Orca Book Publishers

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Adult Fiction
Pages: 128
Themes: homelessness, poverty, crime, magic realism
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/09/2013
Fry Reading Level: 3.0
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Mother Anqelique runs a shelter for homeless mothers and their children in a run-down inner-city area, where drug addiction, prostitution and random acts of violence are facts of life. One day, newly orphaned Jamal and his sister Chantay arrive at the shelter, hungry and scared. As Angelique tries to find a new home for them, she develops a fascination with seven-year-old Jamal, who seems to inhabit a world of his own. Jamal tells her fantastic stories of a man named Jacky Wacky, who protects the poor children of the city and punishes the adults who harm them. A God-fearing woman, Angelique doesn't believe his stories at first. But strange things begin to happen whenever Jamal is around, and Mother Angelique is forced to admit that the world may contain stranger truths than her faith can explain.

GoErie.com - January 6, 2014
"[A mystery] with indelible characters that genuinely warms the heart."
CM Magazine - October 25, 2013
"This intriguing, somewhat dark tale delves into the lives of poor children who have suffered violence and abuse. It has an element of fantastical realism shown in the mysterious character of Jacky Wacky. His uncanny ability not to be seen by adults but believed and cherished by children is a thread that provides hope and mystery throughout the novel...The maturity of the subject matter will appeal to older teens and adults who are becoming independent readers...Highly Recommended."
VOYA - October 1, 2013
"Features a plot that moves quickly and is filled with action...The sentence structure is simple, and the vocabulary is easy to understand, making it a great read for English-language learners."
ForeWord Reviews - September 1, 2013
"A short novel for beginning adult readers ties mystical urban legends with inner-city life...With innovative characters who speak like real people, and a plotline that progresses steadily and convincingly."
Publishers Weekly - July 12, 2013
"Worthy and positive...with the weary but determined voice of its earnestly captured narrator and its hopeful message for exploited and abused inner-city youths...Appropriate for adult literacy and ESL programs."

Awards

SLJ's Best Books for Teens Living in the ‘Margins’ list  | 2014 | Commended
Golden Oak Award nominee  | 2014 | Short-listed

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Short, high-interest
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Short, high-interest novels

Compelling characters

Reading levels: 2.0-4.5

Ideal for ESL and literacy programs

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