Kwame Mbalia is the New York Times best-selling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor award. The book was also named to best-of-the-year lists compiled by Publishers Weekly, the Chicago Public Library, and the New York Times. The second book in the trilogy is Tristan Strong Destroys the World. Kwame lives with his wife and children in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he is currently working on the third book about Tristan. Follow him on Twitter @KSekouM.
Mbalia's African American and West African gods (with villains tied to U.S. chattel slavery and the Middle Passage specifically) touch on the tensions between the cultures, a cultural nuance oft overlooked. Readers who want more than just a taste of Alke will be eager for future books.--Kirkus Mbalia's epic debut centers African American characters and tradition, featuring a pantheon of legends and a plot worthy of such tricksters as Brer Rabbit and Anansi the Weaver. Perfectly paced, this cinematic adventure never drags, anchored by Tristan's conversational narration and balanced by his struggle to cope with a friend's passing. It brims with heart, humor, and action, successfully crafting a beautifully unified secondary world that brings the power of stories to glorious life.--Booklist Part of the Rick Riordan Presents series, this debut novel offers a richly realized world, a conversational, breezy style, and a satisfying conclusion that leaves room for sequels.--SLJ This epic tale is worthy of the endorsement of Rick Riordan, who wrote the preface in this novel. A guaranteed edge-of-your-seat read aloud for upper elementary and middle school fans of tall tales, mythology, and folkloric literary adventures.--SLC Overall a stellar mix of the playful and the serious, the traditional and the original, this novel marks the emergence of a strong new voice in myth-based children's fantasy.--BCCB Mbalia expertly weaves a meaningful portrayal of family and community with folklore, myth, and history-including the legacy of the slave trade-creating a fast-paced, heroic series starter.--Publishers Weekly