A Crack in the Sea
by H. M. Bouwman, illus. by Yuko Shimizu
Perhaps with the New Year you have resolved to read more books. A great book to start with would be H. M. Bouwman’s new novel, A Crack in the Sea. Told in eight parts, Bouwman blends fantasy and true-historical events to create a shimmering story that revolves around siblings. There are three pairs of siblings: Kinchen and Pip, Venus and Swimmer, and Sang and Thanh. Kinchen and Pip live in the second world, the world where Pip has the gift of speaking to fish underwater. When he is kidnapped by the Raft King, his older sister Kinchen, along with Caesar, a girl who can walk along the ocean’s floor, must find a way to get to Raftworld, a whole village built atop floating rafts in the middle of the ocean. Sang and Thanh are orphans trying to escape war-torn Vietnam in 1978, in a small boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And Venus and Swimmer are twins who have the gift of walking on the ocean floor without having to take a breath. Their story takes place 200 years earlier on a slave ship sailing west from Africa.
Bouwman does a magical job of combining all
three of these storylines with a crack in the sea: a portal that opens from the
first world, the world of slavery and of war, into the second world, where it
is not unusual for children to have magical water gifts. Illustrated with
beautiful ink drawings by Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu, A Crack in the Sea is lyrical and spell-binding: the perfect first
book to read in 2017.