imagined fantasy set in an alternate ancient African world in which a Black girl finds her power and saves her people from evil, by the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning author of Black Panther: The Young Prince.
In the land of Alkebulan, twelve-year-old Asha is an orphan, raised by Madame S, the proprietor of a traveling carnival. When Madame S is attacked by ghoulish creatures, she manages to tell Asha before she dies, “Seek the Underground Kingdom, where the black flowers bloom.”
Asha doesn’t understand the mysterious words, but they launch her onto a page-turning quest to protect her people and stop an ancient evil. Along the way, she uncovers shocking secrets about the family she never knew and begins to find her place in the world as she discovers her own untapped powers.
Ronald L. Smith is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award–winning author of several acclaimed novels for young readers, including Hoodoo, The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away, Gloom Town, Where the Black Flowers Bloom, and the Black Panther: The Young Prince series. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. To learn more, visit strangeblackflowers.com.
(Where the Black Flowers Bloom) "Inspired by African mythology and folklore, this lushly wrought hero’s journey touches deftly on themes of family, fate, forgiveness, and justice." — Publishers Weekly
(Where the Black Flowers Bloom) "Elaborate worldbuilding will draw readers in. . . . Hand this to young readers seeking adventurous new fantasy." — School Library Journal
(Where the Black Flowers Bloom) "A wild and beautiful coming-of-age story of a girl who has far more power than she knows." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
(Where the Black Flowers Bloom) "A captivating quest for family, magic, and belonging." — Kirkus Reviews
(The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away) "Smith continues to be one of the most distinct and impressive voices in middle-grade speculative fiction right now." — Booklist
(The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away) "A tightly plotted novel full of suspense and compassion with a climax that will chill readers straight to the bone." — Horn Book Magazine
(Gloom Town) "This atmospheric tale conjures up a seaside setting full of secrets and long-lost legends . . . the intriguing characters, eerie moments, and lurking peril prove a winning combination." — Publishers Weekly
(Black Panther: The Young Prince) "Energetic, fast-paced and adventurous, this will keep readers riveted . . . a must purchase." — School Library Journal
(Hoodoo) "A riveting story with a dollop of southern gothic appeal." — Booklist