The History of a Word 02/07/20
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Ryo yearns for excitement and adventure. When his village is attacked by bandits, he watches as a mysterious warrior defeats the criminals – and learns that monk Akio is part of a secret group called the "Hidden Ones".
Inspired by Akio’s heroism, Ryo decides that he is going to leave his village to train as a fighter. Yet, the Hidden Ones only fight as self-defence, instead working on developing a heightened awareness of their surroundings with the purpose of defending the weak and upholding the laws of the land. Will Ryo become a warrior, or does his path lie elsewhere?
This unusual story has an underlying theme of mindfulness and Buddhist ideas of meditation and the peace of being in the moment, which is greatly welcome in today’s chaotic world. It may be a particularly worthwhile read for tweens and upper primary children, who will enjoy Ryo’s adventure but also be suffering some element of school burnout after SATS.
This calm and quite wonderful book also highlights the benefit of enacting small kindnesses for others, and depicts a character that finds his place in the world via an adventure quest. Mitton is most known for his children’s poetry, and his language here dances off the page with a sparseness and beauty you’d expect from a poet. Lovely.