Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi has been on the New York Times bestsellers list for young adult hardcover for 17 weeks and is currently No. 2 behind Angie Thomas’s smash hit, The Hate You Give (which has been on the list for 71 weeks).
It is the first time that two women from the Global Majority have held the first and second positions on the list (any of The Times’s bestsellers lists).
The success of these books marks a shift in the marketplace—one that says that not only do children of color read, but also they want to read books that reflect who they are or at least books about people from different cultures, from different lands.
Unlike The Hate You Give—which, while fiction, is a very real story of a young woman confronted with police brutality and how she navigates straddling two you worlds, one white, one black—Children of Blood and Bone is fantasy. It is a world of magic and divinities set in an African land. The roots of this book, however, are real. The culture, the language, the traditions are very Nigerian, which the author Adeyemi pulls from her own background. She said she was inspired by The Avatar and the world she created in the first book of a trilogy doesn’t disappoint.
Her book has been wildly celebrated. Jimmy Fallon has put it on his summer reading list and Fox has already optioned the series for a film. Adeyemi, 23, and recently graduated from Harvard, received a seven-figure deal from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group—the most ever from that publisher for a young adult book series in history.
Children of Blood and Bone as well as The Hate You Give will open doors for other new and young writers, which will open worlds and perspectives to readers of all backgrounds. Both books will be featured on our next Book List for young adults.