Title: Aquicorn Cove
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, middle grade, graphic novel, fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★
When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a storm, the last thing she expects is to discover a colony of Aquicorns—magical seahorse-like residents of the coral reef. As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness.
Earlier in 2018 I had the pleasure of reading Katie O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society. I adored the illustrations and important messages so much, and Aquicorn Cove was just as amazing.
This illustrated story is about a girl named Lana. She and her father go back to their seaside village to help clean up after a storm. They meet with Lana’s aunt, Mae, who is highly respected in sustaining the community with fish. Lana also finds an injured aquicorn (they’re seahorse-like creatures) and she helps care for it while also learning from Mae the history behind the mystical sea colony.
Right away we learn that Lana lost her mother, and this book does a beautiful job at addressing grief and depression. Lana, through flashbacks, talks about how lost and sad she felt, and how she needed help to get through some days. I really appreciated how these feelings were brought up not just for Lana, but for Mae as well. Lana’s mom was Mae’s sister, and it was interesting to not only see the grief from Lana’s perspective but from Mae as well.
“Everything has a use. Sometimes beautiful things are made through necessity.”
However the focal point of this book is about environmental sustainability and conservation. It addresses important topics such as climate change, pollution, and over-fishing; that we cannot take more than we can give. And how even if we are just one person or a small community, there are still things we can do to help preserve our future.
I’m truly amazed how much good was condensed into this short graphic novel and all the powerful messages it contains. There’s a beautiful f/f romance, diverse characters, and a wonderful sense of community coming together during dire times (natural disaster clean up). I really feel like this book is so essential for younger generations and I am already looking forward to Katie O’Neill’s next book!