Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

Recommended for ages 8-12

Twelve year old Lalani Sarita lives on the oppressive island of Sanlagita where everyone fears “the mountain” and life consists of cleaning, cooking, mending and errands. The island has endured a drought and the people are running out of food and water. Lalani’s mother has also taken sick with mender’s disease, an often fatal illness. A mythical creature on “the mountain” grants Lalani one wish and she wishes for rain. It rained for days, then weeks and finally the “the mountain” gave way and destroyed parts of the village. The villagers blamed Lalani for their hardships so she decides to try and help. She sets out on a quest for Mount Isa, which lies to the North of Sanlagita. While there, she encounters beautiful, mythical creatures and much danger. The other girl never returned, will Lalani?

Erin Entrada Kelly has written a mesmerizing story reminiscent of Filipino folklore with beautiful creatures and vivid landscapes and a protagonist that’s courageous, kindhearted and loyal.  I could not put this book down!!

Reviewed by Amy Knickerbocker, Wickes Library