A Bit of Earth
Growing up in Pakistan, Maria Latif has been bounced between reluctant relatives for as long as she can remember—first because of her parents’ constant travel, and then because of their deaths. Maria has always been a difficult child, and it never takes long for her guardians to tire of her. So when old friends of her parents offer to “give her a better life” in the United States, Maria is shipped to a host family across the world.
When Maria arrives on Long Island, things are not quite what she was expecting. Mr. Clayborne has left on an extended business trip, Mrs. Clayborne seems emotionally fraught, and inexplicable things keep happening in the Claybornes’ sprawling house. And then Maria finds a locked gate to an off-limits garden. Since she’s never been good at following rules, Maria decides to investigate and discovers something she never thought she’d find: a place where she feels at home.
With a prickly main character, a sullen boy, two friendly allies, and a locked garden, A Bit of Earth has everything a reader could want from a retelling of The Secret Garden. Karuna Riazi’s evocative prose is interspersed with poetic verses, illuminating each character’s search for a place they can truly call home. This tender yet incisive reimagining of a classic work will captivate fans of the original—and widen the appeal for a modern audience.
Karuna Riazi is a born and raised New Yorker. She is the author of The Gauntlet and its companion, The Battle. She holds a BA in English literature from Hofstra University, and is an online diversity advocate, blogger, and educator. She was a 2017 honoree on NBC Asian America Presents Redefining A to Z list, featuring up-and-coming talent within the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, and her work has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Book Riot, and Teen Vogue, among others. She has also adapted The Jungle Book for the Apple TV series Ghostwriter. She lives in Long Island, New York.
“Karuna Riazi has a way with words. In this deft reimagining of The Secret Garden, she blends lyrical prose and poetry, crafts a heartfelt plot, and develops characters you want to root for. This story will find its way into your heart.” -Tae Keller, winner of the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger "Extraordinary, poetic, and inventive. A Bit of Earth is such a special book. Prickles and all, Maria Latif captured my whole heart." -Jasmine Warga, author of Newbery Honor book Other Words for Home “An ambitious re-envisioning of a long beloved classic, this book is sure to be a big hit.” -Padma Venkatraman, award winning author of The Bridge Home “Riazi has not just reimagined The Secret Garden. In a delicate blend of poetry and prose, she's also crafted a wide-open window into the heart of every 'unlikable' child who ever lived. I recognized the main character immediately--adrift and hardened, messy and hurt and realer than real--and loved her on every page of this book. As timeless as it is timely, A Bit of Earth is a rare gift.” -Laurel Snyder, author of National Book Award nominee Orphan Island
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