Imagine having a dream that included all of your closest friends. You are swooped away hearing promises of future adventures below the sea to worlds beyond your wildest imagination. Your dream is so very vivid and involved that you wake up recalling you were ultimately sworn to secrecy. Picture waking up from this most amazing and magical experience, rushing to tell your friends about it all the while believing that everything you saw, touched, and felt was a fantastic figment of your imagination. Now, imagine listening as your friends describe for you the same dream down to the very last detail.
Mangrove Sands: The Enchanted Sea World, by L.J. Nilsson, takes four friends who all seemed destined for uncertain futures and are living far less than ideal lives and gives them a most magical experience. This short fantasy adventure story is a quick read that hands young readers relatable characters for whom they will be more than happy to cheer.
Nilsson caught this elementary teacher in the first chapter with the detailed descriptions of each of the four children. It is not often young readers get to see four characters all having either disabilities or suffering from some type of tragedy or abuse. Many stories may feature one of this character type, but to see so many as main characters is refreshing and gives me hope. Children need to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and seeing children they essentially know in Tommy, Maria, Jake, and Dino is uplifting to say the least.
One of the most captivating aspects of Nilsson’s work is the joy clearly conveyed in each of the main characters. Their everyday lives are such a stark contrast to the pure unfettered delight the children feel as they take this new path. They deserve happiness in massive doses, and the reader is witness to all of their discoveries, their joyful outbursts, and the colorful way in which the author describes their eagerness for more adventures.
Nilsson has developed a beautiful adventure story that also spreads a message of hope to its readers. Mangrove Sands: The Enchanted Sea World builds on the curiosity of youth, the power of dreams, and contains a strong message of kindness. It is just what today’s young readers need to feel. As it will appeal to readers of mixed genres, I would recommend Nilsson’s work to any upper elementary teacher looking to add a touching and heartfelt adventure story to their library.
Pages: 108 | ASIN: B087N5QGDT