Monday, March 29, 2021

JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA by Shakirah Bourne (a member of #the21ders!) for #IMWAYR


Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne (July 6, 2021, Scholastic, for ages 8 to 12)

A lively, funny, and delightful read, compelling from the first page to the last. The voice is so fantastic and believable you'll feel you're listening to ten-year-old Josephine talk to you about her widowed Daddy (the fisherman), and the new woman he's brought home. Josephine doesn't trust Mariss at all and suspects she's not even human! Especially when Josephine sees the jeweled comb Daddy found in his fishing net. Daddy suddenly has better luck fishing, and money starts pouring in to pay all the bills. Then Mariss moves in with them, and the framed portrait of Josephine's dead mama disappears from the dresser...

Chock-full of the kinds of details that make a book authentic and bring the Barbados setting to life.  Bursting with the flavor of modern life in Barbados: cricket matches (Josephine longs to play on the school team, if she can convince the coach to let a girl on), spicy food, and reggae music. But there are also wishes on silk cotton trees, and ancient tales of powerful spirits. 

A kind librarian lends Josephine her only copy of The Treasure Chest of African and Caribbean Folkore. There Josephine finds the perfect description of Mariss: a Mami Wata, or Sea Mumma, a creature from the sea who insinuates themselves into someone's life and takes over, bringing riches, but also bringing destruction. Josephine realizes she must do something to stop Mariss and save her Daddy.

The writing is brilliant. You won't be able to stop turning the pages. Thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this gem of a book.

Find out more about Shakirah Bourne on her website.

#IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop hosted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts. Visit their blogs to see all the participants. You can also follow the hashtag on Twitter!


  1. I just saw this book somewhere and was intrigued. Hope my library gets it in when it's released.

  2. This book sounds excellent! I'm very intrigued by the setting (I think this is the first book I've seen set in Barbados) and by Josephine's situation. Thanks for recommending this book!

    1. Thanks, Completely. I believe it's the first book I've read that's set in Barbados. I can't wait to see what Shakirah writes next!

  3. Thanks for the heads up about this book. I've added it to my list and am looking forward to reading it.

  4. Oooh, this book is in my pile! Looking forward to reading it!


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