Smith, Pauline Vaeluaga. Dawn Raid. Fiction. Levine Querido, 03/2021. 217pp. $17.99. 978-1-64614-041-1. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-7.
Sofia, whose father is Maori and mother is white, is intrigued by her older brother’s involvement with the Polynesian Panthers movement in this historical fiction book set in New Zealand in 1976. Told in diary format with accompanying sketches, Sofia is a likable narrator, characterized by her infatuation with white go-go boots and the new McDonald’s that just opened in her town. Smith effortlessly weaves various Maori traditions with contemporary situations like the unfair treatment that Maori people face at the hands of the police. Extensive back matter includes a historical note with photographs, bibliography, and New Zealand and Maori glossaries. Hand this book to readers who enjoyed Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer (HarperCollins/Quill Tree, 2010).
Beth Gousman, Montclair School