Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Britta Jensen on the Oct. 1st release of her newest YA novel, Hirana’s War! It’s a story about living with disability, overcoming the ravages of war, and finding hope in the most unusual of places.
The science fiction novel, which is the sequel to Eloia Born (winner of a Discovery Prize from the Writers’ League of Texas), features a visually impaired young woman named Leanora whose songs are able to heal wounds and transport people across galaxies. When a rebel group invades her home planet, Leanora’s gift could save her planet from destruction. But to protect everyone she loves, she must first begin training with the alien race that blinded her people.
The book grew out of Britta’s twenty-two years living overseas in multilingual environments and her experiences growing up with individuals who had disabilities. “The more YA I read,” Britta says, “the more it felt like multicultural and disabled people weren’t featured as heroes in speculative/YA fiction.” In addition, Leanora’s courage to take charge of her planet’s future was particularly inspired by the students Britta worked with as a teacher over the years, most of whom “had lived very itinerant lives, were exposed to warfare at a young age and were expected to take on adult duties without any of the true advantages of being an adult—often caring for siblings, shouldering household responsibilities as well as being expected to excel in school.”