The Selkie’s Daughter

Holiday House. Jan. 2024. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823454396.
Gr 4-8–Brigit knows that in order to fit in, she must remove the webbing of skin that is growing between her fingers. Although painful, cousin Alys has always helped with this process. Kids at school aren’t very accepting of her, given that she’s half human, half seal. Being the daughter of a Selkie (seal woman), Brigit lives near Nova Scotia with her parents and little brother Willie. Thankfully, she develops some close friendships that end up being essential when she finds herself alone; her father has disappeared while fishing, and her mother has returned to the sea to find him. A large golden seal holds the key to the village’s survival, as he is preventing the fish from being caught and even causing some of the storms that wreak havoc on the villagers and their way of life. The story is written in first person; Brigit and the other characters read as white. Have a tissue box nearby as heartbreak is in sure supply. The struggle between good and evil become blurred as readers are led to consider both sides, both of value. Topics presented include seal pup clubbing, diphtheria, bullying, food insecurities, storm destruction, and the cliques that come with small-town living.
VERDICT Expertly told in poetic fashion, this book will hook its readers from sentence one. Highly recommended for all who love fantasy, tragedy, history, and folklore.

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