This book reads like a magical fairytale full of South African mythical figures and magical realism. Talking animals, women who are transformed into evil wicked witches, bullies who surprise you in a good way, and children who set out on an adventure to save the world from darkness.
Nolitye lives in the Phola area of Johannesburg in a small shanty with her mother. She is smart, strong-willed and intent on taking on the challenge that is set in front of her when she finds a very special stone.
Nolitye, with her best friend Bheki and new friend Four Eyes, challenge bullies, face their fears of the dark and the unknown, and finally brave the underworld in search of the light needed to bring the world back together again.
Full of themes such as strength, unity, defying odds, fragmented families, poverty, love, and magic, The Hidden Star is ultimately a story of how we can accomplish great things if we believe in ourselves, despite the odds stacked against us.
The Hidden Star is a children’s book, probably for kids 10-14 (the main characters seem to be 11 or 12 years old), and it does sometimes read that way, but it doesn’t distract from how lovely this book is. I don’t usually go for this type of book naturally, but the synopsis intrigued me and I also thought it would be a great read for my #ReadAfrica2018 challenge.
I hadn’t heard about Kabelo Sello Duiker beforehand, but after reading the book I looked up more information about the writer. He sadly committed suicide in 2005, but there are two other books that he wrote and were published before his death that I must read. So sad that such a talented author is no longer amongst us, but I’m glad that this beautiful novel was not lost and was edited and published posthumously. There are some very important themes in it that we could all do with thinking more about.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy of this book!