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Zia erases the world
2022
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Booklist Reviews

Zia is a wicked wordsmith. That's why it's baffling when she can't name the feeling that unexpectedly closes in around her at a friend's birthday party. This feeling—which Zia refers to as the Shadoom—has quickly taken over her life. When her cantankerous Greek yiayia moves in, the Shadoom seems determined to stay. But in Yiayia's belongings is a family heirloom: the C. Scuro Dictionary, 13th edition. It's no ordinary dictionary, however, and Zia discovers that words and definitions can be wiped clean with a magical blue eraser shaped like an evil eye, removing them from reality too. If Zia can't name her fears, can she erase them from existence entirely? Barton brings a pinch of her signature magic to her middle-grade debut exploring the often inexplicable emotions of depression. Zia's desperation to right the world for everyone around her is endearing, even as the consequences of her rash decisions quickly erupt around her. Determined and inquisitive Zia and her search for a cure to feel whole will resonate across the board—no matter what age. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Word enthusiast Zia Angelis, who has "medium-fair skin," misses the days of giggling over invented portmanteaus with her two best friends, but the onset of sudden depressive episodes—which she calls Shadoom, for "the room of shadows inside me"—has isolated the sixth grader and strained her once-close relationship with her stressed single mother. Things are further disrupted when Zia's Greek Yiayia moves in with the family, bringing with her an old family dictionary whose pages are embedded with an eraser shaped like a matáki, or evil eye, charm. Finding that using the eraser to remove words from the dictionary also disappears their real-life referents, Zia begins to erase terms. To help others, she nixes audition and wasp, then moves on to those that remind her of the Shadoom; soon, Zia even gains the self-confidence to befriend cool new girl Alice Phan, who is Vietnamese. But erasing words such as fear and pain cause staggering consequences: Zia's mother quits her two much-needed jobs, and even the beloved family cat has a dangerous encounter. Featuring a witty first-person narrator and threading in myriad cultural and etymological details, Barton's (the Heart of Thorns series) lightly magical middle grade debut emphasizes a potent message about "finding light between the shadows." Ages 8–12. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Apr.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Annotations

"Zia remembers the exact night the Shadoom arrived. One moment she was laughing with her best friends, and the next a dark room of shadows had crept into her chest...Until Zia discovers an old family heirloom: the C. Scuro Dictionary...Hidden within its magical pages is a mysterious blue eraser...When Zia starts to erase words that remind her of the Shadoom, they disappear one by one from the world around her...But things quickly dissolve into chaos, as the words she erases turn out to be more vital thanZia knew"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

"Luminous, empowering, and full of heart-healing truths, this is a novel that belongs on every shelf."Katherine Applegate, Newbery Award winning author

For fans of Crenshaw and When You Trap a Tiger comes the extraordinary tale of a headstrong girl and the magical dictionary she hopes will explain the complicated feelings she can't find the right words for—or erase them altogether.


Zia remembers the exact night the Shadoom arrived. One moment she was laughing with her best friends, and the next a dark room of shadows had crept into her chest. Zia has always loved words, but she can’t find a real one for the fear growing inside her. How can you defeat something if you don’t know its name?

After Zia’s mom announces that her grouchy Greek yiayia is moving into their tiny apartment, the Shadoom seems here to stay. Until Zia discovers an old family heirloom: the C. Scuro Dictionary, 13th Edition.

This is no ordinary dictionary. Hidden within its magical pages is a mysterious blue eraser shaped like an evil eye. When Zia starts to erase words that remind her of the Shadoom, they disappear one by one from the world around her. She finally has the confidence to befriend Alice, the new girl in sixth grade, and to perform at the Story Jamboree. But things quickly dissolve into chaos, as the words she erases turn out to be more vital than Zia knew.

In this raw, funny, and at times heartbreaking middle grade debut, Bree Barton reveals how—with the right kind of help—our darkest moments can nudge us toward the light. - (Penguin Putnam)

Author Biography

Bree Barton lives in mythical Ithaca with her partner and two waggish dogs. She wrote her first book as "a humble child of ten"—her exact words in the query letter she sent to editors. Those editors told her to keep writing, and luckily, she did. Bree was eleven when her journey with the Shadoom began, and stories offered a special kind of balm. A handful of years later, she is the author of several young adult novels published in seven countries and four languages. Bree teaches dance and writing and loves connecting with readers of all ages. Zia Erases the World is her middle grade debut. 
 
- (Penguin Putnam)

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