A few years ago we had a revolution go through our school. It was the Amulet revolution. Books 1-6 were out. They started in the fourth grade. Between my copies, my colleague's and the school library's, it was all we could do to make sure the copies constantly circulated. We often lost track of where they were. The kids had their own way of passing them from hand to hand. One copy would be returned and before it could be checked in, it was already being grabbed by the next reader. There were hold lists pages long. I'm pretty sure our reading assistant that year felt more like a book bookie, than a teacher. She spent long amounts of time and tireless amounts of steps to get the books out to all of the readers. After they went through fourth grade, the third grade got wind of this series. The process started all over again in that grade. But then there was a long wait for book 7. A new school year had started, with many of our 4th grade junkies being at a new building. This time my colleague and I bought multiple copies. I think we had 4 floating around the school, and another copy that we sent to our former students at the 5th grade building. I remember putting a sign up, months in advance of the publication date, letting students know the book release date. A student asked me, "since you know all the authors, can you get us an advanced copy?" I think they were pretty disappointed finding out my connections didn't reach that far.
I don't think another series has been in the same demand as the Amulet books. We still have book fever, we still have hold lists, but maybe not the same amount. Until.....
5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior
by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
illustrations/coloring by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun
published by Random House
The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there s more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . .
The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.
A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.
Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?
When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!
My quick thoughts
This book is full of action and questions. Every time I got a question answered, a new one would pop up! The setting takes place on another world...dimension? Because of how unfamiliar I was, I found myself often referring to the map in the inside cover. There are three main characters that you slowly get to know over the course of the book. By the end of the book, you definitely have empathy for the characters and feel invested in their adventures. There are a multitude of other characters which makes it a little tricky to keep everyone straight, but as long as a reader understands the three main characters, their traits and motivations, the story line will be understood. Just like in the Amulet series, you'll want to help the characters because it seems like they just can't get a break. The main plot is fairly easy to understand, it's the subplots and how they impact the main plot that can be tricky. This series will require readers to slow down, take in the details that are in the illustrations, keep track of multiple settings and characters and see how the different conflicts weave together and unravel!
I think this series is going to be as popular as Amulet. This is a great graphic novel to pass off to your Amulet readers who are ready for just a bit more complex story line.
My suggestion... get your hands on multiple copies. And get a hold list ready. And maybe read it before you pass it out. You won't be seeing it again for a long time!
A great video to show your students is of one of the authors, Mark Siegel, talking about the book and how it artistically comes together.