Each piece is accompanied by a photograph of the author as a child or a spare, gorgeous ink and watercolor illustration by Janas Lau. The visual media don’t always correspond with the fiction, but Lau’s paintings, whether they show jungle creatures or city buildings, tell stories of their own. What makes this anthology really worthwhile is what comes after the flash fiction: author biographies and discussions of the authors’ favorite childhood books and the inspirations behind their stories, all of which will encourage teen writers.
Teachers, parents, and students can use the discussion guide to think and talk about a disobedient girl’s refusal to be cursed in Karen Heuler’s “A Reluctant Fairy Tale” or explore the second-person perspective in Gargi Mehra’s “Sticks and Stones.” As readers dig in, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by the depth of the moral lessons packed into these bite-size tales. Though intended for teens, this anthology can be enjoyed by anyone who wants a handful of brief, rich stories to savor one at a time or consume all at once.
Takeaway: Engaging flash fiction, rich visual media, and a robust discussion guide make this anthology a great resource for English teachers and teen students.
Great for fans of Rosey Lee’s Beautiful, Complicated Family; James Thomas, Robert Shapard, and Christopher Merrill’s Flash Fiction International.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B