Booklist: Children's books set around the world
Aisha Bushby, author of the Moonchild duology, joins us this week to share some books that will transport readers around the world.
Aisha told us, "I first thought of the idea for Moonchild in Boscastle, Cornwall, in 2017. But in order to make the series a reality, it sailed the seas all the way to the Middle Eastern Gulf. Travel has been a big part of my upbringing: I first moved from Kuwait to England aged 7 (and then back and forth again during my teens). It's something that impacts my writing hugely, and so I'm pleased to be offering a list of other recommendations that will transport you all over the world.''
The Girl Who Stole An Elephant
The premise of this story drew me to it immediately, and the book did not disappoint. Set in Sri Lanka, it's filled with adventure and friendship and loyalty. Nizrana Farook has also written a second book set in the same world (which sits high up on my precariously tall to-read pile) called The Boy Who Met a Whale.
Children of the Quicksands
As a child I was super intrigued by quicksand, so to see it used as a portal was exciting. Add witch magic into the mix and I'm hooked! Efua Traoré sets her world in a remote village in Nigeria where the protagonist, Simi, visits her grandmother for the summer.
In a video interview hosted by Anna James as part of her Bookwanderers Club, Efua speaks about how her childhood has influenced this book. It was such a captivating watch to add context to the story.
When Life Gives You Mangoes
I read in an interview that the setting is inspired by the fishing village the author grew up in in Jamaica. I remember reading the first page and being immediately drawn in by Clara's voice, but the underlying mystery and fully-realised characters hooked me throughout. This is an unforgettable read that just so happens to feature my favourite fruit.
The Island at the End of Everything
Kiran Millwood Hargrave
My last two choices are books I read a few years ago, but that have stuck with me. The first is by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, whose new releases are always a special occasion for me. Set in The Philippines, this book was so viscerally imagined and beautifully written that I sobbed when I finished it.
The Book of Wonders
Jasmine Richards (the founder of the fantastic Storymix) is a powerhouse, both as an author and editor. Her debut, inspired by the Arabian Nights and featuring the well-known Sinbad himself, is one of the most fun and charming MG adventures I've read.
Moonchild: City of the Sun
Aisha Busby & Rachael Dean
Aisha's new book, Moonchild: City of the Sun, is the final book in a Middle-Eastern-inspired fantasy duology about three children as they discover their moon magic, and ultimately the power of their emotions. Aisha was born and spent her childhood in Kuwait before moving to the UK and her writing deeply reflects this dual heritage – from the Arabic language, to the storytelling style which takes inspiration from the Arabian Nights, to the influence of Cornish witch tales. The first book, Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found, is available here.