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STAR CHILD by Ibi Zoboi Kirkus Star


A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler

by Ibi Zoboi

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-399-18738-4
Publisher: Dutton

By the time she was 10 years old, Octavia Butler knew that she wanted to be a writer.

Weaving together quotes from Butler, prose passages of historical and biographical information, and her own original poetry, Zoboi explores the visionary speculative fiction author’s early life. This ambitious experimental biography is at once a tribute from an adoring fan and an introduction to Butler’s juvenilia and her childhood growing up as a shy Black child in postwar 1950s America. Each chapter covers a different aspect of, or key moment in, Butler’s girlhood and adolescence, showing the challenges she overcame and the sustaining force of her imagination. Included are black-and-white childhood photos and a facsimile of a handwritten story about wild horses that Butler worked on as a child and illustrated herself. Young readers familiar with the Butler oeuvre will note the allusions to her famous and groundbreaking works. Zoboi’s powerful poems vary in style and form; particularly interesting are several concrete poems, including the titular “Star Child,” “Moon Child,” and “Moon Child II,” with the words arranged on the page to reveal an image of a star, quarter moon, and full moon respectively. Readers will come away with an understanding of Butler’s early influences and an interest in her writing.

An inspiring look at the formative years and work of a literary giant that’s sure to capture young readers’ attention.

(author’s note, bibliography, endnotes, photo credits) (Biography. 12-adult)