Thursday, September 28, 2023

Where the Sky Lives, by Margaret Dilloway

Tuesday Beals may only be twelve years old, but she knows a lot about Zion National Park, thanks to the fact that she's grown up there.  Her mother is the Park's staff archeologist, charged with researching old Indian sites and Mormon settlements.  Thanks to her recently-deceased uncle, she's a budding astronomer -- a pastime that is aided by Zion's legendary dark skies.

However, that darkness is about to change.  A developer has bought a ranch that abuts the Park and is planning a major housing project which will impact not only the skies around Zion but also the beauty and wildlife in the area.  Tuesday is determined to stop them.  The discovery of an endangered species on the land becomes a catalyst.  With the help of a social media influencer, she tries to bring publicity to the cause.

Tuesday is a fantastic protagonist.  She's persistent and intelligent, but in an age appropriate way that makes her very believable.  She's also super observant, intuitive, and touch averse -- traits that seem to be included to imply she may be on the Spectrum (although nothing is ever said about any of that).  The story itself is a great adventure, lovingly detailing Zion National Park and life at a ranger station.  Dilloway does a nice job of explaining some of the issues that come up in the story (land conservation, grief, changing friendships, and a few others) in a very age-appropriate way.  Younger children will appreciate the adventure and the animals.  Older ones will find inspiration in an outspoken heroine who doubts her ability -- as only a kid -- to change the world but who tries nonetheless to do so.

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