We're Not from Here

by Geoff Rodkey

When Lan Mifune’s family and others emerge from bio-suspension after a 20-... read more

When Lan Mifune’s family and others emerge from bio-suspension after a 20- year journey to the planet Choom, they discover they’re no longer welcome: A leadership change on Choom has put the colonizing Zhuri in control of the government, and Zhuri leaders don’t welcome immigrants. Environmental devastation on earth means going back is not an option. Following negotations, the Zhuri agree to allow one human reproductive unit—Lan’s family—onto the planet as an experiment to see if the species can integrate well. But the Zhuri believe humans are too emotional, and Zhuri leaders distrust emotion (which the Zhuri emit as scent). When they discover this, Lan, despite the pressure on their family to fit in, begins looking for ways to make the Zhuri laugh (a sweet, donut-like smell), while Lan’s new friend Marf, of a species called Ororo, begins distributing bootleg footage of Lan’s sister Ila, once a famous teen singer on earth, performing her biggest hit, rife with deep feeling. Zhuri society has abundant parallels to life in the United States, including school for Lan and Ila and jobs for their parents, along with a political climate taken to a satirical extreme, but it works in the context of this funny, insightful story. The end result is never in doubt, but getting there is a pleasure. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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