Hereville : how Mirka got her sword by Barry Deutsch squared off against Kathi Appelt's Keeper. The judge was Susan Patron.
Hereville is a graphic novel set in the Jewish Orthodox community of Hereville. Although Mirka tangles with fantastic characters - a talking pig, a witch - the time period is today. Mirka wants to be a dragon slayer and she also loves arguing with her step-mother, a woman who loves Mirka very much. The book is about independence, and about learning about one's place in a larger community. It is also about facing obstacles and being a kid, regardless of the social rules that surround you. The artwork is clever, the dialogue is realistic and often funny. And the book introduces the Jewish Orthodox community to a larger audience. What's not to like?
Keeper is her name and she is convinced that her mother is a mermaid. She is so convinced that she sets off in a boat to find this absent mother. Keeper has been raised by a small seaside community, including her mother's best friend. Her search for her mother, her dog's struggle with the ocean and the way her community wraps itself around her and swaddles her with love make a wonderful story. This is almost a fantasy.
The similarities between these two books are clear. Both heroines are being raised by people other than their mothers - people who love them and want to keep them safe and whole. Both girls want desperately to be other than they are. Mirka wants to fight dragons; Keeper hopes to be half-mermaid. And both girls set off on an adventure to make things different in their lives. Nice job of matching books, BOTKB crew!
Patron chose Keeper to go on to the next round. What a difficult choice that had to have been! Both books are winners in my eyes.