This month saw the US publication of Mother Tongue and reviewers have been generous with their praise.
Publisher’s Weekly selected it as a Book of the Week, calling it “a raw, compelling read”, while Russian Life especially bonded with the protagonist, saying, “Mayhew… has crafted a character in Darya that gleams with hope and grit.”
Booklist Online highlighted the novel’s strength in bringing true life to fiction: “Readers may be unaware of the 2004 tragedy at Beslan where Russian separatists captured a school and killed over 300, but they will feel the effects of this story as though it were ripped from today’s headlines.”
As did the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, who noted that the book offers, “a picture of a world region youth literature largely overlooks and a tragedy that much of the world has been able to forget.”
There was also a particularly fulsome review from A.L.A.N. who made Mother Tongue one of their books of the month. “This novel illustrates the power of one person’s story to bring empathy to many,” they say. “Mayhew’s overall attention to the redemptive power of language, voice, and story make it a strong, compelling novel.”
Here’s hoping US readers respond with similar passion…