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Carolyn Roth-White
Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali

Middle Grade; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Fantasy Action-Adventure for middle graders who love detective stories, mystery, magic and animals. Ten-year-old American girl discovers she is at the very heart of a magical world filled with danger. While she and her family are in Africa, she begins to unravel the mysteries of who she really is and what her noble destiny will require of her all while she thwarts her enemies and risks her life to save the town's beloved silverback gorilla, the Peacemaker of Kigali.
In the first entry of an adventure series, Roth-White’s delightful, fantastical coming-of-age story brings out a child’s wonder of the natural world while developing her identity and learning about responsibility. In California in 1970, Italian-Irish American Krystal Winkle’s birth was heralded with a thundering storm. She was destined to be the most powerful magical Cristalli to be born in centuries, but her Nonna warns: “Never reveal your secret power, Krystal. It’s far too dangerous for you and everyone else if you lose control and let it slip.” The pink crystal hiding in the center of her forehead ejects pink glitter when she uses her powers. When she’s ten, Krystal has a dangerous encounter with the evil Austrian wolf-shapeshifter, Bernard, the Master of Disguise of the Cristalli Huntsmen, and his protégé, George, who see her as a threat and want to stop her.

To protect the family, Krystal’s father, who works with the Foreign Service of America, moves the family to Rwanda. There, Krystal is fascinated with the new language and culture, befriends Dusty, a African Grey parrot, and impresses the silverback mountain gorilla, Kunga, which means the Peacemaker of Kigali, who lives in Virunga Volcanoes Park. Roth-White ramps up the tension and adventure as Krystal has bad premonitions that something terrible will happen to Kunga. With the help of her flamingo feather pen that predicts the future and helps her gather information, she investigates the plight of the gorillas.

This gentle, well-crafted, and lighthearted journey of a precocious and confident middle-schooler encourages empathy for animals and understanding of one’s responsibilities. Krystal’s cleverness, resourcefulness, and growing confidence in herself and her power helps her survive those who want to harm her, but she must be careful not to use her powers in hatred or wickedness. Readers will cheer her on through her audacious trials and tribulations to a rewarding ending.

Takeaway: A wondrous adventure story of a middle-schooler and the plight of gorillas.

Great for fans of: Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan, Celia C. Pérez’s Strange Birds.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Children'' Bookwatch

"Of special appeal to young readers with an interest in fantasy adventures, endangered animals, and African folklore/mythology. A fun and fascinating read by an author with a genuine flare for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that makes for a truely enganging read from first to last, "Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for children ages 8-12."    

Kirkus Indie

"With a swift-moving plot and lovable characters, Roth-White spins a wholly original  and compelling tale.... The action is endless, and whether Krystal is meeting helpful talking mice, encountering a soul-stealing witch, or racing through a snake-filled jungle, she's always up for adventure. A whimsical, thrilling, and delightful story that's packed iwth action and adventure."     

Literary Titan

"Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali, by Carolyn Roth-White, is the first in a series of books for middle-school readers featuring Krystal Winkle as the protagonist with a life’s mission to save Kunga the gorilla who is known as the Peacemaker of Kigali. This amazingly well-developed tale is led by an intriguing cast of characters. It is a non-stop thrill ride with seamless transitions between beautifully described settings and a much-appreciated switch between points of view throughout the book’s storyline.I have to say that, of all the techniques employed by Roth-White, the use of varying points of view is the most impactful to the story’s success. When readers are treated to the view of events from Krystal’s perspective, the story instantly becomes more meaningful and more captivating. I found myself instantly drawn into Krystal’s dilemma, and the entire plot took on new meaning for me. I could feel the intensity with which Krystal was fighting and the incredible desperation she felt to fulfill her mission.I am giving Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali, by Carolyn Roth-White, a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This young adult novel has all the makings of a masterpiece and a new favorite among young readers seeking alternatives to Harry Potter. With the promise of more installments to come, I highly recommend that middle-school readers add Roth-White’s fantasy tale to their must-read list."

“There is much to appreciate about this first installment of the Krystal Winkle series. Roth-White introduces her readers to the silverback gorillas of Virunga National Park. Through her heroine, I learned about their habitats, their lifestyle, and the dangers of poaching. This magical adventure is a rollercoaster ride."  


“This is a great story about trusting your instinct even when other things are expected from you, embracing all of who you are even the parts that you think still need work, and enjoying all that life has to offer.”                                                                                           

The Children's Book Review

"Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali is a solid start to a promising series of fantasy-adventure books featuring a powerful heroine focused on doing good and saving endangered animals. Krystal's adventures will help readers develop an awareness of the world around them and highlights the varied cultures of Africa. Roth-White has done a fantastic job of incorporating and educating readers about the Silverback gorillas and the dangers they face. A portion of the profits from the sale of this book will go to support mountain gorillas in the wild. Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali is the perfect blend of educational and entertaining reading. It will surely be a hit with readers who will clamor for the next installment of Krystal's adventures."