Today, we're thrilled to reveal the cover for The Moonlit Vine and Claro de luna by Elizabeth Santiago, with cover art by Laylie Frazier and interior art by McKenzie Mayle. This young adult novel (pubbing on May 30, 2023 from Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS INC.) places Taíno people and culture into a living, modern-day story—the first of its kind for middle-grade and high school readers.
A little bit about the book:
Despite her name, Taína Perez doesn't know anything about her Taíno heritage, nor has she ever tried to learn. After all, how would ancient Puerto Rican history help with everything going on? There's constant trouble at school and in her neighborhood, her older brother was kicked out of the house, and with her mom at work, she's left alone to care for her little brother and aging grandmother. It's a lot for a 14-year-old to manage.
But life takes a wild turn when her abuela tells her she is a direct descendant of Anacaona, the beloved Taíno leader, warrior, and poet, who was murdered by the Spanish in 1503. Abuela also gives her an amulet and a zemi and says that it's time for her to step into her power like the women who came before her. But is that even possible? People like her hardly make it out of their circumstances, and the problems in her home and community are way bigger than Taína can manage. Or are they?
A modern tale with interstitial historical chapters, The Moonlit Vine brings readers a powerful story of the collective struggle, hope, and liberation of Puerto Rican and Taíno peoples.
When I saw the cover, I gasped. What had been in my head all those months had been perfectly captured by Laylie Frazier, the artist. From the way Taína, my main character, looked, to the glare on her glasses, the blue nail polish, the vibrant background colors reminiscent of Borinquén/Puerto Rico, to the moon glowing majestically toward the reader. It is everything I had imagined and more. I am thrilled that The Moonlit Vine/Claro de Luna is making its debut and in awe of the beautiful artwork.
Elizabeth Santiago is a fiction writer, creative writing teacher and narrative coach. She obtained her PhD in Educational Studies from Lesley University, Master of Education from Harvard University, and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her first loves remain creative writing and teaching, never losing her desire to create characters based on her beloved community, or support students in leveraging storytelling to be better overall writers. She lives in Boston.
Visit her online at theuntoldnarratives.com, or on GoodReads.
Follow her on Twitter & Instagram at @LizNarratives.
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