I have always loved fantasy fiction. But it turns out that the same old medieval settings, elven stereotypes, and sword fights can in fact get old. That’s why I absolutely fell in love with Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone and why your classroom will too.
Children of Blood and Bone is a must-add fantasy novel for your classroom because it breaks away from typical tropes.
Instead of standard English-type settings, it takes place in the jungle. There are no European royals or peasants, but black-skinned villagers.
And, of course, Zeli, the protagonist, does not need a prince to save her.
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How Children of Blood and Bone Entered My Classroom
I saw Children of Blood and Bone first on Instagram when debuted. Later, I heard podcasts feature it.
The basic premise–a tribal-esque epic fantasy–sounded amazing! I already love fantasy, but the added twist really piqued my interest.
I loved that I could add more diversity to my classroom library without adding another book that focused primarily on race.
Children of Blood and Bone: The Premise
Children of Blood and Bone follows the main character Zelie, who should have inherited her mother’s magic. The magic-fearing king, however, has wiped out magic’s source and murdered those who once had it–including Zelie’s mother.
Years later, it seems there may be hope for magic’s return. As luck would have it, the gods have chosen Zelie, her brother, and the daughter of the tyrannical king to fight to win magic back.
As with any self-respecting epic fantasy, Zelie finds herself on a magical quest with high stakes.
She must navigate the jungle, ancient myths and prophecies, and her own origin while avoiding being caught by those who would continue to suppress magic.
Another perk? Children of Blood and Bone is just part one of the series, so there’s plenty for the fantasy-obsessed students in your classroom!
What Makes Children of Blood and Bone Lit?
The world that Adeyemi has created is enthralling. The setting is almost-but-not-quite our Nigeria and is rich in mythology and folklore.
I wanted to know how magic worked in this world just as badly as I wanted to know what was going to happen to Zelie and her companions.
It definitely has an epic fantasy feel and will satisfy lovers of that genre.
I have also found that any story in which the perspective changes helps to keep my students engaged.
The story shifts between the main character Zelie–a fierce young woman who wants vengeance for her mother’s death–and members of the royal family, who are at fault for the class system and lack of magic in the world.
With multiple points-of-view, the reader is left in suspense frequently!
And, with all of magic on the line, the stakes (and the tension!) are high throughout the novel. I still remember the anxiety I felt while reading!
Don’t delay in adding Children of Blood and Bone to the fantasy section of your classroom ASAP!
Who’s the Perfect Reader for Children of Blood and Bone?
Children of Blood and Bone is great for your solid readers–the ones who love big books, love series, and like to “live” in the worlds that they read about.
Anyone who is a fan of Harry Potter or Tolkien will love this book!
While this book is great, it’s thick and might be intimidating to unconfident readers. The Lexile level, however, is a little low for high school.
This could be great for students who want to challenge themselves, or readers who identify themselves as bookworms, but whose test scores are consistently a little lower than they should be.
Talk it up and let any student who wants to read it that they are capable of reading such a “big” book.
Because this book features many strong women, this may be more popular with your female leaders.
A Final Word on Children of Blood and Bone in Your Classroom
The first reason is that you just can’t have enough epic fantasy in your classroom library (or maybe I’m biased?).
The second is that it’s so refreshing to read a book wherein the characters happen to be diverse without the book being about diversity.
And lastly, Adeyemi’s writing style is strong, her word is compelling, and the tension pulls you through every chapter. It is certainly a delightful read throughout. Be sure to grab a copy (or several) for your students today!