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Review: Alia Terra – Ava Kelly, Illustrated by Matthew Spencer

Review: Alia Terra - Ava Kelly, Illustrated by Matthew Spencer

Genre: Fairy Tales

Reviewer: Jay

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About The Book

Through three all-ages fairy tales of kindness and acceptance, presented in English and Romanian, Alia Terra: Stories from the Dragon Realm draws from personal experiences, Romanian folklore with Dacian roots, and our fundamental need—to believe in ourselves. Richly illustrated by Michigan artist Matthew Spencer in shades of color and gender, the words of Ava Kelly assure that we all belong.

“From aromanticism to nonbinary gender, LGBTQIA+ themes in Alia Terra are always portrayed with a gentle kindness that we need in our lives, and an eager, resilient confidence. Read the stories and share them with your loved ones!” —Bogi Takács, Hugo and Lambda Award-winning author

The Review

This is a delightful (and delightfully illustrated) trio of Romanian fairy stories translated into English but placed side by side with the Romanian text, something that helps young readers appreciate different languages.

Unlike many fairy stories, these don’t end with the ‘inevitable’ marriage of a prince and princess. Instead, the reader is led to consider different ways of living happily, finding oneself and enjoying an aromantic lifestyle.

A good and thought-provoking addition to any child’s library, or possibly for a teacher to use with a class. Recommended for children who like dragons, stories of magic, and lovely picture books to read for themselves or have read by an adult.

Age range – primary school. 

The Reviewer

I’ve been doing book reviews on my website, crossposted or linked to various social media, for a few years. I read a number of genres but I really enjoy all kinds of speculative fiction so thought I’d like to share my views with you. I love sci fi and other speculative fiction because of the way it can, at its best, make us see ourselves in a new light. Quite apart from the exciting stories, of course! I used to be an English teacher, and I’m a writer (fantasy) so I can be quite critical about style etc. but I hope I can also appreciate properly some books that don’t appeal to me personally but might be simply perfect for others. I have, obviously, read widely, and continue to do so.