The Last Storyteller


Petra understands that it’s her fathers professions that have made the family eligible for a future in the far-off planet Sagan. They are only one family of hundreds, seeking a way to escape from Earth’s demise from the strike of Halley’s Comet.

However, it’s a long journey toward a future where its hoped that differences will be embraced and peace forged. It means an enforced sleep of three hundred and eighty years and then constant education in geology and botany, and Petra’s selection, folklore and mythology. Haven’t stories always been Petra’s priority? Don’t they connect her with her beloved Lita, the grandmother whom the family is forced to leave behind? As Petra prepares, Lita’s story console her. Then again, as she realises the truth of their journey, it’s Lita’s words and constancy, that inspire her actions.

The Last Storyteller is unlike any book I’ve read for Bookwagon. This philosophical title of love, family, science and humanity inspires, devastates and fulfils us. Bookwagon recommends this Newbery Award winning title for mature, enquiring readers. It is a mighty title.

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The Last Storyteller

Donna Barba Higuera

(Piccadilly Press)

Petra’s electives aboard the Pleiades Corp ship to the planet Sagan include botany, geology and folklore and mythology. The last selection is her choice for it connects her to her beloved Lita, whom the family will be leaving behind. A solar flare has disrupted the course of Halley’s Comet, the Fire Snake of Lita’s stories, so it is on course to destroy Earth.
Petra’s parents professions make their family eligible to set up a new outpost of ‘collective unity‘ on another planet. However the family will be in a forced sleep for three hundred and eighty years. While each has fears about the huge steps they’re taken, they convinced of the efficacy of their decision. Meanwhile, Petra works through Lita’s stories and their time together constantly as a way of remembering her grandmother and drawing comfort and inspiration for what lies ahead.
Little does Petra realise that Lita will live with her in more ways than anyone might predict. Is it possible that Petra might emerge as The Last Storyteller? Then again, what of her family? Of the other children she sees boarding alongside her, being prepared by Ben, and the other Monitors?
The Last Storyteller won Donna Barba Higuera the Newbery Medal following other acclaimed titles, like New Kid and Hello, Universe. It is an astounding novel of society, humanity, philosophy and family. Bookwagon recommends this title particularly, for curious, mature middle grade readers. We are inspired, disconcerted and encouraged by The Last Storyteller.


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