Hope Is Our Only Wing

by Rutendo Tavengerwei

Shamiso’s father, a journalist investigating government corruption in Zimbabwe,... read more

Shamiso’s father, a journalist investigating government corruption in Zimbabwe, recently died in a car accident. Shamiso and her mother have returned from England, where they were living before his death. With her grief fresh, compounded by rumors her father was murdered, Shamiso, 15, doesn’t want anyone at her new school to know she’s his daughter and keeps her distance from other students. Tanyaradazwa (Tanya), who attends the same school, is a talented singer, but she’s just learned the cancer she hoped was in remission has come back with a tumor on her vocal cords. Tanya doesn’t want pity; neither does Shamiso. It’s what draws them to each other. “Hope is our only wing,” says Tanya, quoting Shamiso’s father without knowing Shamiso is his daughter. But when Tanya gets sicker, Shamiso pulls away, unwilling to face another loss. A novel set in 2008 that deftly and keenly weaves the political and personal— government regulations means it’s harder and harder for Tanya’s family to afford her treatment; a letter from her father that Shamiso loses is a life and death matter because it references the government corruption—is also a beautifully rendered story of friendship between two Black girls. (Age 13 and older)

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

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